Interesting and somewhat surprising news from ESPN tonight (Dec. 28), as they’ve confirmed that AAA’s Dragon Lee has signed with WWE and will be reporting to the Performance Center in Orlando next month.
The report mentions Shawn Michaels recent comments about WWE’s global development plans, including an NXT Mexico. It also has a quote from WWE’s head of talent strategy and operations, James Kimball, which indicates Lee could be central to that strategy:
“Dragon Lee is a tremendous talent that will immediately add value to the NXT roster. This signing is reflective of WWE’s renewed emphasis on globalizing our talent pipeline with Latin America positioned as a focal market.”
Dragon Lee, who also has ties to Ring of Honor where he was a former television and tag champ, and New Japan, where he’s wrestled as Ryu Lee and won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title, says in the piece that he believes he “can become the new Rey Mysterio in WWE.” It’s not hard to see him serving as a centerpiece for a Latin American brand.
We say surprising, however, because (a) Lee comes from a wrestling family that includes RUSH, who signed with AEW just a few months ago, and (b) because Lee and another of his brothers, Dralistico, wrestled for and won the AAA Tag titles at that promotion’s Night of Champions event in Acapulco this evening.
The latter bit of news was all part of the plan, apparently. Lee announced his signing in the ring with his new title draped over his shoulder.
For AEW, we’ll have to wait and see if RUSH joins family friend Andrade El Ídolo on their list of disgruntled employees.
Mostly though, our time is probably best spent wondering about Dragon Lee’s WWE future. It sounds like signing him was a priority for WWE, with the company involving one of the international success stories, Finn Bálor, in the pitch. Lee says he’s been working on his English and his promos, and hopes to become a more well-rounded performer in WWE.