After brief dalliances with WWE in 2006, 2008, and 2014, LA Knight finally made the sports entertainment giant his permanent home in 2021.
Upon signing with the company, Knight moved to NXT and became a popular member of the roster among fans winning the North American Title, and featuring in a number of high-profile storylines.
Prior to joining WWE, Knight found fame in IMPACT Wrestling competing under the name Eli Drake.
During a new interview with Alex McCarthy for the Daily Mail, Knight reflected on his road to WWE as well as his recent success. Perhaps surprisingly, Knight revealed that he actually turned WWE down three times before eventually joining the company. The star explained that he was earning more money in IMPACT than he was being offered by WWE in 2016, 17, and 18, so stayed where he was.
“I won’t get super long-winded on this but I was originally going to come back in 2016. I was in talks to come back in 2016 but the company that I was at [IMPACT] was offering me a very, very nice raise and WWE at the time was offering me an entry-level “this is what we’re gonna do”. I get it, so I say, you know, I gotta stay and take this money right now.
The next year, we come back and talk again, it’s the same offer but I have a programmed raise where I was. So I stayed because I’ve never seen this money before. Finally I’m making money. So I figure year three, we’ll talk again – they give me the same offer, and I’m like, “god, guys, come on, you can’t give a little something extra?!”
I said I couldn’t do it but I kicked myself for not doing it at that point because I realised that where I was, I had already reached the ceiling as far as money was concerned. What they were offering me was way less and it would have been a downgrade but I knew my ceiling was much greater in WWE. But it was just that I had been broke for so long that I needed to take that money at that point in time.
‘For three years in a row, we talked. It didn’t work out, 2019, we were just kind of like ships passing in the night. We never really got in touch. In 2020, I thought with the pandemic there was no way, everything is shut down, my career is probably over, so I’m just gonna make whatever little bit of money I can with these smaller companies.
At some point, it was, “well, let’s make one more run for it.” I got in touch with Triple H and his team and we put things together and finally made it happen.”
WWE Didn’t Want LA Knight To Wrestle On The Main Roster
During the same interview, Knight discussed his stop/start arrival on the main roster which saw him repackaged as Max Dupri. Knight revealed that the company didn’t actually want him to wrestle at all, due to concerns over the fact he was already 40 years old, this is despite a number of main roster stars being the same age or older.