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Keith Lee shares Vince McMahon's vision he wanted for the "Bearcat" gimmick

All Elite Wrestling

All Elite Wrestling

Keith Lee appeared on this week's "Talk Is Jericho" to discuss his WWE departure and what his hopes were for the "The Bearcat" character.

Keith Lee was asked what led to his departure from WWE:

"I wish that I had an answer for you," Lee said. "The reality is, when I was about to come back, they kind of hit me with the vision for the Bearcat thing."

"During that time, I was like, I don't understand what that is. I'm not sure if I'm feeling that, and they brought me back just as myself. Then, I don't know, my second match, I think, yeah, so first match, I lost to Lashley. Second match, I lost to Kross. In the middle of the show, Vince pulls me to a room and wants to sit down and have a talk."

"Yeah, in the middle of RAW, like, he's got like, the semi the main event coming up. He's just like, 'Let's go chat.' I'm like, Wow, dude, you're the guy on the headphones. What are you doing? But it was in that conversation that he basically said, 'Listen, I need you to do this. I need you to be this.' I was like, I mean, 'Listen, I work for you. So if that's what you want, then that's what we're gonna do.'"

What was it he wanted you to do and what was the vision of The Bearcat?

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"So the weird thing, and this is something I've also discussed recently is, obviously, you mentioned the way that I speak my cadence, the way that I seem very thoughtful about how I deliver things, my choice of diction, all of those things, is something that Vince was not a fan of, to the point where he literally told me, he's like, 'You sound too smart for your own good.' I'm like, 'I don't understand what that means. Like, what is that?'"

Lee continued, "He just wanted something more grimy. I don't know. I don't think I delivered that for him."

"He wanted some intense guy. I think that I can be intense, but I need a reason to be intense. It's easy for me to flip a switch, but if it doesn't make sense, it's hard for me to do that. So I can't be just, and I say can't, I tried, but I don't think I'm very good at it. I think that that's something that kind of facilitated that."

"But I'm just not a big, angry, grunty, yelly guy. I'm not that until someone makes me that, and it's usually a match that causes that, or a story that causes that. But when there's no competitive match that pushes me, or when there's no story that gives me a reason for a character to be that, it's something, and maybe that's what he means when he says I'm too smart."

"To me, it's illogical. I'd like to do my best to make sense of what we're doing."

Other topics covered during the conversation included Lee's three failed WWE tryouts, his matches with Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, and Brock Lesnar, and the catch phrase inspired by Dusty Rhodes.

If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to for the transcription