The Latest Episodes of INSIGHT with Chris Van Vliet
Jan. 26, 2023

LA Knight On "YEAH", The Undertaker's Return, Bray Wyatt, Changing His Name From Max Dupri

LA Knight On "YEAH", The Undertaker's Return, Bray Wyatt, Changing His Name From Max Dupri

LA Knight (@reallaknight) is a professional wrestler signed to WWE. He is known for his work in IMPACT Wrestling and NWA under the name Eli Drake. He joins Chris Van Vliet to talk about his Mountain Dew Pitch Black match against Bray Wyatt at the Royal Rumble, being in the ring with the Undertaker at the 30th anniversary of Raw, being managed by the legendary Paul Bearer, and what he learned from him, doing motion capture for WWE 2K games, celebrating his 20th year in wrestling this year, moving on from the Max Dupri character, reacting to people thinking he sounds like The Rock, his WrestleMania plans and much more!

On being in the ring with The Undertaker:

“Well, I'll tell you what, he was about this close to get the slap right in the mouth, but I decided to spare him. But I'll tell you the truth. It's funny because you always hear the cliche when you're standing in that ring, and that bell tolls. You know, it's chills. And I'm like, sure. Once that hit, it was chills, it was pretty wild. But at the same time to be standing there and doing my thing, and to be very recognised. That audience was right on top of everything I had to say even with the Undertaker in the ring. So I mean, that's a big feather in my cap as far as I'm concerned. And at the same time, you know, looking at a guy who’s undoubtedly a legend, Hall of Famer, crazy, crazy night leading into this Royal Rumble.”

On Bray Wyatt stepping up LA Knight’s game:

“Well, for sure. Because look, here's this big anticipated return. Everybody's like, oh well Bray Wyatt is coming back, ain’t that's special. And for me. I'm looking at LA Knight’s here, and people were worried about Bray Wyatt. That's fine. That's cool. I get that. But then he walks in on my territory. If you remember the very first interaction, I didn't go talk to him. I didn't go look for him. He came looking for me. So I don't know, in a sense, it's like, okay, well, people have this big grandiose idea of him, they think he's amazing. And he's this and he's that, whatever he is. I'm just thinking he ain’t LA Knight. So at that point, it's like, alright, well, I'm gonna stand here across the ring from this guy, and I'm gonna look him in the eyes, and I'm gonna be way, way bigger than him. And I ain't talking physically, we're talking figuratively in the sense that I'm going to be to a level that if he's going to walk into my arena, I'm gonna make sure I'm the one that people remember. I want to make sure that I'm the one that people think about, I'm going to make sure that I'm the one that shines above and beyond as bright as I can.”

On the pitch black match:

“The guy plays with puppets, is that a scary thing? It’s not a puppet room match, it's in the dark. If there's one thing that doesn't bother me, it's the dark. And so you're looking at what's in store for this? I don't think he knows what's in store. I don't know, I don’t think anybody really knows entirely what's in store for this. I think at some point it's going to be, at least I'm going in with the mindset it's gonna be a kick ass fight. And whether that means the lights are completely out, whether it's broad daylight, whatever it is. At the end of the day, if you ask me, just because I'm not a creature of circumstance, I'm more of a creator of circumstance. So in my mind, I'm thinking okay, lights are out, pitch black, what do I have to do to adapt to that situation? What that means it is advantage LA Knight."

On nearly not being at Raw XXX:

“Busy week in the ring with The Undertaker. Sorry, I just took all your glory. I'm stealing your interview from you. But it's a wild week, man. I didn't even know I was going to be going to Raw and then last minute it’s like you guys are going to Raw. Why? Because well Rumble is coming around the corner, we got the Pitch Black match, the Royal Rumble all this stuff and it's just go go go at this point.”

