Sami Zayn is one of the top superstars on WWE Smackdown these days as a heel character that had a nice run as the Intercontinental Champion. These days, he is claiming there are conspiracies against him while a documentary crew follows him everywhere he goes. Zayn will be in the Smackdown Elimination Chamber match this Sunday along with Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, Kevin Owens, King Corbin and Jey Uso. The winner of that match will get a Universal Title match against Roman Reigns at Elimination Chamber as well.
Zayn was interviewed by Fox Sports yesterday where he talked about his career. The interview ran for 30 minutes with the full video at the bottom of this post. Here are some interview highlights.
Zayn spoke about how much he is enjoying his current heel run:
“I think I am doing some of the best stuff I’ve ever done. Definitely in terms of mic work and stuff like that. I feel like this is definitely me at my best right now. In that time, where I was off because of the beginning of the pandemic and not really having any certainty of what was coming next, I was off for a couple of months and to be honest with you – and I’ve said this in other interviews – when I’m away from wrestling, I’m pretty away from wrestling, you know? I tend to compartmentalize it. When I’m in it, I’m in it 100% and when I’m out, I don’t want to say I’m out 100%, but pretty close, you know? Of course, the bug bites me a little bit, every now and again, and I get flowing with some creative ideas and, ‘Oh, man. I can’t wait to do this and do that.’ But, for the most part, I didn’t necessarily think of what I would do differently when I came back.”
“I kind of had an idea because of the way things left off, how I would return and what kind of story I’d be plugged into, but, from there, things have just kind of spiraled organically into this, I’d say, evolution … but it’s almost like a de-evolution. I’m just coming undone. I’m looking shaggy and frantic and narcissistic, a conspiracy theorist who is deranged that thinks everyone is out to get him. It kind of happened organically over this time, ever since I’ve been back, but I’ve really been enjoying it.”
Zayn also talked about his current look with the big hair and shaggy beard while noting that it fits what his character is trying to be:
“It offends people to be this unkempt. It offends people. But, no, it’s actually more just cause I think I’m going bald and I’ve never had long hair. And I said, ‘Well, if you’re ever going to do it, now’s the time. I’m getting older. I’m starting to see it thin out a little bit.’ I said, “I’ve never had it, I’m starting to see it thin out a little bit. I’ve never had it, let’s go for it. Then, because of the nature of my character, it just looked better to keep it looking crazy versus putting product in it. If I was a good guy, I don’t think it would work as well.”
“I had an inspiration early on from, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the movie, Kingpin. Bill Murray’s character in Kingpin and the big game when his hair starts going little by little. That was a bit of an inspiration for me. I wanted to have that look. Or Bret Hart from a more practical point of view, where he’d come out looking one way, but then as the match progressed he looked a different way. And it kind of gave off the effect that this person’s going through hell and they’re in a war. They come out and their hair’s looking one way, but by the end, it’s just everywhere, you know? So, I kind of like that aspect of it.”
“If it helps get under people’s skin in any way or helps me be any more unlikable, then I like it. And I do think especially now, because of the conspiracy theorist sort of skew on the character, it kinda goes hand in hand with that. It looks like someone who’s been holed up in his basement a little while, going down a YouTube rabbit hole and now he’s paranoid. Too much coffee. God knows what. That’s kind of the aesthetic I’m going for a little bit.”
During the interview, Zayn also revealed the storyline documentary he is doing is actually going to be a documentary:
“When the documentary does eventually come out, I’d almost want it to have an over-the-top, sort of exaggerated feel akin to what those Michael Moore documentaries kind of had, you know? Just a little more unhinged. I don’t know about full length. Like, it’s not going to be an hour and forty minutes, but it’s definitely in the works. That’s for real, yeah.”
Zayn was asked if he was happy about his run as the Intercontinental Champion last year:
“Oh, yeah, thrilled. I think that’s—I really think it’s some of the best work I’ve ever done. Certainly from a character perspective, and definitely as a bad guy, a heel. Cause I was a good guy forever and then all of a sudden to be doing this. I was really, really proud of the work I did from, really, maybe August of 2019 when I first started aligning with Shinsuke and I first started calling myself ‘The Great Liberator’ and all that stuff.”
“Even though I wasn’t in the ring a bunch, a lot of the stuff we were doing on live events, I felt like I was getting crazy reactions. People just wanted to rip my head off. And the best thing is, we were doing something you don’t do a lot, in WWE especially, because usually, it’s, ‘Okay, this person gets you angry. Just wait a few minutes and he’ll get his.’ I just never got mine. I would skate away on every show and it was incredible. People just expected me to get beat up at the end of the match, and I wouldn’t, and Shinsuke would win and we would leave victorious. It was so amazing. The heat we got was just so awesome.”
“Then it was good enough where even though I wasn’t in a wrestling role, the Intercontinental Championship lands in my lap, which is a little bit of a dream come true because it’s well documented that’s sort of the workhorse championship and it’s kinda the one that a lot of guys like me want to win. So, that was very nice to win and then to have that match with Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania, all that stuff was great.”
Lastly, regarding Sunday’s Elimination Chamber match, Zayn commented on the match:
“I really, really enjoy being in those big, Money in the Bank type matches or these big multi-man ladder matches. Any of these kinds of matches with this aesthetic. If you go back and watch my WWE work, or even older than that, those matches that I’m in with a bunch of guys and cool variables like that, they’re always great. I really get excited to put them together and it’s going to be good. I’m very excited about that because I know it’s going to be really, really good. Because everybody in the match is really good, too. So, that doesn’t hurt.”
“Yeah. And I don’t think you’ve had that kind of athletic work rate type of collection of wrestlers all in one Elimination Chamber match. I feel like over the years, you’ll see like Cena and Orton and Kane and Big Show. All these huge guys. Triple H. These guys who are obviously great at what they do, but not the, I don’t know what you want to call them, more agile sort of smaller guys who are known for their work rate or these types of exciting matches. I don’t think they’ve all occupied one Elimination Chamber match like this before. I could be wrong.”
“I’d have to go through the history of Elimination Chamber matches, but the lineup feels very, very different. It has a very different feel from any other Elimination Chamber match I’ve ever heard about.”
Read the text of the interview on Fox Sports right here if you want more of Zayn’s comments about his career.
You can watch the full interview below.