Backstage News On Why Sami Zayn Is Going To Saudi Arabia For WWE Night Of Champions

It was announced this past Friday night on "WWE SmackDown" that Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens will defend the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship against Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa of The Bloodline at Night of Champions. According to Dave Meltzer on "Wrestling Observer Radio," Zayn, who is of Syrian descent, decided to travel to Saudi Arabia for the event on May 27 following the resumption of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom and Syria. Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Syria in November 2011. It's said that Owens opted to also go to Saudi Arabia for Night of Champions after Zayn agreed to make the trip.

Zayn's most recent visit to Saudi Arabia came in 2014 when he participated in a three-night WWE house show tour in Riyadh. On the opening night, which was the former WWE Intercontinental Champion's debut match in the country, Zayn defeated Damian Sandow in a singles bout. The following evening, the former "Honorary Uce" was defeated by Cesaro – now Ring of Honor World Champion Claudio Castagnoli. The final night of that tour saw Zayn defeat Heath Slater.

Meanwhile, Owens will be heading to Saudi Arabia with WWE for the first time since he worked the Greatest Royal Rumble event in 2018. Since then, the former WWE Universal Champion had decided against performing in the Kingdom, seemingly as a result of his longtime friend Zayn not being able to participate because of the strained relationship between Saudi Arabia and Syria. It was reported in 2019 that Owens' family not wanting him to travel to the Kingdom was another factor