Mick Foley was one of the unlikeliest World Champions of the Attitude Era. While Vince McMahon preferred his champions to have statuesque bodies and good looks, Foley was overweight, rarely shaven, and even had a missing ear.
However, as Mankind, he had won over the fans and on the December 29th, 1998 edition of Raw also won gold when Steve Austin assisted him in defeating The Rock to become the WWE Champion for the first of three reigns.
Fast forward to today and there is another unconventional star heading into a World Title match as Sami Zayn is set to take on Roman Reigns at Elimination Chamber with the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship on the line.
The storyline that got him to this point saw Zayn winning over The Tribal Chief and becoming a key part of The Bloodline faction, capturing the hearts of fans everywhere when he was finally accepted by Jey Uso after he helped the faction win WarGames at Survivor Series 2022.
However, Reigns became paranoid about Zayn and arranged a test of his loyalty at the Royal Rumble. After The Head of the Table had defeated Zayn’s old friend Kevin Owens at the event, The Bloodline assaulted KO and Reigns demanded Sami finish the brutal beatdown with a steel chair.
Instead, Zayn refused and attacked Reigns with the chair before receiving a beating himself. The following week on SmackDown, he demanded a title shot before being assaulted again. Reigns accepted the request, setting the pair on a collision course.
Mick Foley thinks WWE needs to be “careful” in their booking of Sami Zayn
Despite the upcoming title match, it’s widely expected that Reigns will still be champion come WrestleMania 39, where he will face the winner of the Royal Rumble, Cody Rhodes.
Speaking on his Foley Is Pod podcast, the Hall of Famer has warned WWE they need to be careful with how they handle Zayn, especially if his title match is a one-off.
“Storytelling has been so strong. WWE has to be really careful with, you know, how they treat what they have in Sami Zayn. So, if it’s a one-off, I think fans would be upset and subconsciously take that out of Cody.
“So, I think it’s really important that Sami be treated reverently by the people in charge because that’s, we call him the gift that keeps on giving. We want him to keep on giving. You don’t want this title shot to be like, the peak of his storyline and then soon forgotten.”
H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the above transcription