Sami Zayn is currently one of the most popular stars in WWE and is involved in arguably the most compelling story in wrestling in 2023.
Despite this, the star will not be featured in the main event of WrestleMania 39. After being reluctantly accepted into The Bloodline, Sami Zayn broke free of the group at the Royal Rumble which set him on a collision course with Roman Reigns. While it has been confirmed that the pair will meet at Elimination Chamber in Zayn’s hometown of Montreal, Canada, some had hoped Zayn would be the man to defeat Reigns at WrestleMania.
However, WWE is moving full speed ahead with its plan to have Royal Rumble winner Cody Rhodes take on the Tribal Chief at the spectacular.
“They Didn’t See Sami Zayn As A WrestleMania Main Eventer” – Dave Meltzer
Writing in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer noted that no matter how popular Zayn got he was never going to ace Reigns at WrestleMania. Meltzer adds that neither Vince McMahon nor Triple H sees Zayn as a main event-caliber star.
“Once it caught on big, they did plan for Reigns vs. Zayn, as far back as November or earlier, to be the title match for Montreal, feeling it’s the show between Rumble and Mania and when booked for Montreal, Zayn being in the main event would be huge locally and would come across great on the screen. But at no point until very recently did they think it would be as big as it was.
When it got big, it was made clear that to Paul Levesque as well as Vince McMahon, they weren’t going to change plans because in the end, they didn’t see Zayn as a WrestleMania main eventer. Even Zayn noted in his interview with Ariel Helwani that while he could be in that spot, and even win in that spot (which wasn’t happening at the time, although there are a million ways to change anything if they want to), that he was not the person WWE would make the cornerstone person of the company.”
There had been fears from some that fans could turn on Cody Rhodes due to their love of Sami Zayn, in a similar way to how fans threw their support behind Daniel Bryan in 2014. However, crowds remain firmly behind Rhodes as evidenced by the reaction to his segment on Raw opposite Paul Heyman. On social media, figures from both inside and outside of the industry hailed the segment as one of the most effective in recent years.
During an emotional promo battle, Rhodes brought Heyman talking about the kindness he showed to his late father.