LA Knight may be a top star in WWE now, but he also was nearly fired by Vince McMahon during the Max Dupri days.
When LA Knight was called up to the WWE main roster in May 2022 he was given a different name than fans were used to – Max Dupri. Soon after, Max would reveal a tag team known as the Maximum Male Models, who were comprised of Mace & Mansoor.
Despite the fact that they were given time to do promos as well as fashion vignettes on Smackdown, the gimmick wasn’t getting over with the WWE fans. It was obvious that it just wasn’t working that well. They brought in Max’s “sister” Maxxine Dupri to be part of the group as well, but that didn’t really work either.
The Maximum Male Models gimmick was a Vince McMahon idea. In the summer of 2022, McMahon’s “hush money payments” scandal was in the news with the “genetic jackhammer” spending nearly $20 million on sexual affairs he had with women who worked for him. While McMahon was defiant at first, he would eventually retire as WWE Chairman & CEO as well as the head of creative on July 23, 2022.
Vince’s son-in-law Paul “Triple H” Levesque took over as the Chief Content Officer meaning that he would finally be running the creative team on the main roster.
This was a good thing for LA Knight along with many other superstars that benefitted from Triple H’s vision being different than Vince. Over the next few weeks, the Max Dupri manager character was dropped, he broke free from the Maximum Male Models and LA Knight was reborn as a wrestler.
Maximum Male Models reveal LA Knight was close to being fired by Vince McMahon
There were many WWE superstars released on September 21st with the Maximum Male Models team of Mace & Mansoor among them.
While discussing their WWE exits on Mace’s Twitch channel, they joked about having heat with people while also revealing that Vince McMahon hated Knight’s performance as Max Dupri and nearly fired him. However, that’s when Vince’s scandal got a lot of attention, then Triple H took over creative and it never happened.
Mace: Who do we have heat with?
Mansoor: LA Knight. Should we shoot on LA Knight? Mr. big star getting his hand raised by John Cena. Mr. most over man in the company. Fair play. You really made it work. You did it. [Sarcasm]
Mace: Yes, congratulations. We started in the same place and we clearly went the wrong direction. The L is on us. [Sarcasm]
Mansoor: There is no heat with LA Knight. He was going to get fired. He was this close to getting let go because, for whatever reason, Vince hated his Max Dupri performance.
Mace: He wanted him to be softer.
Mansoor: Like a scummy agent. It was never the right role for him. I was always saying ‘let me be Max Dupri.’ I begged them. ‘Let me talk, let me be someone’s manager.’ I can talk, nobody knows that I can talk. It’s just not how it worked. No heat with him. He took the best of a really bad situation, strapped himself onto his own rocket, and shot up when nobody was helping him.
Currently, LA Knight is one of the top babyfaces on the WWE Smackdown brand and is also a top merchandise seller. LA Knight defeated The Miz in singles action on WWE SmackDown last week. It was Knight’s second win over Miz this month.
h/t to Fightful