Sami Zayn's perplexing WWE quest

Sami Zayn won his third Intercontinental Championship on February 18 on WWE Friday Night SmackDown. Shinsuke Nakamura lost the title to him.

Sami Zayn during a segment on Smackdown Live [Image : Twitter @SamiZayn]
By Blesson Daniel | Feb 22, 2022 | 2 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Sami Zayn won his third Intercontinental Championship from Shinsuke Nakamura on WWE Friday Night SmackDown on February 18. The victory brings to a close a lengthy and odd journey that Zayn’s character has been on since losing the championship to Big E. Let’s take a look at Sami Zayn’s WWE storage quest.

Zayn started to change after losing the IC title to Big E in a lumberjack match on December 25, 2020. He reportedly grew skeptical of plots within WWE’s powers that be to deprive him of the championship. In the humorous plotline, Zayn hired a documentary film team to follow him through the corridors of WWE’s venues, hoping to catch any bizarre conspiracies in the works.

This brought in real-life closest buddy and longtime ring adversary Kevin Owens. Owens eliminated Zayn in the 2021 Elimination Chamber, which implicated Owens in “the conspiracy” in Zayn’s mind.

Their enmity was fueled by Owens‘ efforts to calm Zayn down and persuade him to abandon his irrational accusations. Logan Paul, an internet star, got engaged in the feud between the two. Zayn was initially optimistic that Paul would listen to his side of the story.

Instead of joining the conspiracy, Paul became an ally of Owens. Zayn and Owens triumphed in their match at WrestleMania 37 with Owens winning the match. On July 2’s Friday Night SmackDown, their animosity was finally put to rest in a Last Man Standing qualifying contest for Money in the Bank 2021.

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Sami Zayn has come full circle

As 2021 came to an end and 2022 started, Zayn remained a regular on SmackDown, mocking others with his grandiosely self-appointed role as the blue brand’s “elder statesman.”

When “Jackass Forever” actor Johnny Knoxville announced his plan to compete in the Royal Rumble, Zayn grew enraged once again. In revenge, Zayn disrupted the premiere of the film. On January 29, he defeated Knoxville in the Rumble.

Reclaiming the Intercontinental Championship completes Zayn’s journey. In the middle of more serious plotlines, like Roman Reigns’ Tribal Chief saga and rivalry with Brock Lesnar, Zayn weaves in and out of the action as a traveling fool figure who takes himself much too seriously to be taken seriously by others.

Whether he’s in a hesitant mic war with Lesnar or telling off the short-lived SmackDown group Hit Row, Zayn’s comedic abilities make his character self-obsessed, paranoid, and volatile, making his path a little weird.

The mix of SmackDown’s more raucously kid-friendly comic angles and Reigns’ largely great emotional angle as a megalomaniacal but secretly insecure champion is fairly balanced. Zayn is poised on the fulcrum of this equilibrium.

Zayn’s sense of the ludicrous is strong, and he will undoubtedly set the tone for a comic mid-card IC championship contest in which his character attempts to reclaim the title he believes he was cheated out of.

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