Five Amazing Facts About WWE’s Newest Signing LA Knight

Published 02/15/2021, 1:19 PM EST

WWE have scalped one of the most experienced and sought after talents on the independent scene. Former TNA and NWA superstar Eli Drake made his first WWE appearance at NXT Takeover: Vengeance Day. He has been rebranded ‘LA Knight’, which is quite a fine name. Before he debuts in WWE and NXT, here are five facts about LA Knight you should know.


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LA Knight is a former TNA World Champion


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During his stint in TNA as Eli Drake, he was heavily pushed as one of the company’s top guys. He won the title in 2017 in a gauntlet match where he entered second. Drake defended the title against Matt Sydal, Cody Hall, son of WWE legend Scott Hall, Johnny Impact and Alberto El Patron.

His first reign lasted 146 days and was ended by Austin Aries. He won the title a second time from Moose, by cashing in his Feast or Fired briefcase.

LA Knight has wrestled in WWE before

In 2006, Knight teamed up with Dean Ambrose to take on the Big Show. His next appearance would come two years later, teaming up with Snitsky in a losing effort against JTG and Shad Gaspard. In 2011, he appeared as a security guard in a segment involving CM Punk and Kevin Nash.

Knight even appeared in NXT in 2013, where he wrestled under the name State Randall. He wrestled squash matches against Baron Corbin, Mason Ryan, and Mojo Rawley.

His relationship with Bill Demott led to him leaving WWE

During his run in the Performance Center, Knight had a poor relationship with former head coach Bill Demott. He was released from his contract in 2014 and later explained the true cause of his release.

He isn’t the first wrestler to criticise Bill Demott. AEW World Champion Kenny Omega also cited Demott’s poor management as the reason for him leaving the WWE developmental promotion Deep South Wrestling.

LA Knight is a former NWA Tag Team Champion

Prior to signing for NXT and after his departure from IMPACT, Eli Drake went to the National Wrestling Alliance, where he won the tag titles with another ex-TNA star, James Storm.

They beat the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express and The Wild Cards (Royce Isaacs and Thom Latimer) at NWA Hard Times. They dropped the titles to Aron Stevens and JR Kratos at UWN Primetime Live.

He has starred in Brooklyn 99!


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In probably the most surprising fact about Eli Drake/LA Knight, the wrestler starred in NBC’s Brooklyn 99 sitcom. The show features former SNL actor Andy Samberg, Terry Crews, Melissa Fumero and Andre Braugher.

Drake featured in the “Boyle-Linetti Wedding” episode. He plays the role of a bodybuilder who gets married in a gym. Terry Crews’ character Sergeant Jeffords is the officiant at the wedding. Drake has also starred in TNT reality TV show, The Hero which is hosted by WWE legend The Rock.


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Nathan Fulgado

866 articles

Nathan Fulgado is a WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports. Having published close to 1000 professional wrestling articles, Nathan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier's College. He has previously worked at Free Press Journal as a local journalist.