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LA Knight: I’m not trying to be a tribute act to anybody

Our latest sign that, while he’s probably not going to beat Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal championship tomorrow (Nov. 4) at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia, LA Knight has arrived? A big profile piece from the always excellent Cameron Hawkins on The Ringer heading into his main event with Reigns in Riyadh.

In introducing WWE’s unexpected Megastar to the pop culture masses, it covers a lot of familiar ground for wrestling fans who’ve been following Knight’s unlikely rise on the main roster over the past year. That of course means again addressing the frequent criticism — issued most prominently by Hall of Famer Kevin Nash — that LA’s popularity is due to his act sampling aspects of the Attitude Era’s biggest stars like The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Knight’s answered those critics before, and his answer here has some of the same elements. But he’s updated it a bit to reflect how his popularity’s continued to grow as WWE’s given him bigger and bigger opportunities:

“I’m not trying to be a tribute act to anybody.

“Do I draw from some of that? Sure I do. Did Flair draw from Nature Boy Buddy Rogers? Sure he did. Did Hogan draw from Dusty Rhodes? Did he draw from Superstar Billy Graham? Of course he did.”

“One of the greatest things that I kind of get from time to time is getting older guys, especially, who just go, ‘Man, I haven’t watched in years, but you’ve gotten me back into it. You give me that feeling that I used to get from it’, and I go, ‘OK, good. Then I’m doing my damn job.’”

Tomorrow’s premium live event should give Knight an opportunity to reach a few more of those fans who haven’t watched since the glory days of the men who inspired some of LA’s schtick. And if he does his job and gets more of them to start tuning into WWE programming? It’ll just be further proof of something else he told Hawkins:

“This is my first Crown Jewel show, and I’m at the top of the card... [that’s] a hell of a testament to the work that I put in, but also just the people making it. Last time we were in Saudi Arabia, the whole crowd just chanting ‘LA Knight,’ right at Triple H. At some point, it’s undeniable.

“And I’ve made myself undeniable.”

Read The Ringer’s entire profile of LA Knight here.

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