Gleed’s Blog: Why a Sami Zayn heel turn might make some sense for WWE


By Haydn Gleed

For years, I’ve written about my admiration for Sami Zayn. From the days when he would wrestle on the indie scene to when he arrived in NXT, I’ve always had an admiring glance or two in his direction. When Daniel Bryan retired, I certainly wasn’t the only who took one look at Zayn and saw him as someone who could take over the “everyman” babyface title. Although these were notions born from an admiration of Daniel Bryan and being in denial that he retired, it seemed that if WWE wanted a replacement then Sami was the obvious choice.

But it looks like WWE didn’t want to replace the bearded one, and it has appeared since his jump to the main roster that WWE either don’t know what to do with him or won’t do anything with him.

For weeks I’ve heard the speculation and rumblings of a Zayn turn and instantly dismissed them as a reach. After all, I’ve written and bought into the notion that although Sami wasn’t on top of the card either on Raw or Smackdown he was a character that you could strap a rocket to at any point and he would be the lovable underdog that fans could all get behind. But the more I’ve thought about a heel turn, the more I’ve thought that it would make a lot of sense.

Firstly, please allow me to indulge in a bit of fantasy booking. On Sunday, Shane McMahon has Kevin Owens lying prone on the ring announcers table, he wants to recreate his leap from the top of the cage onto The Undertaker, but Owens keeps moving. Sami, who has come to ringside to watch the match offers to hold Owens in place for Shane. McMahon wrestle climbs to the top of the cage and following a thumbs up from Sami takes to the air, falling and falling until he hits the table that is now exposed after Zayn pushes Owens out of the way. Sami grabs a bewildered Owens and places him on top of Shane for the 1-2-3 and walks to the back as the crowd are a mix of shock and anger. Why Sami, why?

On Smackdown Sami could explain that he has always tried to do things the right way. He could play off his promo where he said that he’s always wanted to look at himself in the mirror and one day know that he reached the top by being a good person, and where has that got him? It resulted in him being cheated out of match after match and being blown off by Shane McMahon. Now it’s time for Sami Zayn to show what he can really do when the gloves are off and he doesn’t care what you all think.

Right back into analysis mode, the seeds have been planted, especially with the promo he gave on Owens and he can play off it nicely. WWE hasn’t really done anything with Zayn except feed him to guy after guy so why not try this? Yes, there will be some hardcore Zayn fans who will be unhappy, but at the same time I’m sure those fans would be happy with the potential of babyface vs. heel feuds with Sami against the likes of Nakamura, AJ Styles, John Cena, and Randy Orton………ok maybe not that last one, but you know what I mean.

I don’t necessarily see any potential heel turn meaning that Sami has to be aligned with Kevin Owens. Quite the opposite, actually, rather they are kept apart while occasionally referencing each other. Somewhere down the road in a year or two’s time, they could play off their history and Sami could start turning back to the Sami that we know and love after Owens continues to dismiss him as inferior, but hopefully this time as a bigger star and one that the fans are begging for the company to turn babyface.

Although I’m sure a lot of people would have the same jarring reaction that I did initially at the thought of Zayn turning heel, I cannot find a single reason why they shouldn’t. He’s not being used in any meaningful way on WWE television, he needs an overhaul creatively for people to take him seriously, and a change can be good for both him and the Smackdown brand. We will obviously see what happens on Sunday at WWE Hell in a Cell, but if they do go this route, I hope they have a plan with him going forward. If they do, I believe they will have a success on their hands.

As always feel free to get in touch either through email or via twitter @haydngleed.


Readers Comments (4)

  1. I think turning Zayn heel right now would be a major continuity error (not that this normally bothers WWE). Two Smackdowns ago, Zayn delivered a great line about being able to look himself in the mirror, and knowing that when success arrives, it will come the right way. THAT line should be the starting point either for a brilliant redemption story for Zayn, or a slow descent into frustration and bitterness when he sees that doing the things the right way isn’t working. Turning him heel two weeks after he made that speech not only makes no sense from a character standpoint, it would be the biggest wasted opportunity yet to turn him into a major ‘face.

  2. I’ll be honest from the start, I’ve never been the biggest fan of Sami Zayn. He’s an amazing wrestler, but he simply doesn’t click with me. He just doesn’t have enough of an edge to him.

    I felt similarly about Daniel Bryan when he first debuted in WWE. I don’t remember exactly when it was, but I didn’t start to get into his character until he had his heel run with Big Show, CM Punk and AJ Lee.

    So from my perspective, I’d be a hundred percent behind turning Sami heel. I’d even go one step further in your fantasy booking scenario, Haydn- before the pin, I’d have Sami pick up a defenseless Shane, wrap the chair around his head the way Owens had it on Sami, and run him into the ring post. That’d be a visual you could play in video packages to really drive home Sami’s new attitude. It’d also be a good case of turnabout in heel logic. Shane did almost “seriously injure” Sami the other week, after all; and he didn’t really seem all that concerned about it.

    I think it’d strengthen Smackdown as a brand, too. AJ Styles could step up and challenge Sami on Shane’s behalf, and that’d be an exciting series of matches. I’d love to see him against Dillinger, too. It’d open a ton of doors. Plus, honestly, if he stays babyface, where do you go with him? Corbin again, maybe? I don’t know.

    I applaud this idea, however. Hopefully the WWE makes it happen!

  3. Very interesting article. While I honestly don’t know for real about agreeing or not, loosing Sami on the face side of things somewhat doesn’t feel right. After all, he is probably one of the purest babyface characters on the roster. Then again, WWE doesn’t seem to recognize this for whatever reasons. They seem pretty contempt about not having babyfaces that are really over on a constant level.

    Also, a scenario like yours would require WWE to actually give a crap about Sami in the first place, since it would elevate him, make him the talk of the town so to speak. And I honestly don’t see that happen. Because the same ignorant people, who have ignored him(or jobbed him out) are still there. Why would they have changed their mind regarding Sami? They had/have a perfect babyface in him, but haven’t utilized him. I don’t see that changing, heel turn or not.

    And IF Shane wins, I’m almost sure he wins it by himself just because he can and is one of the most protected workers in this company, a McMahon.

  4. Dude. You’re a mind reader.

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