When you take all the NXT brands into account as well as the main roster, WWE has a lot of belts floating around.
Kay Lee Ray is one of their longest-reigning, not to mention hardest hitting, female champions. That being said, all the NXT UK titles have been held by their current champions for more than 500 days. Naturally, those reigns have been pandemic assisted and may have ended months ago under other circumstances. But those long-standing reigns are rarely discussed on WWE TV, with Kay Lee Ray, in particular, getting the short end of the stick.
Kay Lee Ray in the business
Born in Paisley, Scotland, Kay Lee Ray debuted in 2009. While she spent a lot of time in the indies over the next decade, she also worked for companies like ICW, Impact, and World of Sport. She even had a few brief appearances in NXT, most notably in the first Mae Young Classic.
In 2019, Ray officially signed on with WWE and joined their NXT UK brand. As someone who was well known in the indies in the UK, she was a brilliant signing on their part. It also doesn’t hurt that she’s a perfect heel with an absolutely brutal mean streak in the ring.
On March 13, 2019, Kay Lee Ray made her debut on an episode of NXT UK by taking down Candy Floss. Her rise to the top of the brand was actually quite quick. By July 3rd of the same year, Ray had defeated Toni Storm to win the NXT UK Women’s Championship.
Kay Lee Ray may not have been the first NXT UK Women’s Champion but she was the first woman from the UK to hold the championship. The previous title holders were Toni Storm and Rhea Ripley, both of whom were from Australia.
Beyond that, Ray has also gone on to become the longest-reigning NXT UK Women’s Champion. She has held the title for well over 500 days. That being said, Gallus has been the Tag Champs for 500+ days and Walter has been the NXT UK Champion for almost 700 days.
Admittedly, the pandemic has played a sizable role in the length of all three of those reigns. None of them have defended those titles as often as they normally would have over the past year. That being said, Kay Lee Ray still kind of gets short-changed on WWE TV.
Kay Lee Ray deserves a mention now and then
While Raw, SmackDown, NXT, and 205 Live can interact to an extent, NXT UK has largely been left out of the picture. Pandemic travel, particularly between the US and the UK, is problematic at best. As such, they’ve been separated from the rest of the WWE almost fully at this point.
The NXT UK division rarely gets mentioned on any of the other WWE programs, which makes it feel even more isolated. But when the announcers bring up the historic title reigns of Bayley and Asuka, one can’t help but wonder how Kay Lee Ray fits into that equation.
Both Gallus and Walter also massive title reigns. Walter is actually on the verge of breaking Pete Dunne’s previous record with the NXT United Kingdom Championship. But Dunne’s reign is mentioned about as often as Walter’s at this point.
The difference is that announcers are constantly pointing out that Bayley held the SmackDown Women’s Championship for 380 days. Sasha Banks ended that title reign months ago. Kay Lee Ray has been the champion for 534 days and counting. That deserves a mention once in a while.
When the pandemic ends…
Without question, Kay Lee Ray is one of the top female competitors in all of WWE. And it’s time the company started acting like it. At some point, the pandemic will fade away, and people will start traveling more. When that happens, Kay Lee Ray should be in the mix.
There are a huge number of potential opponents waiting for her on any of the other WWE brands. Particularly, one on one matches should be coming her way with Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Bianca Belair, Raquel Gonzalez, Bayley, and Becky Lynch. That’s just the start of the list.
She is one of the longest-reigning female champions in the modern history of WWE. Pandemic or not, that means something. Kay Lee Ray has more than earned the chance to prove how great she is against a bigger range of competitors. That’s assuming she survives Meiko Satomura, of course.