NXT Superstar Kimber Lee took to social media this week to reveal that WWE have given her a new ring name and persona, Abbey Laith.
Former independent wrestler Kimber Lee has been making the occasional appearance on NXT house shows and even TV tapings since 2016. Clearly WWE likes what they see - in January 2017 Lee was signed to a permanent contract with the company and has been at the performance center ever since. Things seem to be about to progress even further under the NXT banner for the talented young woman however. This week Lee announced via social media that she has been given a new name by WWE – as newly signed talents often do – and that name is Abbey Laith.
While Kimber Lee has been performing for NXT a little while now, this name change is the first sign that WWE has bigger plans for her. Typically when the company renames a talent it's followed by regular appearances on television coupled with a push. Lee is actually rumored to be a competitor in WWE's upcoming women's tournament the Mae Young Classic, so it would make sense for her to be regularly appearing on NXT in the build to that event.
Cageside seats reported on the name change after they spotted that Lee had tweeted about it as well as changed the details on her Twitter account. The name and handle on her Instagram account has also been altered to reflect her new WWE approved persona. They also reported that although it's just a name change for now, it is more than likely indicative of what's to come for the woman now known as Abbey Laith.
Kimber Lee is following in some familiar footsteps by having to change her name to make it big in WWE, especially in this age of NXT and the Performance Center. Finn Balor, Killian Dain, and Apollo Crews are just a few examples of current WWE stars who had to change their names from the ones they were performing under on the independent circuit. The latest example aside from Abbey is her friend and NXT co-star Ruby Riot. Ruby has only been featured prominently in NXT for the past few months and before the spotlight was on her she was known as Heidi Lovelace.
It can seem like a bit of a lottery sometimes as to whether a newly signed Superstar will be allowed to be keep their former persona when they arrive on WWE's doorstep. Recent examples of performers who have been allowed to keep their names are AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Samoa Joe. While it's understandable as to why WWE likes to have its Superstars performing under names the company came up with, it does feel like it should be a blanket rule that is either applied to everybody or no one at all. Nevertheless it will be interesting to see what lies ahead for the woman now known as Abbey Laith.