Top Choices to Challenge Keith Lee for North American Title After Win on WWE NXT

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2020

Photo credit: WWE.com.

Keith Lee has been among the most dominant Superstars in NXT over the past several months, and he continued to roll on Wednesday's episode of NXT by beating Damian Priest to retain the North American Championship.

Priest, Dominik Dijakovic, Cameron Grimes and many others have stepped up to Lee in recent months ever since he won the North American title from Roderick Strong, but nobody has been able to pry the belt away from him.

The win over Priest leaves Lee without an obvious rival and opponent, but with so much talent in NXT from top to bottom, it shouldn't be difficult to find someone in the near future.

Here are a few NXT Superstars who stand out as potential options to challenge Lee for the North American Championship in the coming weeks.


Johnny Gargano is still fairly new as a heel after screwing over Tommaso Ciampa a few months ago and then beating Ciampa recently on NXT thanks to some help from Candice LeRae.

Even so, it hasn't taken Johnny Wrestling long to become one of the best and most despised heels in all of WWE. Gargano was focused on seconding Candice this week, but when the time comes for him to jump into a new rivalry, Lee makes plenty of sense.

For starters, WWE seems to be setting the stage for a match between Gargano and Dijakovic, as the big man cut a promo about Gargano on Wednesday's NXT. Provided Gargano wins that match as expected, facing Lee would be a natural progression.

Lee vs. Dijakovic has been one of the best rivalries in NXT in recent memory, and they have a great deal of respect for one another. With that in mind, perhaps Johnny will attack Dijakovic after their match, leading to Lee making the save.

Gargano is a former North American champion himself, and of all the top heels in NXT currently, he is the main one with a clean slate and a path to Lee.

While Lee and Gargano have never faced off in a televised match, it is easy to envision them having great in-ring chemistry. Lee is a big, powerful guy who can do things athletically that many who are half his size can't, while Gargano could well be the best technical wrestler in the world.

It can be a challenge booking an angle when the babyface is far bigger and stronger than the heel, but Gargano has already proved himself to be such a good villain that they should be able to make it work without much of an issue.


Dexter Lumis

NXT is all about making new stars, and it seems clear that Triple H is dedicating plenty of television time and resources into making Dexter Lumis precisely that.

After weeks of lurking in the shadows, Lumis stepped up last week to replace the injured Lee as Velveteen Dream's tag team partner in a match against Undisputed Era's Adam Cole and Roderick Strong. Lumis even scored the pinfall victory for his team.

Lumis continued to build momentum this week with a singles win over Shane Thorne, which suggests he could be placed in a big spot soon.

Lee had originally been scheduled to team with Dream against Undisputed Era, but he was attacked by Priest before the match. Priest jabbed Lee in the throat with a baton, which led to Lee being removed from the match and not returning for the rest of the night.

While Lee bounced back to beat Priest this week, the fact that Lumis replaced him and took advantage of the opportunity could be a good way to get the ball rolling on their feud.

Lumis technically isn't a full-fledged heel or face, although he has been going up against heels recently. Even so, his character is so dark and strange that it would be easy for him to transition into the heel role against Lee.

There is an element of danger and viciousness to Lumis that could make him a real threat to Lee, which is needed since the limitless one has been so dominant as champion thus far.


Killian Dain

It has been a few weeks since Killian Dain won a squash match on NXT, but the destructive Northern Irishman stands out as an ideal opponent for Lee.

There are few in NXT who can match Lee in terms of size and strength, but Dain comes close. Given a few weeks of buildup with Dain winning some enhancement matches, it would be easy to sell him as a threat to Lee's title reign.

Lee and Dain have never faced each other in a televised match, either, which means a clash between them would feel fresh and compelling to NXT's viewers.

It is tough to envision Dain beating Lee for the title since he hasn't been positioned that way lately, but if the goal is for Lee to have a long and fruitful run with the title, then he needs to go through believable challengers like Dain.

Dain is similar to Dijakovic and Priest in that they are all big, physical Superstars able to take the fight to Lee and make viewers feel sympathy for him.

If Triple H prefers to hold off on Gargano or Lumis as opponents for Lee and save them for bigger spots down the road, Dain makes plenty of sense as someone who can fill that role temporarily.


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