In case you have been living under a rock over the past few months, it is perhaps worth making you aware that WWE superstar, Sami Zayn, has – quite suddenly – rocketed into the most-coveted position of most entertaining character in professional wrestling. The long-time Sami fans among us (even those who date back to the El Generico era) will be able to attest to the simple, sincere fact that Sami has always been among the most talented men in the professional wrestling industry. Sami’s talents, combined with his current booming popularity, are but two reasons why Sami Zayn should be the one to defeat Tribal Chief and Bloodline leader, Roman Reigns, for the WWE Universal Championship.
Once a Polarizing Figure
Despite all of the current hype surrounding Sami Zayn, he has previously been viewed as a polarizing figure; one who, despite his immeasurable talent in the ring, was often perceived as a “vanilla midget” – a lame, derogatory term coined by Kevin Nash to describe a wrestler who, whilst good in the ring, is too small, bland and boring to be deemed a top attraction in the industry. We have heard this phrase used many times over the years, and often wrongly, to describe Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio and Bryan Danielson (more on him later). Sami was viewed by the likes of Vince Russo and his fans (yes, we were shocked to learn he has them, too) as someone who looks more akin to the front seat of a taxi than to a wrestling ring. Ouch. Shockingly, Russo and other Sami detractors were clearly missing the point of his appeal.
In spite of what the likes of Russo and others have had to say about Sami in the past, one simple, persistent fact has endured – Sami Zayn has always been someone as great a character as he is in the ring. There’s no denying it. If you think back to the El Generico days of Zayn’s wrestling career, Generico was one of the most popular and recognizable names on the US independent circuit. Why? Because, quite frankly, his simple character of generic luchador – even more ridiculous when you consider the role was played by a redheaded Canadian-Syrian – was undeniably entertaining. When Sami abandoned the mask and put Generico to work in a Mexican orphanage in an attempt to have a go at the big time in WWE NXT, Sami rapidly ascended to the top of the promotion and was widely seen as the heart and soul of the brand. Why? Because he reinvented himself as the sympathetic, white meat babyface who could endear himself to a crowd like no other, with the exception of the company’s top face at that time, Daniel Bryan (look, we’re not done with him yet… it’s coming).
Member of the Bloodline
When Sami Zayn was eventually done with NXT and moved to the main roster, the world wasn’t quite ready for the second-coming of Daniel Bryan, especially so soon after his fabled take down of the Authority. So? Eventually, Sami did the previously unthinkable by turning heel – and it worked… to an extent. Like many before him, Sami was weighed down by being a creative mind in a Vince McMahon world and yet, despite all the attempts to seemingly squash Sami’s momentum as a heel, he would come back – to quote the great philosopher, Macho Man Randy Savage, “the cream always rises to the top.” 2022 has been a breakout year for Zayn because he has, presumably, been granted more freedom to control his heel character – culminating in what was a surprisingly entertaining match with Jackass star, Johnny Knoxville, at WrestleMania this year. Gradually, Sami has become a babyface once more – interestingly, a comedic, sympathetic babyface member of an all-heel, all-Samoan faction.
As a member of the Bloodline, under the moniker “Honorary Uce”, Sami has established himself as the funny man of the group – he is the Jerry Lewis to the Bloodline’s Dean Martin. Whether it’s his friendly brother-like chemistry with Jimmy Uso, his jealous brother chemistry with Jey Uso, his mentor-student chemistry with Solo Sikoa, or his humble devotee-master chemistry with Roman Reigns, there is no denying Zayn is killing it in this role and it is no surprise at all that Sami Zayn is regularly the superstar with the loudest pop; his segments the segments with the highest ratings and his YouTube clips the clips which draw the most clicks. Sami is riding a wave unlike any other right now, with the Bloodline – a two year old stable that has defeated almost everybody available – benefiting mostly from the Sami rejuvenation. So what happens when the inevitable occurs and the Bloodline turns on its adopted brother?
Sami Zayn Will Become the Closest Thing to 2014 Daniel Bryan
There was a reason his name kept appearing throughout this article – Sami Zayn, right now, is the closest thing to the Daniel Bryan of the early 2010s. Let’s not forget: before Bryan was the all-conquering hero at WrestleMania 30, he was the formerly perceived “vanilla midget” proving all of his detractors wrong with the comedic chemistry he had established with Kane. In spite of all the obstacles in his way, Bryan made everything thrown his way work (even when, as we believe, the WWE tried to make it not work) and rapidly became the undisputed, hottest attraction in professional wrestling (as well as Undisputed WWE Champion). Sami Zayn is following the same trajectory – the unwelcome label of “vanilla midget” is a distant memory, with everyone now recognizing that in addition to being a tremendously gifted professional wrestler, he is a tremendously gifted sports entertainer.
When the time comes – and it will come – that Sami Zayn is betrayed by Roman Reigns and the Bloodline, the world will feel his pain and join with him in his quest to overcome the impossible; taking down the most dominant group the WWE has seen this century. Sami will fulfill his destiny and become the babyface he was always meant to be. Hopefully, too, the world champion he was never supposed to be.
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