But could he be the face of the company? The Honorary Uce says this is something completely different.
We have one of the biggest WWE events of the year coming our way tomorrow (January 28th) Royal RumbleAnd that means they got some big names to do long-form interviews with their media partners.
Ariel Halawani of BT Sport spoke with fellow Canadian Sami Zayn. There’s a lot of fantasy booking going on with Zayn right now, as he’s at the center of WWE’s best storyline with The Bloodline. Everyone is expecting the show to feature in a major angle or two this weekend in San Antonio, as Roman Reigns defends his WWE and Universal titles against Sami’s longtime friend and often-rival Kevin Owens…and that whole 30-man battle royal With the WrestleMania main event spot on the line.
Helwani asked Zayn if he was worried about a fan outburst similar to the one in 2014 with Batista and Daniel Bryan if he didn’t win or even participate in tomorrow’s Rumble. It’s a debate that gets brought up a lot online, but Sami is in the camp that thinks the climate is so different now – and that other potential winners have solid reasons for winning rather than just being big names – a backlash is unlikely.
“I think there are a lot of casual fans who are just kind of along for the ride. I don’t think the fans are kind of where they were five or six years ago, where they’re revolting. Like, ‘No, Daniel Bryan is the guy!’ Are you trying to give us Batista? No, we will force you! I don’t feel that level of borderline disdain from the audience for the creative direction. I think because the story was so interesting, there’s a little bit of confidence that it will go where it goes and it will still be okay.
“I’m sure there are a lot of people who are pulling me down. That’s fine. It’s good to be that guy. But I don’t think he’s in a place where Daniel Bryan was, like I think in 2014, where he’s like everyone else but it would be disastrous, and in The reality was, so they had to fix it. They had to play clean up.
So I don’t think it’s necessarily the same. Is there potential for the same — whether it’s Cody, or whoever, if it’s done right, you can do almost anything. It has to be done well, it has to be done right. If not Done right, can there be some kind of backlash to, man, the story made so much sense. He was the guy the fans loved. It was all there, but they just went that way.
“If they don’t do it right, there’s the potential for disdain for that person — whether it’s Cody, or anyone. It could be anyone. If it’s not done right, it could kind of hurt that person.”
He swears he doesn’t know what the plan is, but he trusts the people who put it together. He thinks maybe it should be part of it:
“But you know, we work with a lot of people who know how to do things right. So if I’m not the guy, and I’m honestly in this exact conversation, the day before the Royal Rumble, I have no idea what the plan is. I don’t know – It just doesn’t feel that way.
“I try to listen to the masses. I try not to push too much equity into this kind of thing online, but I’m sure there’s a good percentage like, again, if you don’t follow anything other than the story, this is a break I’m going to be in that conversation. What Actually happening is, again, not my control.”
If he was going to get a title shot, via Rumble win or some other way, does he think he’d be WWE Champion or Universal Champion? Sure, but Zayn identified the difference between being a hero for a while and being, as Ariel puts it, “the face of the company”:
“I can win a world title. I can hold it for a while. I can do talk shows. I can do all that stuff. I don’t know if I’m the guy you can necessarily hitch your wagon to for the next 5-10 years and be the face of the company. If not One more thing, I’m pretty realistic about my body [gestures at his body] …I’m not as big as Roman [Reigns] or [John] Cena or Brooke [Lesnar]and this is usually the guy who’s on the scene because they want a show.
“I think in the long run, can I win a world title? I think especially because of the way the story is done. Like I said a little while ago, if I do anything right, the fans will buy it, they will get into it. So I think at this point, the way you Things are built with it – and I’m not saying that’s what’s going to happen – if Roman and I were at WrestleMania and I beat Roman, and we did it right, the way we’ve been doing it right for the last nine months, nobody’s going to “fake it.” I am outside. I can’t stand it,” because we did it right.
“I think I could be a guy who could hold that title for six months, go to Jimmy Fallon, crack a few jokes, and make him do that fake laugh he does — all that good stuff. Sure, I can do that. Sure. Maybe I can do that while Sleep to be honest.
“It’s just, I understand the company’s perception of what they see as the face of the company. Not being the hero. The hero and the face are almost two different things. I feel like I could be the hero, no problem. As far as the guy they like, number one, he’s our guy. He’s our poster boy, It’s the ultimate representation of our company. I know physically, it doesn’t fit that mold. So I don’t know if this is me, like, being self-deprecating or what it is, but I’m a realist when it comes to it.”
They also covered some of the history of how we got to where Sami is one of the most exciting acts in wrestling. They’ve covered a lot of ground before, but I haven’t heard Zayn talk about the confidence he felt he had to earn to make the story come true:
“I mean, if I’m being brutally honest here, maybe [Paul] Heyman is the one I felt I had to convince because I think he’s old school. Roman was his man, Brock was his man, and he’s knowledgeable at the top of the card. For him to be able to get me to be a part of the representation is at the top of the card — I don’t want him to be one of those guys who grabs Roman and says, ‘Look, you can’t work with him. He did those things with Knoxville, or whatever.
“I know Roman knows I’m pretty good. That’s why he said what he said in that interview with you. I know the Usos think I’m pretty good, and I think all these guys are great. There’s like mutual respect. We’re peers. With Heyman, it’s like, you know That he’s more strategic about things, things that I’m not going to think about. Or he looks at work in different ways, in ways that I don’t sometimes. You know what I mean? So, if there’s anyone out there who I thought wouldn’t be on board that ought to be convinced, I thought. It might be Heyman.”
Like the Bray Wyatt interview we blogged about earlier, Helwani’s full conversation with Sami is well worth a listen. to do that here.