LA Knight will collide with Bray Wyatt in the highly anticipated Mountain Dew Pitch Black match at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view event later tonight at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
In 2008, Knight made his first WWE appearance in a dark match on ECW. On August 1, 2014, he was released from his WWE contract due to not getting along with then-NXT head trainer Bill Demott. Knight made his return to WWE in 2021.
While speaking to Sports Illustrated ahead of the Royal Rumble, Knight revealed having “residual heat” from his unceremonious departure in 2014. The 40-year-old wrestler also discussed his upcoming Pitch Black match against Waytt.
You can check out some highlights from the interview below:
On having heat upon his return: “When I came back [to WWE in 2021], there was residual heat from my first time around. There was a little bit of headbutting between me and the former head coach back then. It’s a new head coach [Matt Bloom] in place, but there was still the question of whether I could be a team player. I never saw myself as trouble, but I am a very proud guy, so I do speak up. That’s kept me very authentic to myself, but it’s also made my path take a lot longer. I always knew I had something to offer. And to be quite honest, I don’t have a backup. Persevering and being better were the only choices I had. There is still no choice for me but to keep going and make this work… Maybe I wasn’t quite for this ride back then. But I am damn-sure ready now.”
On his current character: “LA Knight is the culmination of all my life’s work. You believe in the character when he speaks. The reason you believe in it is because I believe in it. I believe every damn word I’m saying. If I didn’t believe it, I wouldn’t see it. This has been my biggest joy and biggest source of frustration. I love it so much. And I see the way people treat it—some people make a parody out of it. For me, I’m telling stories. If I’m not telling you a story you can bite on, there is no point to it. I want this to resonate with people. I want to punch a guy once and let people know it hurts, not kick a guy 10 times in the head and see that he’s fine. I’ll pepper in some comedy, but I want it all to make sense.”
On his match against Wyatt: “This is a big moment to shine. But at the same time, it’s no different than any program I’m ever doing—just like when I was in Impact or NWA. The difference is that the smaller companies aren’t visible on the same level as WWE. That drove me insane. It drove me nuts. But it never changed what I was doing. I’ve always worked like people were watching. Every single program ever needs to be better than the last.”
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