Some WWE Fans Are Furious About LA Knight’s Booking, And They Have A Point
Lemme talk to ya. There is perhaps no mid-card character in WWE who seems to be making more forward progress with fans than LA Knight. Since being repackaged away from his Maximum Male Models gimmick, the self-proclaimed megastar came out the other side of his Bray Wyatt feud looking better than when he went in (which is not easy to do), and his crowd reactions have seemingly been getting better by the week. He’s getting a nice pop when he comes out, and a healthy percentage of fans are screaming “yeah” or “lemme talk to ya” when he’s on the mic.
All the organic momentum is there for a big push, and in fact, rumors have been swirling that he’s going to get one after WrestleMania. That’s great news for all of us who see star potential in LA Knight, but unfortunately, apart from some added screentime, we’re not actually seeing that momentum reflected in his booking on TV. In fact, all we’ve gotten recently is a lot of losses, and many WWE fans have started taking to social media to complain.
Since his last victory all the way back in January, LA Knight has taken losses to Bray Wyatt, Kofi Kingston, Santos Escobar, Kevin Owens, Drew McIntyre, Braun Strowman, Cody Rhodes and Xavier Woods. Some of those losses make all the sense in the world. He’s obviously not going to beat Cody Rhodes (and you could argue wrestling opposite him is a long-term victory), but the sheer number of defeats has started to frustrate a lot of fans. Many have complained on social media over the last month or so, and that fan frustration was particularly loud this past Friday night when he lost to Xavier Woods of all people. Here’s a sample tweet…
Fuck this man they doing LA Knight so dirty. Nothing for Mania and now losing to Xavier Woods with a roll up.March 18, 2023
There’s more than 2,700 likes on that tweet, and there are dozens of additional messages from fans who can’t figure out why he’d lose to Xavier Woods. And I’m right there with them. Maybe there’s some masterplan I’m not seeing, but from where I sit, LA Knight’s booking makes no sense. He’s starting to get over with the crowd. People are responding to his catch phrases. They’re engaged when he comes to the ring, and yet, a lot of weeks, he’s not even given a microphone to talk, which is clearly his specialty.
Now, many fans are reassuring themselves based on the rumors that he’s going to get a big push after WrestleMania. They trust Triple H, and they think the WWE writers are showing us they like LA Knight by putting him on television every week. Next Friday, as an example, he’s going to be working with Rey Mysterio. That’s a high-leverage match that will almost certainly include Dominik Mysterio and WrestleMania plot developments, but there’s now way he’s going to win that match clean. He’ll either lose or get a cheap heelish victory with Dominik’s help.
Now, there are some who feel LA Knight is doing exactly what he should be. They see a lot of overlap, given his mic skills and heel personality, with The Miz, and The Miz’s current job, most of the time, is to put over other people every week. They see the regular appearances on SmackDown and feel the writers are already rewarding him. But The Miz settled into that roll after various runs in which he won a lot of matches and built up credibility. You can’t just start with a company and lose indefinitely, while still maintaining your heat. You have to at least go on a run at some point. And all this losses could kill his connection with fans before he capitalizes on it.
And maybe that run actually will come after WrestleMania (which he doesn't even have a match for yet by the way). Maybe Triple H and company are just waiting, but even if they are, I don’t understand why losing to Xavier Woods on television helps achieve anything down the road. No offense to Xavier Woods, but he seems destined to live in the mid-card forever. He doesn’t need wins over LA Knight because he’s not building to anything. LA Knight can and should build, and losses like this aren’t helpful.
Even if the approach here is going to be LA Knight grabbing a microphone the week after Mania and saying he’s done with taking Ls, those losses, in my opinion, should come to actual stars in the company. If they want him to lose to Braun Strowman, fine. Give him a nice entrance, a few minutes to talk, let him look good in the ring and then he can get pinned. That’ll help develop him. Bringing him out for five minutes to get rolled up by Xavier Woods just makes him look bad long-term.
I think LA Knight has huge potential. He’s been put into losing situation after losing situation. I like Maximum Male Models as a third hour of Raw sideshow kinda deal, but he never should have been a part of that gimmick. Yet, when given the chance as Max Dupri, he cooked on the mic. Then he was put into a program with Bray Wyatt, which has been a death sentence for a lot of wrestlers over the years, and yet, despite all the supernatural stuff and a match sponsored by Mountain Dew, he told a fun story and got over with some fans. After The Royal Rumble, he’s done nothing but take losses on television, and yet, fans are continuing to support him because he makes the most of what he’s given.
I’m going to withhold most of my judgment until after WrestleMania. Triple H has mostly made wise choices since taking over from Vince McMahon, and there’s reason to believe he gets there is something here. But at some point, LA Knight needs to start winning matches and being put into positions to succeed. Fingers crossed it comes sooner rather than later.
The WrestleMania 39 card is coming together and will stream for free with a Peacock subscription on April 1st and April 2nd. After that, expect WWE to introduce new storylines and push some new personalities. Hopefully one of those new storylines will heavily involve LA Knight.