WWE made its signing of Mexican wrestler Dragon Lee official Thursday.
The 27-year-old made the surprise announcement late Wednesday after winning the tag team titles at the Lucha Libre AAA pay-per-view event Noche De Campeones.
“I’m going to continue representing my country as I have done until now,” Lee told the audience in Spanish, per WWE NXT video. “My Mexico, this is for you and for all the people that had trusted me. So WWE there I go! 2023 is gonna be a new year for me. This is for Mexico! Let’s go! I am very happy. Thanks to all the people who accompany me. That’s all, thank you.”
The signing came at an interesting time. It was on the day of Día de los Santos Inocentes, which is the Mexican version of April Fools’ Day, so there must have been some fans who were in for a shocker.
Lee and his brother Dralístico also beat Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood of FTR, who are signed with All Elite Wrestling. Some WWE fans might remember the pair as The Revival.
It’s not known yet how long Lee and Dralístico will remain AAA World Tag Team Champions, but it likely is soon since Lee reportedly is set to join WWE in January as the deal was made weeks prior to the pay-per-view, according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
Pro wrestling fans are very familiar with Lee’s work, but for the WWE fans who are not, here are three things to know to familiarize yourself with the Mexican star.
Pro wrestling in the family
Lee is a second-generation star. His father is Arturo Muñoz, aka La Bestia del Ring. Lee is the youngest son of Muñoz, and two of his brothers also are in the pro wrestling business. He is part of a tag team with Dralístico, and his oldest brother is Rush, who is signed with AEW. He also was the first wrestler to don the name “Dragon Lee” before his youngest brother took on the name.
NXT has multiple stars who also come from a pro wrestling family, specifically champion Bron Breakker, who is the son of Rick Steiner and nephew of Scott Steiner. It’s likely WWE will highlight Lee’s background as much as it can.
Talented at a young age
Lee began wrestling in 2013 with the promotion Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre. He rose the ranks of CMLL and grew into prominence starting in 2015 when he feuded with New Japan Pro Wrestling star Hiromu Takahashi, who wrestled under the name Kamaitachi. The feud made stars out of both wrestlers — with matches over the years taking place in Mexico, Japan and the United States — and it helped Lee gain recognition outside of Mexico.
He started wrestling in Ring of Honor in 2016, where he became a two-time ROH Television Champion and two-time ROH World Tag Team Champion. Lee’s matches always were exciting to watch with his high-flying moves and his physicality in the ring. He became one of the faces of modern lucha libre and took his talents to multiple U.S. independent promotions.
Vince McMahon was not keen on signing stars outside of WWE. The company opted to develop homegrown stars, which is why NXT got a rebrand in 2021. The “Next In Line” program is still fresh, so it’s still early to judge how successful it has been. But chief content officer Paul Levesque, aka Triple H, appears to be shifting WWE’s process and is seeking out outside stars to help the company develop new, young stars.
The 27-year-old Lee certainly can be that for WWE, but it’s interesting he did not choose to join his brother Rush in AEW. President Tony Khan has not commented on his interest in signing Lee, but he has signed Bandido and AR Fox quickly after they appeared on AEW TV, so it’s likely Khan is sensing WWE’s interest in signing talent. The AEW president reportedly was aware of Lee’s arrival to WWE, according to Meltzer.
AAA is one of the biggest companies in Mexico, but Lee might have wanted to seek out a larger platform. NJPW is partnered with rival Mexican promotion CMLL, so his affiliation with AAA made it unlikely Lee would return to NJPW despite being a former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.
Lee can be a star in WWE if given the chance. The company has not had a great track record of developing Latin American stars who it wants to be the “next Rey Mysterio.” It will be a big test of Levesque if he can surpass his predecessor and help Lee be one of WWE’s next big stars.