Over the past two weeks, the highly volatile personal situation between NXT’s Nash Carter and his wife, IMPACT Wrestling’s Kimber Lee, was a top news item. It got uglier with each passing day, including domestic violence allegations hurled against Carter.
It’s a controversial topic with many talking heads. Last Monday, Kimber Lee released a photo of Carter imitating Hitler, and WWE released the 27-year-old two days later. However, there is one question many are not asking.
What about Wes Lee?
Before Carter’s release, MSK (Carter and his tag team partner Wes Lee) won the NXT tag team titles at NXT Stand & Deliver during WrestleMania weekend. MSK’s second reign as champions ended four days later when Carter was released. Two days after that, WWE announced new champions will be crowned in a five-team gauntlet match on Tuesday.
The announcement was not surprising; however, it was odd. WWE’s announcement read, “The current NXT Tag Team Champions have relinquished the titles.” No mention of Nash, Lee, or MSK. WWE could have paired Lee with the team’s on-screen shaman Matt Riddle or have Lee pick a new partner.
After all, Lee didn’t do anything wrong.
Wes Lee will probably not appear on television for a spell or until enough time has passed and the Carter controversy is forgotten. Still, it’s easy to understand why neither option was considered. Domestic violence and Nazi imagery are things the company wants to distance itself from at ludicrous speed.
Hopefully, Lee’s time off television will be used to repackage him with a fresh coat of paint.
Lee’s future comes down to one question. How does WWE/NXT see a solo Wes Lee? Tag Team wrestling can be a blessing and a curse regarding how those in power look at someone.
Sometimes, a tag team can be viewed as two potential singles acts if there is ever the need to break up the set. However, tag teams are often seen as a collective unit where one is no good without the other.
If it’s the former, Lee will have an opportunity to chart his own path. If it’s the latter, Lee is in for a lengthy stay in catering, or sadly he’s not long for WWE. Unfortunately, at 5’7″ and 190 lbs., the 33-year-old Ohio native doesn’t fit the mold of wrestlers currently being promoted to the main roster.
There is a scary precedent concerning WWE releases.
In 2020, the Forgotten Sons trio was taken off television after Jaxson Ryker made a controversial tweet. Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler were collateral damage. Later on, Blake and Cutler reemerged as Baron Corbin’s Knights of the Lone Wolf.
Fate’s cruel joke continued for the duo when Cutler held a maskless New Year’s party. Luck was not on their side, resulting in several wrestlers testing positive for COVID-19.
Cutler had heat with the company over the party, and the Knights (Cutler & Blake) were removed from television. Cutler was fired, and Blake, the innocent party in all of this, was released less than two months later. It’s scary to lose employment under any circumstance, but it’s even worse when someone is punished for the actions of others.
Wes Lee is a talented wrestler with eleven years of quality experience. It can’t hurt to give him a chance in a new role. After all, both the black and gold and 2.0 iterations of NXT had confidence in Lee by highlighting him in a featured role. That’s two sets of decision-makers endorsing the same person. That will be positive for Lee in the months ahead, with any luck.