Sami Zayn has returned to WWE SmackDown.
Tonight's SmackDown on FOX episode saw WWE Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy retain his title in an Open Challenge over SmackDown Tag Team Champion Shinsuke Nakamura. AJ Styles, who lost the title to Hardy last Friday night, was on commentary and the storyline was that he was not cleared after last week's match. There was a pre-match segment that saw AJ confront Hardy, but Hardy dropped him with a single punch.
After Hardy's win over Nakamura, Hardy posed on the stage and taunted AJ, who was in the ring now. Sami's music then hit and out he came to face off with Hardy on the stage, carrying the WWE Intercontinental Title belt that he was holding the last time we saw him.
Zayn and Hardy faced off with their titles in the air, with Zayn calling Hardy a fraud and claiming to be the real Intercontinental Champion. Zayn took advantage of Hardy being distracted by AJ on the ramp, and dropped him with a big kick to the face. Sami then left while AJ and Hardy taunted each other.
Sami was later stopped backstage by Kayla Braxton, who asked where he's been and why he hasn't been around to defend his title. Sami said he's all about righting wrongs, like AJ and Hardy pretending to be champion. He bragged about winning the title in March and then retaining it over Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 36. He also noted that he has many valid reasons as to why he hasn't been around for the past few months, and he doesn't need to explain why. Zayn went on and said he's from Montreal, and is a man of the world, and a true Intercontinental Champion in every sense of the word.
WWE stripped Sami of the title back on May 12 and held a tournament to declare a new champion, which saw Styles defeat Bryan in the finals. It had been reported that Zayn was not appearing on WWE TV due to concerns he had with working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that WWE has moved from the Performance Center to the Amway Center in Orlando, it looks like Zayn decided to come back, as did Roman Reigns this past weekend.
This was Zayn's first WWE TV appearance since Night One of WrestleMania 36, which was taped a few nights before it aired. This was his first SmackDown appearance since the April 3 episode, which was the WrestleMania go-home show.
Stay tuned for updates on Zayn's WWE status. Below are a few shots from tonight's return from the WWE ThunderDome at the Amway Center in Orlando: