Sami Zayn’s rise to the top of WWE’s card has taken many people by surprise. What started off as some comedy sketches has evolved into arguably the most intriguing storyline on both RAW and SmackDown.
Zayn has become so beloved and entertaining that he’s now considered a favorite to win the Men’s Royal Rumble match, even though he hasn’t even been announced as an official participant.
Longtime fans might notice similarities between Zayn’s current position and the events that took place in 2014 and 2015 when fans reacted to the “planned” Rumble winners with negativity and hostility.
Zayn himself has also noticed these similarities, which is why he discussed the matter with Ariel Helwani ahead of tonight’s Rumble event.
Sami Zayn addresses possibility of fan backlash ahead of tonight’s Royal Rumble match
Sami Zayn confirmed that he’s aware of how some fans might react negatively if he doesn’t win the Rumble match.
At the same time, he’s confident that there won’t be the same level of backlash as in 2014 or 2015 because the audience isn’t as combative and willing to hijack the show as the fans attending those earlier shows.
“Maybe me and you [Helwani] are looking at a certain point a certain way, because we’re kind of like diehards, you know, but I think there’s a lot of casual fans are just kind of along for the ride.
And I don’t think the fans are kind of where they were five, six years ago, where they kind of would like revolt. And were like, ‘no, Daniel Bryan’s the guy, you’re trying to give us Batista. No! We’ll force you!’
Well, I don’t feel that level of borderline contempt from the audience towards the creative direction. I think because the story has been so interesting, there’s a little bit of trust, and that it’ll go where it goes, and it will still be fine.
I’m sure there are a lot of people who are pulling for me, that’s great, it’s nice to be that guy. But I don’t think it’s at a place where Daniel Bryan was in 2014, where it’s like anybody but him is going to be a disaster. And actually it was, so they had to fix it. They had to play cleanup.”
Sami Zayn went on to say that, as of Friday January 27th, the date on which this interview took place, he had no idea who the planned winner of the Men’s Royal Rumble match was.
“Whether it’s Cody, whether it’s anybody, it could be anybody. If it’s not done right, it could kind of hurt that person.
But you know, we work with a lot of people who know how to do things right. So if I’m not the guy, and I genuinely as of this exact conversation, one day before the Royal Rumble, I have no idea what the plan is, I’m nothing. I don’t know, I don’t know if it just doesn’t feel that way.
And now like, I don’t know, I try to listen to the fans. I try not to pay too much stock in the online kind of thing.
But I’m sure there’s a good percentage like, again, if you follow nothing else, but the storyline. The storyline, it’s a layup that I would be in that conversation. What actually ends up happening is again, it’s not my control.”
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