Removing only the bumps or protrusions of the popcorn ceiling is not enough for a good base for another texture.
You need to remove all this stuff to the skin of the drywall, then prime after dry and then begin your new texturing. Knockdown is applied with a very diluted joint compound mixture and the drying time is usually over night. Being so wet, the stuff maybe just did not have enough to hold on to.
What were your procedures in application of knockdown?