On this being LA Knight’s first Royal Rumble event:

“Well, it's pretty crazy. I mean, look, I've been watching this since I was a little kid. I think I watched the very first Royal Rumble. So this is, in my mind the second biggest event of the year, this is enormous. So yeah, hell yeah, it means a lot. And at the same time, there's a certain level to me where I'm like, I'd love to be in the actual Royal Rumble match. But when you're looking at the idea that I'm in my own match, that puts all the focus on me and Bray, and I dig that because now I'm not sharing the focus with 30 other guys. Is that selfish? Is that egotistical? I don't know, some people might say so. But if you're in this business, that's exactly what you want. So you know, to have that, that primary focus on such a big event. I think that it speaks volumes to LA Knight.”

On possibly entering the Royal Rumble match as well:

“Maybe, but I mean, again, I don't think anybody knows what to expect for the Pitch Black match. I don't think anybody knows how physical and how crazy that's gonna be. So I don't know what kind of shape either of us are gonna be in afterwards actually declared for the Royal Rumble.”

On sounding like The Rock:

“Well, you know what's so funny is as I go online, you know, and Twitter might be the worst thing in the world. The amount of people I've been compared to and said that I am is astounding. And every day I'll see a new one. And I'll just be like wait, who? That too. So yeah, it's not surprising. But yeah, I mean, just the voice tambor again, I mean, watching the hero back in 2013. I can't believe it's been 10 years since that, but sometimes you would just hear my voice or you'd hear His voice. And it would be tough to tell who was who you’re just like, and until the person's face came on screen you're like oh, yeah. But I don't know. I don't think otherwise there's a whole like [similarity]. It's just my normal speaking voice. But like, I don't think that once I actually get amped up or anything like that, I think I kind of lose it at that point.”

What is the difference between Eli Drake and LA Knight:

“To be honest, there really isn't, they are one and the same. And that's the funniest thing is a lot of times again, from social media, they are like oh I miss Eli Drake. And I'm like you dummy. It's the same thing, it's the exact same thing. LA Knight is Eli Drake, Eli Drake is LA Knight. So you know, look, use what brought you to the dance. I know what brought me to the dance, and do a little dancing with it. That's what I'm doing right now. So the idea that anybody thinks it's any different just because they changed some letters around?”

How different is LA Knight from Max Dupri?

“Oh boy, who? Night and damn day. Very much so, we couldn't be more opposite ends of the spectrum.”

On the change from Max Dupri to LA Knight:

“There's an undeniable thing there where it's like you get told that well, you know, if you want to go legit, maybe you should think about trying this or that. And you know, in my head, I'm like alright, let me just go ahead and do what I need to do to get ahead here. And so that's what I do for a minute. But at some point, eventually I got to come to terms with the fact that I can't be anything other than myself. And that's exactly what happened where it's just kind of like I'd eventually this stuff starts just sprinkling it out until eventually it's just full blown.”

On getting what he wanted:

“You know, what's funny is, in this run, there hasn't been a lot where I'm like, you know, I want this, I want to do this, I want to go there. The only thing that I can really think of in a very overall sense is, I want to be at the top of the mountain, I want to be the guy. And in my mind, this is a stepping stone to that. And don't let me minimise Bray Wyatt at all. He's a big dude, he's a big deal, and Saturday is going to be a hell of a fight. I understand, I get that. But in my mind, coming out of that, I'm looking at me stepping over him and moving myself up closer to the top of that mountain. So was this something specific that I wanted, desired, whatever. No, not really. But at the end of the day, is it something that now I can utilise to move myself forward, you bet your ass.”

Will LA Knight be doing motion capture for WWE 2K23?

“I can't, I can't, my schedule is too crazy. They probably don't want me to go up there and be a potential injury risk or anything like that, even though for you know, five or six years never ever had an issue and never was, you know, never got injured or anything like that. Knock on the wood. Yeah. But I would love to, because I enjoyed just that atmosphere. Everybody was always cool. It was always a good time. And just getting to do you know, entrances of some of the different [superstars]. Hell last time I was with you, I think I blew something that you ended up having to edit out, because that was like, oh, yeah, did Hulk Hogan’s entrance and that immediately got a call from 2K. [They told me] You can't say that!”

What is LA Knight grateful for:

“My boy Herman, my health and the Mountain Dew Pitch Black match.”