LA Knight Opens Up About Regret Over Not Returning To WWE Sooner

LA Knight is one of the hottest stars in WWE right now, but some fans may not be aware that this is actually his second run with the company. Knight was previously signed to a developmental contract with WWE in 2013, and was one of the first recruits for the WWE Performance Center, but was released a little over a year later. Recently appearing on "Insight with Chris Van Vliet," Knight was asked if he had any regret over not taking WWE up on its offer for him to return between 2016 and 2018.

"Yes," Knight quickly responded. "A lot of it."

Knight recalled his lengthy stint in Impact Wrestling, where he wrestled as Eli Drake. During that time, Knight was not happy with his booking and even felt like an afterthought when he won the company's world championship.

"At that point, I'm just like, 'Alright, I have to leave. I have to go,'" Knight continued. "The only reason I was staying was because I had been broke for so damn long and I'm now making good money for the first time. I had never seen money like this before."

The offer that Knight had from WWE wasn't instilling too much confidence, as he was only promised a spot in the Performance Center rather than being guaranteed TV time on "WWE NXT." According to Knight, he thought that may have been because he had "heat" with the company when he departed the first time, though he declined to get into specifics.

Returning To WWE... Eventually

Looking at the offers he had at the time, Knight decided not to return to WWE and instead stayed in Impact as Eli Drake until 2019. He then wound up in Billy Corgan's NWA for a brief time before finally heading back to WWE in early 2021.

"I knew I was going to have to take a pay cut coming in, but I was willing to take the pay cut on the bet that I could turn it into much more," Knight said. "I had hit the ceiling, basically, in Impact. I had an awesome time in NWA for that little bit that we were able to do it before the pandemic hit."

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Knight felt as though his career had reached its peak, and didn't believe he would make it to the heights he had once envisioned. As a last-ditch effort, he sent an email to Paul "Triple H" Levesque and WWE talent relations with some highlights.

While he isn't sure if the email to Levesque is what made the difference, the company signed him, though there was some concern about his indecision over joining WWE in 2016, 2017, and 2018. However, he was able to calm their concerns, and Knight says he found the environment backstage very welcoming when he did arrive. Less than three years later, Knight is at the top of the card, currently preparing for a Fatal Four-Way at WWE Royal Rumble 2024 with Roman Reigns' Undisputed WWE Universal Championship on the line.