Before joining WWE in 2021, LA Knight had already been a mainstay of IMPACT Wrestling under the name Eli Drake.
Knight joined IMPACT around the same time as Billy Corgan, who was the Senior Producer of Creative and Talen Development from 2015-2016. While Knight was already popular with fans at the time, it took a while for that to translate to a push in the company.
This was despite the best efforts of Corgan, who told Chris Van Vliet during a recent interview that he wanted to “push him hard.”
“When I was in the booking office of then TNA, I was certainly one of his biggest fans, I pushed hard to get him more time.
“One of the great promos of all time and that’s not to take away anything from his wrestling. He is a main event-level ability in the ring. But we all know that if you can walk and talk, you hit that other echelon. By the way, that was when he was, you know, seven, eight years younger than he is now.”
When it comes to why the push didn’t come, Corgan said it was due to Knight’s size.
“I think one thing that I think people would point to, from a booking point of view — again this was not my perspective, I heard it in the office there — was size.”
Billy Corgan had big plans for LA Knight in the NWA
After leaving IMPACT, Corgan purchased the NWA in 2017 and Knight found himself in the company in 2019. While he was there, Corgan was still a big fan, and had planned to have him be the man to defeat Nick Aldis, who had been a dominant force as the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion.
Unfortunately for Corgan, Knight left for WWE before it could happen, and he has once again shown himself to have everything it takes to be a huge star in that company too.
H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the above transcription.