SmackDown’s Sami Zayn detailed why his WrestleMania 38 match was a highlight of his career.
Prior to WrestleMania 38, Sami Zayn and Jackass Forever star Johnny Knoxville found themselves at odds on a number of occasions. Knoxville even qualified for the 2022 Royal Rumble by throwing an unsuspecting Zayn over the top rope in early January, and Zayn retaliated by eliminating Knoxville when the Royal Rumble came to pass. However, after celebrating this triumph a bit too long, the former Intercontinental Champion was also eliminated.
A determined Sami Zayn headed to the premiere of Jackass Forever thrown out to confront his nemesis, which led to him being by Knoxville and his Jackass co-stars.
The two culminated their feud in a frenzied match at WrestleMania 38, which featured a bowling ball, an appearance from Party Boy, the legendary Jackass hand, and Wee Man delivering a bodyslam to Sami Zayn. In the end, Zayn was caught in a giant mousetrap and pinned, and the Jackass crew stood in the ring to celebrate Knoxville’s victory.
Zayn has made no secret of the fact that the bout is one of his favorites, and he elaborated on this during an interview with Corey Graves on WWE After the Bell, saying that the feud wouldn’t have worked with anyone else.
“That’s another thing that that I take a lot of pride in. Now looking back on all of it and talking about circumstance, the build up to that match is also not a build up, you couldn’t have done it with anyone else. I can’t build my Hell in a Cell match with Seth Rollins, for example, by flying his phone number over Los Angeles. That’s not how you do, you know, that’s just not how you build program.
We got to go so far out of the box, and I got bit by… I got kind of addicted to it. I was like, oh, man, here’s all these things we can do next. And there’s just so much awesome stuff that we could do that I think is like him giving out my phone number and me taking all those calls, and I think that’s going to be very, very memorable.”
Sami Zayn continued, saying that being thrown out of the Jackass Forever premiere felt like his “Andy Kaufman moment,” alluding to a time when actor Andy Kaufman was slapped by Jerry Lawler on David Letterman’s show.
“It’s exciting that there was so much other stuff that was on the table to do that for one reason or another we didn’t get to do but it just one of the big things was the red carpet premiere at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood going to the movie premiere. And that was such an awesome moment for me very, I’ve never done anything like that before. But it was it was like an it was my Andy Kaufman moment a little bit, you know, with Dave Letterman. And the thing that I find funny is in this case, I was Andy Kaufman and the wrestler, which is funny.”
In terms of the creativity that went into their feud, Sami Zayn says this was somewhat of a “light bulb moment,” and made him think about how to tailor a feud to this specific celebrity.
“But it just got me so addicted or not almost going back to what you asked me about when was the light bulb moment of, you know, transitioning from good match guy to storytelling guy or whatever it is. This was a bit of a light bulb moment for like, oh, man, there’s so many creative ways I want to do things. And I hope I can do them, it’s kind of hard sometimes here with the nature of how we do things.
“But it just got me so excited about the out of the box ways to build a story or tell a story and things to do and ways to build your character all that fun stuff. And I couldn’t have done it with anyone else except Johnny Knoxville, because he’s not a he’s not a) conventional wrestler. B) he’s not even a conventional celebrity.
“Like if I was wrestling Leonardo DiCaprio, we wouldn’t be doing this stuff. It’s because that’s what Johnny Knoxville does. He does gags and goofs, and he gets it this way and that way, whatever. So it could only have worked with him. So that was another thing that a big takeaway for me is the creative way we can go about telling stories and getting character stuff over and doing things that we don’t always do. But it remains to be seen how much of that I get to do going forward.”
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