Prior to Night of Champions, Sami Zayn had never wrestled in Saudi Arabia for WWE, while his friend Kevin Owens had attended only one event.
WWE signed a ten-year agreement with the Kingdom in 2018, and this was expanded a year later to include the sports entertainment giant holding two events there per year.
There had been a great deal of speculation about why Zayn never featured in the events largely centred around the political situation between Syria and Saudi Arabia. An important point as Zayn has never hidden his pride in his Syrian heritage. However, the man himself has now suggested that things weren’t quite that simple.
During an appearance on After The Bell, Zayn said that 99% of what was written about the situation was “completely fabricated.”
“It was a really, really, really kind of a heavy trip, to be honest. There was a lot that went into it. First of all, the fact that I haven’t been there in a few years, and that there’s been so much speculation as to why I’m not going and what’s the political reasoning, this and that. I won’t get into all of it, but I’ll tell you 99.9% of what you’ve read online about this subject, completely fabricated, people assuming things and then running with those assumptions and adding on to them. It’s wild. I think it’s anytime they can’t get a concrete answer, that’s kind of what tends to happen. I think that’s like human nature, almost.”
Zayn went on to break down his trip to the region and what it meant to him on a personal level.
“It’s been years since I’ve been back to the Middle East. I think the last time I was there was 20, maybe 16, in Dubai, possibly, so it’s been a little while. Of course, as you saw on the Premium Live Event, all this to say, I’m Arabic, I’m Muslim, all this stuff, and that’s like my part of the world. I understand those people. Those are my people.
When I went there, I got to go to Mecca, which was just a surreal experience. I also saw my uncles that I hadn’t seen in 25 years. I have cousins that I haven’t seen in 25 years. I met my great uncle that I didn’t even know existed. So it was pretty heavy in a lot of ways. It had a lot of weight.
Then the actual event itself and the reception from the audience, it’s kind of what I’ve been waiting for, for a while, in a way, because again, I always felt like I would have been the natural representative for those shows and I just wasn’t. So it was good to finally be put in that position and in a main event spot opposite Roman and Solo and the story that’s kind of been carrying the company for a minute now. So I don’t know, it felt like it all kind of just came together perfectly. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to go back. It was perfect.”
Sami Zayn And Kevin Owens Stand Tall
As for the action in the ring, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens pulled off an unlikely victory against Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa, retaining their Undisputed Tag Team Titles. The pair were incredibly popular in Saudi Arabia, something only bolstered by Zayn delivering the pre-match introductions in Arabic.
The end of the match came after Jimmy Uso turned on Roman Reigns, hitting him with two Superkicks. This enabled Zayn and Owens to take out Sikoa and grab the win.
H/t to WrestlingNews.Co