A current WWE SmackDown star has discussed changing gimmicks on the show and says they “could’ve been Joe Shmoe for all it matters” when they debuted.
In early 2021 former IMPACT Wrestling and NWA star Eli Drake debuted on NXT as the villainous LA Knight. Knight spent a year on the developmental brand before joining the main roster in April 2022. However, his move to the main roster wasn’t as Knight with the star changing his gimmick to Max Dupri – the manager of the Maximum Male Models tag team of Mace and Mansoor.
As Vince McMahon moved on in July 2022 and Triple H took over the creative direction of the company, Dupri was soon dropped with LA Knight making a return.
Speaking with Yahoo Entertainment, LA Knight explained why he wasn’t against a change of character but says one gimmick was very much more him than the other:
“There was an NXT built-in audience that knew who LA Knight was. So now here comes this other character being introduced and so for those people, it was like, ‘Wait, what is this?’” Knight explained. “But when you look at the numbers of a SmackDown audience, for a large swath of those people, they are seeing me for the first time. So I could’ve been Joe Shmoe for all it matters.”
“In a strange sense, that would have actually worked just because three-quarters of that audience is seeing me for the first time regardless of who I am. At the same time though, I think there is a matter of the shoe fitting and not. I will make any [character] work, but when it comes down to it, there was one that was way more ‘me’ than the other one.”
LA Knight may have bitten off more than he can chew on SmackDown as he is currently embroiled in a feud with the unpredictable Bray Wyatt.