All you have to do is listen to the live audiences to know that LA Knight is a very popular star in WWE.
Earlier this year, LA used his gift of gab to get his catchphrases over during a bizarre feud with Bray Wyatt. Knight somehow wasn’t booked at WrestleMania 39, but that didn’t stop his momentum, and he is now a leading contender to win the Money in the Bank ladder match on July 1 in London.
Before any of this happened, though, Knight was stuck in a dead end manager role last year as Max Dupri, the figurehead of Maximum Male Models. How could WWE creative be so incompetent as to not see what Knight brought to the table as a pro wrestler?
According to the man himself, WWE was turned off by his age. Here is how LA explained the situation to the Daily Mail:
“I’m killing it in NXT. It’s crazy, like, just the reactions, the way I had turned from big time heel in the summertime to big time babyface by the winter. It’s not piped in and it’s not prefabbed reactions. It was organic, real stuff happening. I come up for a dark match, I get the attention of the right people; ‘hey, who is this guy?’ but then the age thing comes up - [whispers] ‘oh no, he’s 40, danger’. But I’m not the average 40-year-old. I haven’t gone through the ringer. I haven’t had a bunch of surgeries or injuries, knock on that wood. I’ve lived a good, youthful life in a certain sense and I’ve taken care of myself in a way I would say most don’t.
And also, I look a certain way where obviously I’ve got somebody’s attention. But that number came up and it was like ‘well ok, maybe we make him a manager.’ So Some things happened there. It was not my cup of tea and definitely I don’t think it was for me. But somehow, there I was. Some things happened that we don’t need to go into and then eventually LA Knight was back.”
It doesn’t take a genius to understand that the WWE decision-maker who made this very bad call on LA Knight was Vince McMahon. Knight goes on to explain that he later reached out to Triple H to revert back to his NXT gimmick:
“Yeah, I was kinda pushing for it but didn’t know if it was really a possibility at that point because we just established this thing to this larger audience. The NXT audience is what it is, just under a million or whatever, and now you’re looking at over two million for Smackdown. So there’s a bunch of people who had never even seen LA Knight before and they’d only seen this other thing. So now, can we just change gears? So now, I think it’s a testament to his trust and a testament to my abilities to be able to turn that corner in such short order and have people not even barely remember there was another.”
The WWE roster does have an issue with needing to get younger, but it still boggles the mind that Vince McMahon decided to turn this megastar into a manager of male models.
Given his increasing popularity, how far do you think LA Knight will go on the WWE main roster? Let us know in the comments below, Cagesiders.