At Roadblock, Sami Zayn faced, and survived, Braun Strowman in a 10 minute match.
After weeks of pushing General Manager Mick Foley to give him a shot at the man mountain, Zayn got what he wanted. While neither man officially ‘won’ the match, this was a moral victory of sorts for the former NXT standout.
The program that has been built between the on-screen boss in Foley, and his lack of belief in the underdog Zayn, has brought out the latter’s best character work on the main roster thus far, finally painting him as a fighter willing to risk it all to prove the doubters wrong. And nobody does that better than Zayn; his ability to tell a story both in and out of the ring is among the best.
But an underdog story can only go for so long, and striking the iron while its hot (a la Daniel Bryan in 2013-14) is the best way to take the performer to new heights.
Wrestlemania 33 is a few months away now, and there are plenty of marquee matchups set to take place with part-time stars such as Goldberg, Triple H and The Undertaker squaring off against many a big name. If WWE truly believe in Sami Zayn as a performer, and see value past another mid-card guy, the story they are telling on Raw at the moment must culminate at this event.
Against who isn’t even the main factor, but a victory on the grandest stage will send Zayn to new heights. He could battle Roman Reigns for the US Title or finally overcome the beast that is Braun Strowman. He could even challenge his longtime rival Kevin Owens for the Universal Title. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and watching Sami Zayn in the ring is pure beauty no matter who he faces.
The road to Wrestlemania is almost upon us, and Sami Zayn’s underdog story is heating up. Giving him the chance to prove the doubters wrong, in particular Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon, is a licence to print money.
This is an opportunity WWE would be very silly to miss.