WWE NXT North American Champion Keith Lee recently spoke with Chuck Carroll of CBS Sports to promote tonight’s Triple Threat title defense against Damien Priest and Dominik Dijakovic on the USA Network.
Lee was asked about there still being a level of excitement with tonight’s match, despite the forced cancellation of the NXT “Takeover: Tampa Bay” event due WrestleMania 36 Week being nixed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There’s always excitement,” Lee responded. “When you’re thinking about the fact that I get to defend this championship, regardless of the circumstances right now, and I get to step into the ring with two hyper athletes like Dominik Dijakovic and Damian Priest, that competition itself, that’s something that excites me. So I’m more than ready in order to get it done and make the most of the circumstances and continue to be there for the people and give them what they’re looking for.”
Lee was also asked if he’s considered time off during the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s been reported that WWE and AEW officials have told talents that they do not have to perform if they don’t feel comfortable doing so, and that their decisions would not be held against them in the future. Lee said the company has made it easy to work.
“It probably has been a consideration for any and everyone, but with the protocols that we’ve had, it’s kind of made it possible for us to get it done,” Lee said. “I think that for me, it never was really a thought because I knew of what the protocol would be and the things necessary in order to even be okay and cleared to enter the building and things of that sort. So I was fairly confident in the circumstances that were set forth before us.”
Regarding matches with no fans in attendance, Lee talked about how the closed-set locations really impact the in-ring work. He was asked what he’s learned about having fans there, and if they provided anything that he really misses but didn’t think about until now that they’re performing in front of zero people.
“Yes, there is definitely a certain level of adrenaline that the crowd offers, and I feel like it makes things hurt a little bit less when they’re there,” Lee revealed. “I feel like there’s a very natural, like as soon as you come out of the back and you hear them, right away you’re in the zone. But I feel like just based on last week’s episode and there being nobody there, the first punch to my ear really rocked me, and that’s not a normal thing for me. So that’s something that I’ve taken note of, and I’ve tried to prepare myself going forward. Things are going to hurt more and that’s okay. All I can do is absorb those and use those instead to hopefully reset adrenaline level where I can push forward.”
You can read Chuck’s full interview with Lee at this link.