Source: Talk Is Jericho
On episode 242 of Talk Is Jericho, 'The Ayatollah Of Rock 'n' Rolla' Chris Jericho interviewed former NXT Champion Sami Zayn. During the podcast, Zayn claimed that he does not know whether his WWE Monday Night RAW match against John Cena last May was meant to be his official call up to WWE's main roster. Zayn mentioned that he still suffers pain in his surgically repaired shoulder and also talked about his NXT TakeOver: Dallas match against Shinsuke Nakamura.
"I still don't know, to this day, if that was meant to be a debut. We'll never know because of the way it all went down. Well, I knew I was doing the match, but I don't know if that was the plan for me to stick around. Yeah, I had heard that it might have been a one-off, yeah." Zayn added, "you know how quick things change around here and how uncertain things are. So, at the time, I was talking to [Triple H] and I was trying to feel him out, which, if you ever do talk to Hunter about this, I mean, it [has] been three years of me trying to feel him out and I'm really bad at poker. I have no pokerface. I'm bad at fishing for information."
Zayn said that he wanted to avoid having surgery; however, WWE officials advised him to have the surgery. Zayn went on to state that he is still experiencing pain in his bad shoulder.
"They were really big on me getting surgery and Hunter's like, 'get the surgery' and I'm trying to go every other route but surgery. And then, I was wrestling Kevin [Owens] in my last match. It was for the NXT Championship in NXT and I go to just throw him into the stairs and my shoulder popped out and popped right back in really quickly. And, in that moment, I said, 'maybe I need the surgery'. And that was it. I got surgery. It was a torn labrum and torn rotator cuff. Yeah, the worst part is actually now, almost a year later." Zayn continued, "if I try to hug myself, it's really painful still. But whatever. I think another thing I didn't know about surgeries, is I guess it takes like a year, [or] a year and a half till you fully feel like yourself again. So we're getting there, but what are you going to do?"
Zayn admitted that he was depressed while he was on the shelf and seeing NXT talents being called up to the main roster only made matters worse.
"What made it worse, and this is going to make me sound a little petty, but it's the truth, is right after, Kevin got called up. And not only that, Kevin got called up, but then I also heard some rumors about a couple of other guys getting called up and it really kind of broke my spirits a little bit. And then, when I heard one particular person was about to get called up, I remember just losing it. Like, really, like, screaming with almost tears in my throat sort of, like, 'what the', just cursing and it was a little petty, but it's a natural feeling. It's a natural feeling." Zayn continued, "I'm a little ashamed to admit it now, but it is just very natural and consciously, I'm happy for these people. And, ultimately, their success will not hinder my success. I'm a firm believer in that. Yeah, there is no 'your spot'. There are just spots. There is just you. I believe that anyways, if you're any good too, especially, like, you're not just easily replaceable. There's another one of you somewhere."
Zayn said that his NXT TakeOver: Dallas match against the debuting Shinsuke Nakamura was one of his top five all-time best matches.
"It was a big match. To be honest with you, as far as how it came about, Hunter just told me, 'hey, listen. We've got this big plan. We might do you and Nakamura.' I said, 'cool.' What I didn't realize at the time was, again, just because of the timing of it all, that I got called up right before in the build up for it, so, actually, it was going to be my last match [in NXT] for all intents and purposes. I might end up doing another match there, but it was the end of my run in NXT. So yeah, it was pretty much the end of my run in NXT and it was the start of his. And those NXT fans are real smart to these things, so they obviously were excited, with good reason, about Nakamura." Zayn added, "I actually think it's one of my best matches maybe ever, like, top five or something. I thought it was really, really good. Just a million variables. I think it was really sophisticated in some ways with certain things that most fans won't pick up on, but, you know, when it comes to protect the character or build a new character or make someone look good, some of the nuances that only workers or veteran guys or producers or whoever, people that know to look for things would spot. And then on top of that, the crowd was just molten, so it was our match to lose."
Zayn said that he and Nakamura did not so much as touch prior to their match at NXT TakeOver: Dallas.
"I think I met him literally once. And we've had very parallel careers. He started [at] the same time as me. I think I started two months before him or something. [Him] 14 years, me 14 years. He was in New Japan. I never worked New Japan, so we never worked. We've met maybe once. We never touched and I remember Matt Bloom, who's head of the [WWE Performance Center] now, was saying, 'hey, maybe you guys want to get in the PC and spar a little or something like that. I don't want the first time you guys get in the ring ever, the first time you touch, to be at this big match'. And unbeknownst to me, [Nakamura] said the same thing I said, 'no, no, no, I prefer that', which is a dangerous thing, but it's what I know. Yes, I prefer for the first time to be in the show, instead of a 'hey, lets feel it out in the ring' [and] feel how this guy moves and stuff. So we ended up putting something together."
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