WWE has traditionally been known for its reluctance to reference rival wrestling companies on its programming. However, on this week’s edition of Monday Night Raw, Sami Zayn raised more than a few eyebrows by directly name-dropping All Elite Wrestling toward the end of announcer Corey Graves’ new question-and-answer segment.
As recapped by Figure Four Weekly, Graves’ “Electric Chair” segment featured Zayn as his very first guest, as fans asked Sami several questions about his in-ring career and his colleagues. These included questions about when he plans to retire, how he feels when he gets attacked by Braun Strowman, why he hasn’t won the Universal Championship yet, and what he thinks about Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch.
Unsatisfied with the questions he was receiving, Zayn then called out the audience and proceeded to shock them by mentioning AEW just two days after the company’s successful Double or Nothing event.
“I much rather hold all of you accountable for your crap. Quite frankly. You could ask me anything,” Zayn said, as quoted by Cageside Seats.
“You could have asked me about AEW.”
On Saturday, AEW held its first-ever event, Double or Nothing, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. As noted by Bleacher Report, the pay-per-view featured several former WWE superstars, including Cody and Dustin Rhodes (aka Goldust), Chris Jericho, and Jon Moxley (fka Dean Ambrose), as well as independent standouts like Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks.
Although Sami Zayn’s name-dropping of AEW was not unprecedented, given how WWE has recently become a bit more willing to reference the competition when talking about newly signed wrestlers from rival promotions, Bleacher Report opined that it was a “notable” moment nonetheless. The outlet wrote that this represented a “formal acknowledgment” of a relatively new company that is riding on an incredible wave of momentum following its debut show.
“AEW clearly has a long way to go to seriously challenge WWE’s place in the wrestling hierarchy, but receiving a shout-out on Raw is a sign the company is catching the attention of those in WWE offices,” wrote Bleacher Report‘s Joseph Zucker.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, a number of WWE superstars openly commented about AEW and Double or Nothing on social media on the day of the show, with the likes of Xavier Woods, Big E, and Matt Hardy wishing the promotion good luck in their Twitter posts. Interestingly, Zayn himself dropped a few supportive comments while tweeting as El Generico — the gimmick he used during his days in the indy wrestling scene.