Sami Zayn Reflects On Life Of Secrecy As El Generico Before Signing With WWE

Elevated to the forefront of WWE more than ever before by his time as the resident "Honorary Uce" in The Bloodline and now, as one half of the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions alongside Kevin Owens, it's hard to imagine a time when Sami Zayn enjoyed any sort of anonymity. Of course, longtime fans will recall that his career prior to WWE centered around just that.


Appearing on "Out of Character," Zayn talked about the difference between his current status near the top of the card, which toed the line between his personal and professional lives, compared to his time under a mask as El Generico. "I wonder if there's a chicken and the egg sort of situation here," Zayn pondered regarding the balance of what he shares with the audience versus what he keeps for himself. "The character that I played prior to coming to WWE, that needed to be shrouded in privacy and secrecy."

Zayn's rise to prominence in WWE really began via a Hollywood crossover with Johnny Knoxville and his "Jackass" cohorts, culminating in a wild match at Wrestlemania 38 that drew widespread acclaim. That exposure was a far cry from the Generico era, and while Zayn won't rule out a return engagement with the "Jackass" crew and the high profile that would bring, he recalls that donning the mask was no walk in the park either.


El Generico: Hiding In Plain Sight

Zayn would go to great lengths to protect the character, paying attention to the finest details, which he explained by referencing another icon from pop culture. "When I would wear a mask, there were times that the mask was tied too tight," he detailed. "You would see a tiny bit of my hair in the back and when I would see that on screen, it would drive me crazy."


"It's almost like if you saw little human fingers sticking out of R2-D2," Zayn added. "You're like, 'Oh, there's a little guy there. That's not a robot!' It takes you out of it.'" Generico first appeared in Zayn's native Quebec, and recalls his hometown being in on the act. Once he began to spread his wings a bit, however, it was easier to keep things close to the vest. "When I went into the States, for those first six or seven years," he remembered, "I saw almost no leaks of what my face actually looked like. Also, the fans weren't seeking it out because it does kill the allure a little bit."

You never know if WWE fans may get to see Generico someday, as apparently Road Dogg has pitched the idea in the past. In the meantime, Zayn's position near the top of the card — and in the limelight — seems secure for plenty of time to come.


If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Out of Character with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.