Report: Another Sign That WWE SmackDown Star Is Switching Back to Old Persona

One of NXT's standout gimmicks is set to join the WWE SmackDown roster. Mike Johnson of PWInsider reports that Max Dupri, the leader of Maximum Male Models, is now listed as LA Knight on WWE's internal roster. Dupri has been teasing a return to his NXT gimmick on recent episodes of SmackDown, seemingly twitching after hearing "LA" and making particular note of the word "night" in a recent backstage promo. Those teases culminated in this past Friday's edition of SmackDown, which featured Knight turning on Mace and Mansoor backstage. He shoved Mansoor to the ground while lecturing the faction, citing frustrations with their focus on posing instead of winning championships.

"Man, this ain't for me anymore," Dupri said. "Quite frankly, I'm not sure this ever was for me. Yeah."

That final "yeah" is not just any word to Dupri/Knight, as it was his signature catchphrase when he was rocking the LA Knight gimmick in NXT.

While Dupri has left and looks to be returning to the LA Knight monicker, Maximum Male Models are in fact here to stay. Johnson reports that Mace and Mansoor will continue to be a tag team and will be led by Maxxine Dupri.

Knight has been with WWE since 2021, debuting at NXT Takeover: Vengeance Day. There, he established himself as a heel and would align himself with WWE Hall of Famer Ted DiBiase in the subsequent months. Knight would go on to win the re-established Million Dollar Championship at NXT Takeover In Your House 2021 and reigned with the title throughout the summer. Knight became a face shortly after, feuding with Grayson Waller. He would go on to represent Team Black & Gold at NXT WarGames, standing beside fellow NXT veterans Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, and Pete Dunne.

Outside of WWE, Knight wrestled as Eli Drake across the independent circuit. He rose to the top of Impact Wrestling by becoming Impact World Champion on one occasion, and even held tag gold in that promotion with Scott Steiner. Knight also received shine in the National Wrestling Alliance, getting the chance to truly spotlight his promo skills there.

Knight's current WWE run is actually his second stint with the company, as he worked in various developmental capacities in 2013 and 2014. Those years coincided with Knight's appearance on The Rock's short-lived reality television series The Hero, which aired on TNT in 2013.


Stay tuned to for updates on LA Knight's main roster status.