Sami Zayn, who has spent most of his pro wrestling career as a babyface, recently turned heel for the first time in his WWE tenure. Due to the inability to receive consistent success as a face, Zayn turned heel and aligned himself with Owens. He explained that this alliance was due to Shane McMahon being selfish while competing against Owens during the Hell in a Cell match. This is also why he pulled Owens from the table.
Zayn was recently interviewed by Edge and Christian on the E&C Pod of Awesomeness podcast. He explained that Vince McMahon’s idea of how he should act as a heel was much different than his, but he feels that McMahon was right with his idea, due to Zayn successfully drawing heat as a smiling obnoxious villain. Zayn also stated that, for a great portion of his pro wrestling tenure, he wanted to spend his entire career being a babyface like WWE Hall of Famer Ricky Steamboat. He also admitted to Edge and Christian that he is not comfortable with his in-ring ability as a heel, since he worked as a babyface for so long.
As El Generico, in promotions such as Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Zayn spent a great deal of his time playing the underdog character, being one of the biggest fan favorites in both companies. In both ROH and PWG, he was aligned with Kevin Owens (Steen), but it turned into a bitter rivalry which allowed the fans to rally around Zayn even more. This storyline transferred over to WWE, as Owens turned on Zayn and feuded with him for the NXT Championship. Despite this, Zayn is now aligned with Owens, and has also teamed with him as of late.
During his time in NXT, Zayn feuded with names such as Bo Dallas, Cesaro, Corey Graves, Tyson Kidd, and Neville. After a non-dominant win-loss record in NXT, Zayn would eventually become NXT Champion after defeating Neville at NXT TakeOver: REvolution. Zayn would not hold the championship for long, as he lost to Owens at the NXT TakeOver: Rival event just two months later. While eventually ascending to the main roster, Zayn would still not have a very boastful win-loss record, being in feuds with names such as Chris Jericho, The Miz, and Braun Strowman. Although Zayn was lobbying to be switched from Raw to SmackDown Live, and his wish was eventually granted, Zayn was soon found being in a lowcard feud with Mike Kanellis. This inconsistency as a babyface has caused Zayn’s ceasing of performing in matches “for the fans.”
It will be interesting to see how Zayn’s heel turn develops, but it did not take him long to embrace it, as he is receiving heat from the crowd for his obnoxious behavior.
[Featured Image by WWE]