Kevin Owens On Why He’s Trying To Distance His Career From Sami Zayn’s

Kevin Owens Sami Zayn

The history between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens is well-documented. The two have been friends for decades, and their public friendship has been put to the test numerous times as they’ve become on-screen rivals in various promotions.

After years in promotions such as ROH and PWG, Kevin Owens finally signed with WWE in 2014. That December, he made his NXT debut at NXT TakeOver: R Evolution, defeating CJ Parker in the show’s opening bout. Sami Zayn defeated Adrian Neville for the NXT Championship in the main event, but just when it looked like Kevin Owens was about to join him for a championship celebration, his friend proved to be an enemy when he turned on Zayn, delivering a pop-up powerbomb on the apron.

In the following years, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn would go on to feud a number of times on WWE television, but they’ve usually managed to come back together as friends no matter how bitter the rivalry. As such, Sami Zayn’s teammates in The Bloodline were suspicious of whether or not Sami would turn on their team inside WarGames at WWE Survivor Series when Kevin Owens was revealed to be teaming with Drew McIntyre and the Brawling Brutes.

Sami Zayn Proved His Loyalty To The Bloodline Over Kevin Owens At WWE Survivor Series

The Bloodline’s suspicion was fueled when Kevin Owens approached Sami Zayn on WWE SmackDown, advising that he turn on his stablemates before they turn on him. However, Sami Zayn proved his loyalty inside WarGames when he not only stopped the referee from counting when Owens had Roman Reigns pinned, but he also hit his longtime friend with a low blow, allowing Jey Uso to pick up the pinfall victory for their team following a splash.

Speaking on WWE After the Bell, Kevin Owens talked about the situation and revealed why he doesn’t blame Zayn for his actions.

“Yeah, you know, he really didn’t even betray me, he just helped his team win. And he chose to do it in a pretty messed up way, right. But again, it’s like I said on Monday, I really can’t blame him for everything I’ve done to him over the 20 years, and I’m talking before WWE as well, you know. So I guess the sentiment I really had is just our careers really have been linked forever.”

Continuing, Kevin Owens expanded on the idea that his career has always been intertwined with that of Sami Zayn.

“And in WWE, even if you just look at the last eight years, from the moment I started NXT to now, even when we’re not on the same show, our careers are somehow parallel, people still lump us together. And I mean, even if you just look at what we’ve done since I got to WWE, how many matches we’ve had, how many pay-per-views we’ve been in the same match. Whether it was one on one or you know, four ways or ladder matches or whatever.

“We’ve done three WrestleManias together, we did one, the first one was in a multi man ladder match, we’re in the same match. Second one, we were in a tag team match against Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan, and we had a singles match at WrestleMania. Like just that’s three of them, it is insane.”

Kevin Owens then turned his attention to the idea that it’s time for him and Sami Zayn to go their separate ways after their most recent chapter together. Owens has high praise for his friend-turned-rival, and says that they tried to separate from one another many times, but their stories always ended up converging.

“So at this point on Monday, what I said really came from the heart like it’s just, it’s done. I think we’ve just done this for a long time. We’ve really helped each other throughout our careers a lot, but we’ve probably held each other back as well, just because of this constant, the constant pairing in people’s minds even when we’re not together. We just, you know, like I know for a fact I’ll tell you this back in 2017, he and I were so in people’s minds, so just that if he got heat backstage for something I get the heat too, even if I had nothing to do with it.

“We got kicked off a Europe tour once together for something that I will, I’m gonna have to, I don’t think, I don’t think either of us had anything to really be blamed for, but I was barely involved in it. Like, it’s just, it’s just no, get those guys out of here. It wasn’t just to get one of them, both of them because literally everything in that aspect what I said Monday stands, you know, I think he’s just time to be done and he’s thriving. He’s thriving, I meant what I said that on Monday too, people are seeing the Sami Zayn that I’ve known was there for 20 years.

“And I don’t know why it took so long for people to really take notice and really give him the credit he deserves. Because he’s been incredible in WWE the whole time he’s been here. But the last few months, I’ve obviously opened a lot of people’s eyes to him, and it’s great.

“But I just don’t think it’s optimal for our careers to be parallel anymore. Man, I kind of think we’ve, we’ve both tried to separate ourselves for a long time. And it just never, never worked out. Somehow we’d always end up finding our ways back to each other, like even. This is 2016 we’re talking about, we had a match at Battleground, and everyone, the commentators were talking about it.

“Everyone backstage was talking about it. Vince McMahon at the time was saying this is it, this your last one. We’re gonna do with this one at Battleground, this is [it]. How many matches have we had since then? You know what I mean?”

If you use any quotes from this transcription, please credit WWE After the Bell and link back to this article with a h/t to Inside the Ropes.