LA Knight Got Madison Square Garden Fired Up Before WWE SmackDown

The rising popularity of LA Knight was on full display at the Madison Square Garden last night, even as the veteran wrestler did not appear on the live telecast of "WWE SmackDown." Prior to the live taping, Hit Row berated the New York crowd with certain references to the Knicks' championship drought, and just as they continued to generate heat, the crowd came unglued as LA Knight's music hit.

Knight marched down to the ring, with his usual swagger, as fans serenaded him with a loud "LA Knight" chant. Knight, offered a handshake by Ashante Adonis, was in no mood for pleasantries as he shoved the Hit Row member to the corner before switching his focus to Top Dolla. The numbers game caught up to Knight as Dolla and Adonis delivered some tandem offense. Eventually, Knight escaped a powerbomb attempt and nailed Dolla with a neckbreaker, following it up with his leaping elbow drop, with theatrics. Upon clearing the ring, Knight grabbed the microphone, much to the delight of over 12,000 fans at the world's most famous arena. 

"Let me talk to ya!" Knight began. "New York, I'm gonna keep this short and sweet. New York, tell them whose game this is!" The fans let it be known as Knight ended the segment with his "Yeah!" catchphrase.

Although the segment did not take place on television, it seemed to firmly established Knight as a babyface, at least in the eyes of fans on social media. Previously, Knight was internally listed as a heel despite him receiving babyface reactions across the recent European tour, not to mention at house shows in the United States. Similarly, fans in London were firmly in the corner of Knight at Money in the Bank, even as he failed to grab the briefcase. After the show, WWE Chief Content Officer Triple H acknowledged that Knight was the sentimental favorite, going as far as to say that "great things come to those who wait." The comments alluded to Knight's inevitable push up the top of the card.