LA Knight Admits He Nearly Quit Pro Wrestling Before Joining WWE

la knight wwe promo smackdown

LA Knight didn’t think WWE would want him when he reached out during the pandemic, but he’s making the most of his opportunity now.

Tonight at WWE Payback, LA Knight faces one of the biggest name opponents in his WWE career so far: The Miz. While The Miz doesn’t have a great win-loss record in 2023, he does have nearly 20 years of experience in WWE and was the first two-time Grand Slam Champion in company history.

During the storyline between Knight and Miz on the road to Payback, they have pushed the idea that Miz is a cocky guy that’s done it all while Knight is a man that will never quit. This point was furthered on last night’s Smackdown as well. Unfortunately for Knight, after words were exchanged in the ring, The Miz dropped Knight with a Skull Crushing Finale to end the segment.

In an interview with Interstate 70 Sports Media, the 40-year-old LA Knight admitted that while he didn’t want to quit pro wrestling, he realized he might have to do that.

“There was never a point where I seriously thought, ‘I should go do something else.’ But there was a point where I thought ‘I’m gonna have to go do something else.’ For the first 10 years going through my 20s I was broke as hell trying to get this whole thing done. Working serving jobs, rather odd side jobs and stuff, just to kind of get myself by. To kind of make this work.”

“But at that point in time, I’m in my 20s. So at that point, I’m never thinking any of that. I’m just thinking, ‘I gotta keep pushing forward’ Even though I had other people in my ear – family, friends, girlfriends, whatever. [They’re like] ‘What if you just made it a hobby and then you just did…’ (I said) ‘No, no, no, that’s not for me.'”

“Once I hit 30, things just started to pick up for me. That’s when I finally started getting paid to be a wrestler. [I] went to NXT for the first time, then I was in Impact, then NWA. I was getting paid pretty well at all those places. To the point where ‘Okay, things are working, things are clicking’ But I still needed to get bigger, I still needed to get on a large level.”

While working in Impact Wrestling, the NWA and other places, LA Knight was known as Eli Drake. He was also the Impact Wrestling World Champion (it was Global Force Wrestling at that time) in 2017 for about five months.

LA Knight Made One More Oveture To Rejoin WWE During Pandemic

Many fans may not be aware that LA Knight was originally under a WWE deal in early 2013 until his release in August 2014. After that, he went to places like Impact and the NWA before returning to WWE in February 2021 on the NXT brand at a time when the world was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As he continued telling his story, LA Knight admitted that he didn’t know if WWE would entertain the idea of bringing him back in 2021, but they did.

“Then I had an opportunity to just come back to WWE starting back in 2016, but the pay would have been a cut from what I was making, and I had never made the kind of money that Impact was paying me at the time. So I was like, ‘Well, let me at least make this for a couple more years and then we’ll entertain the idea.”

“By that point in time, you’re looking at a 36-37-year-old guy. Some people look at that number. That’s a little scary, but you have to look at me and realize that I don’t have a big injury history. I don’t have a big surgery history. Knock on glass or whatever this is here. So with that in mind, even though the number says 40, in a lot of ways in this business, I’m operating more on like a 30-year-old’s body. If that makes sense. But the optics of that are not good.”

“So you know when I’m 38 and the pandemic’s happening, I’m thinking ‘Alright, it’s over. Now I gotta figure out what’s the next step? What’s the next thing that I do?’ Because at this point, the world is falling apart. They’re not gonna bring me in, especially with my age here. I kind of just took that mindset and said, ‘Well, if that’s the thought then screw it, let’s just make one more overture and see what the temperature is.'” I did that. Got that little window of opportunity. I pushed the hell on and here we are. It’s crazy that I even made that move. I didn’t think it was a possibility. I didn’t think it was gonna happen. But it did. And I’m glad it did.”

H/T SEScoops