Since his interference in Shane McMahon’s near disastrous dive from Hell in a Cell in aid of his on-again-off-again best friend Kevin Owens it appears as though Sami Zayn is set on the road to WWE villainy. But is it the right move?
When Sami Zayn first appeared on WWE screens in NXT his insatiable smile and sing-along theme song made him almost instantly likeable. Add this to the fact that his in-ring skills are exceptional and you have what some might consider to be the perfect all-round good guy. Like Daniel Bryan and Rey Mysterio before him his thinner, toned down physique (especially compared to some of the more muscle-bound members of the roster) added the ideal underdog element, as if people needed more of a reason to relate to the Canadian. There was however always going to be a time when, just like many of the other major stars who have paved their way as superheroes, he was going to turn to the dark side. This appears to be the case with his actions at Hell in a Cell and has arguably been cemented thanks to a well-timed low blow this past week on Smackdown Live, helping himself and cohort Kevin Ownens to pick up the victory. One of the questions we must ask at times like these is why WWE creative has chosen to make this decision, considering his mass appeal up until this point. We must also as whether it is the right decision. I would argue that making Sami Zayn a villain comes with some dangerous potential fall backs. If he is to work as a heel he will have to be portrayed as a more underhanded, devious player as opposed to a brutal evil “enforcer.” This is the obvious choice as, akin to what I have discussed above, he simply lacks the physical intimidation to act as the latter. Team him with Kevin Owens, however, and there is no reason the pair of them couldn’t play the former to tag team perfection. I don’t call it the right decision as I feel, if handled correctly, he has much more to offer and to gain in terms of fan appreciation and brand-popularity boost as a face.
In terms of the “Why” of the matter I have a funny feeling WWE creative is bringing the two together only for a short time with the eventual intention for their relationship to implode dramatically once again, leading to a showdown at Wrestlemania 34. If you think this sounds familiar you only need to take a look at the “Jeri-KO” angle from last year. If this is the plan, WWE will be looking to match the popularity and success of that clash of styles, along with offering us a hit of NXT nostalgia for the show of shows.
I’m looking forward to seeing where Zayn’s new character turns take him and how he handles getting booed rather than cheered on a regular basis. I am however hoping this is short lived and that he will eventually land in the midst of a world title shot as a hero. Let’s face it, he deserves it. And it’d be good for business.