The recent WWE Elimination Chamber saw Roman Reigns defeat Sami Zayn in what was a spectacular match, leading to the return of Kevin Owens after the event. The Bell Centre in Montreal was a hive of activity as the boisterous crowd cheered Zayn on with chants of “Sami!,” “Olé,” and “Roman sucks,” among other choice phrases.
Jey Uso, Roman Reigns’ loyal cousin, had a tough time deciding where his allegiance lay. Before he could make up his mind on who to swing his steel chair at, Zayn accidentally speared him, leading to his demise.
Sami Zayn’s Popularity
Zayn, who hails from Montreal, Canada, rose to fame as an honorary member of The Bloodline, Reigns’ wrestling family. As a result, his showdown with Reigns in his home country was one of the few matches in which Reigns’ undisputed WWE Universal Championship was genuinely in doubt.
The comparison between Zayn and Daniel Bryan’s rise to fame through the Yes Movement was apt, as Zayn drew comparisons to Bryan’s grassroots movement, which upset the applecart of WrestleMania 30. Fans were adamant about Bryan being included in the main event, leading to WWE giving in to their demands.
A decade later, at WrestleMania 39, the comparison between Zayn and Bryan still held. However, the situation was entirely different. With goodwill between WWE and its fanbase during the Triple H Era, there were no instances of fans hijacking WWE storylines.
Cody Rhodes, who won the Royal Rumble, was one of WWE’s biggest draws and had massive numbers on Raw while drawing record gate numbers on the road. Fans accepted Rhodes as a top star and even embraced him when he was put in the same ring as Zayn.
The Bloodline Storyline
It was Jey Uso, not Zayn, who drew the biggest quarter-hour rating. With The Bloodline storyline at its peak, Sami Zayn was a closer to a system quarterback. Zayn headlining WrestleMania would be similar to when Jared Goff started a Super Bowl.
Rhodes was positioned as the alpha challenger, giving an under-confident Zayn a fiery pep talk heading into the biggest match of his career. This wasn’t WWE fighting with its fans, but it was quite the opposite. WWE, Sami Zayn, and Cody Rhodes were working together with the fanbase to tell a story, similar to WrestleMania 30 with two Daniel Bryans.
There have been cries from fans for Sami Zayn to uproot WWE’s plans and headline WrestleMania. However, most of these outcries are media-driven, with many Zayn supporters linked to AEW, including Chris Jericho, Dax Harwood, and Dave Meltzer. Sami Zayn as a main eventer could lead to disruption within WWE’s booking and fanbase, making it a dream come true for AEW.
While the original plans called for Jey Uso to betray Zayn, leading to a tag team showdown pitting Zayn and Owens against The Usos at WrestleMania, the plans have since changed, according to reports by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. However, it’s important to note that the Observer has been exposed by hoaxers in the past.
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