Ever since Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson made his triumphant return to WWE after a decade away from regular action, fans and pundits alike started to notice that a certain “Megastar” was being booked a little differently than before: LA Knight.

Once a borderline guarantee to cut fantastic promos against his foes on a near-weekly basis, the “Megastar” slowly but surely started to shift into the background of the promotion's weekly programming, which his forthcoming WrestleMania 40 feud against AJ Styles a mere footnote when compared to everything going on with “The Great One.”

And the worst part? All of those accusations of Knight being a poor Rock clone that riddled social media in 2023? Well, they're back in full force now that it's incredibly easy to compare their inflections mere segments apart on the very same episode of SmackDown.

Discussing “The People's Champion” and his return to the WWE Universe in an appearance on Busted Open Radio, LA Knight noted that while it's nice to have him back for the fans, he doesn't think WWE necessarily needs him, as wrestling was back to being cool months before his return.

“It depends how they are coming into the fold and what they're doing. In this regard, you look at it both ways. You're looking at one of the most recognizable faces in the world as far as television, movies, media in general. There is something to be added there. At the same time, you do have to look at your audience and say, ‘We're moving in this direction. The audience wants this. Now, to do this, it's going to look self-serving. It's going to probably peeve a lot of people.' There are a lot of different ways to look at it. My personal opinion, without going too deep into it, is that there is some merit to having him there and at the same time, we were doing very well selling out and all that stuff even without him. He can only add to it or I guess some people could say he could take away from it. You never know. As far as business is concerned, business is good. It's good with him, it's good without him,” LA Knight said on Busted Open Radio via Fightful.

“I hear him say wrestling is cool again, and he's right, but I want to make sure everybody knows it started getting cool again six or seven months before he got there. I'm not saying he can't add to that cool factor or that he won't. I'm just saying, wrestling is cool again, and wrestling was cool again before he came back. I don't want it to seem like all of a sudden it happened because of him. Nah nah.”

A subtle shot at The Rock's claims that he helped to make wrestling cool again, huh? Not too shabby LA Knight, not too shabby. Unfortunately, when it comes to being cool in the WWE Universe, there's The Rock, and there's everyone else, and the more often the duo share time on the same episode of SmackDown, the more often folks will compare them in a light that isn't particularly flattering to the “Megastar.”

Dave Meltzer was less than complimentary of LA Knight.

Speaking of folks who believed LA Knight drew less than favorable comparisons to The Rock, Dave Meltzer discussed their shared episode of SmackDown on his Wrestling Observer Radio show and let it be known that, in his eyes, the “Megastar” looked like nothing but a “freakin copy.

“LA Knight is obviously very popular, but when he came out and did this promo, all I could think of is like, man, you're a freakin' copy of The Rock, and after seeing the real one,” Dave Meltzer said via WrestleTalk. “When Rock wasn't there, it was like, he (LA Knight) was great, and the people were going nuts, and they still were reacting well to him, but it really felt… it just felt, watching this LA Knight promo, to me, completely different from a month ago or two months ago when Rock wasn't around, and he's doing this stuff, and he was like the hot thing. And now, he's not the hot thing, and you've got the real Dwayne Johnson doing the promo, and then this guy's trying to do the same type of promo. And he's got a great delivery, too, but you just can't do it – you can't do a Rock promo right now without looking real second-rate. But, he doesn't have another speed. He's got his one promo style, and he ain't gonna change it, and I would say probably shouldn't change it, but this is not a time where it stands out.”

While Meltzer may have been one of the early observers to claim that Knight didn't look particularly favorable when viewed on the same show as The Rock, he wasn't the only one, as fans on social media have been quick to add their voices to the chorus too, and folks like Kevin Nash will certainly follow before too long. Sure, Knight will probably bounce back once Rocky takes his next leave, but for now, the critics are back in a major way.