Road Dogg once pitched that Sami Zayn use a former identity in a WWE ring, but Vince McMahon shot the idea down!
Long before he was trying to weasel his way into the Bloodline on SmackDown, Sami Zayn lived a former life as a generic luchador from Tijuana named El Generico. Making his name on the independent scene in such promotions as ROH and PWG, El Generico was heavily linked to his tag team partner-turned-rival Kevin Steen, who would go on to become Kevin Owens in WWE.
Speaking on the latest episode of his Oh… You Didn’t Know? podcast, WWE executive Road Dogg revealed that during his previous tenure in WWE, he pitched an idea for Zayn to wrestle as both
“I tried to, when I was writing for SmackDown, get him to wrestle on SmackDown and have El Generico wrestle on Monday Night Raw, and Vince wouldn’t go for it. We wanted to try to do that and have people go like, ‘That’s you dude,’ and he’s like, ‘No, I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ We thought it would be funny. It was Ezekiel before Ezekiel [debuted].“
While Zayn never got the chance to wrestle as El Generico on WWE TV, he did disguise himself as a very similar character during a 2013 story arc with Bo Dallas. Because Dallas had issued an open challenge for anyone except Zayn to face him, the crafty Canadian native donned a luchador mask and came to the ring as El Local, who’d previously been portrayed by Ricardo Rodriguez.
After a quick defeat of Bo Dallas following the familiar Helluva Kick, the local luchador removed his mask to reveal that he had been Sami Zayn all along.