WWE News: Former Champion Returns On ‘Friday Night SmackDown’

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Sami Zayn made his long-awaited return to Friday Night SmackDown on tonight’s episode, per SEScoops.

The former Intercontinental Champion interrupted Jeff Hardy’s post-match title celebrations and attacked the superstar. The current champion defended the gold against Zayn’s ally Shinsuke Nakamura, but the Canadian performer wasn’t there to support his old teammate.

The breakup of his group, which also includes Cesaro, was also teased on the episode. Zayn interrupted his partners while they were having a conversation, but they asked him to leave them alone.

Zayn also carried an old version of the title when he walked out to greet Hardy. He still considers himself the true champion and he made his thoughts known shortly afterward.

In a follow-up interview, Zayn vented his frustrations with both Hardy and former titleholder AJ Styles. The latter won the gold in a tournament for the prize after Zayn was forced to vacate it back in May.

Daily DDT has reported that the three performers might face each other in a Triple Threat match. They all have valid reasons to believe they’re entitled to the gold. Styles lost the prize last week, but he stated his opponent cheated to win.

The teased match might happen at this weekend’s Payback pay-per-view. The card still hasn’t been filled yet, presumably because the event is arriving one week after the company’s last big show.

As The Inquisitr previously reported, Zayn took time off due to COVID-19 concerns. He had to relinquish the belt as he wasn’t able to defend it within 30 days.

This proved to be a polarizing decision, given that Brock Lesnar has been gone for longer during his title runs. There were also reports of him having backstage heat for withdrawing from the company when he did.

Zayn’s future booking will likely provide a clearer picture of his current standing with officials. However, the fact that he’s been thrust back into a prominent program upon his return suggests there’s no heat on him behind the scenes.

Roman Reigns took a leave of absence for similar reasons and made his long-awaited comeback last week. “The Big Dog” immediately found himself back in the Universal Championship picture and he’ll challenge Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman for it at Payback.

The Inquisitr previously reported there were rumors of officials potentially taking action against Zayn and letting Reigns off the hook. This is because Reigns is considered a main event star and is regarded as more valuable because of it.