WWE's Sami Zayn Opens Up About What It Means For Him To Wrestle In Saudi Arabia

Sami Zayn is bringing the WWE Intercontinental Championship back to North America, thanks to a successful defense against Bronson Reed and Chad Gable at WWE King & Queen of the Ring in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. But for several years since the WWE entered their 10-year partnership with the country's Ministry of Sports, Zayn — a Canadian Muslim of Syrian descent — had not been allowed to participate in those events, due to the Saudi's entanglement in the Syrian Civil War. Zayn took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to post video about what it meant to seal a huge victory in front of a packed Muslim crowd.


"It's really, really, really hard to put into words, it really is," Zayn said. "Just 'proud' is the only word that comes to mind... I understand that I don't necessarily present myself as 'Mr. Arab Man' everyday, and I think a lot of people probably don't even know that I'm Arab or that I'm Muslim, and I realize that. It doesn't seem like a central part of my character, but the truth is, it's a central part of who I am. And when you come to this part of the world, there's just a piece of me that feels whole in a way that I didn't even know was missing until I get here. And to be able to come here as the Intercontinental Champion and represent my people, represent all the people of the Middle East, as a champion, I can't tell you how proud that makes me."


Of the 11 premium live events held in Saudi Arabia thus far under the WWE's partnership, this is only Zayn's third. His first event was Night of Champions on May 27, 2023 where he and Kevin Owens successfully defended the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship against The Bloodline. He notably made a pilgrimage to Mecca ahead of that event.