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LA Knight makes WWE SmackDown debut, gets new name

Knight is now going by the name "Max Dupri."

Former NXT star LA Knight has arrived on SmackDown -- and he's also been given a new in-ring name.

Now going by the name "Max Dupri," Knight made his televised WWE main roster debut on SmackDown tonight. He introduced himself as the CEO of the hottest new modeling agency, Maximum Male Models.

Dupri debuted in a backstage segment with WWE official Adam Pearce. Dupri said that the discovery of a new generation of WWE wrestlers who can headline both Paris Fashion Week and WrestleMania begins tonight.

In storyline, Dupri was hired by Sonya Deville before she lost her authority figure position. Pearce wasn't interested in Dupri joining SmackDown, but Dupri revealed that he has a signed contract.

The segment ended with Dupri correcting Pearce on how to say his name:

Dupri's final match for NXT took place at Stand & Deliver during WrestleMania 38 weekend last month. He lost to Gunther at the show. Gunther was also called up to SmackDown shortly after Stand & Deliver.

Leading into his main roster TV debut, Dupri had taken part in dark matches and dark segments before SmackDown episodes. Those segments included him managing Mace and Mansoor. He had yet to be given his new name in those segments, and his modeling agency was called Knight Model Management.

Dupri went by the name Eli Drake prior to signing with WWE in February 2021. He's a former Impact Wrestling World Champion and NWA Tag Team Champion.