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.
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