On the latest episode of the WWE After the Bell Podcast with Corey Graves, Sami Zayn joined the show to talk about the differences between today’s era of wrestling and the infamous Attitude Era in the 90s. Zayn shared that he doesn’t think either era would have thrived in each other’s time, stating the key differences between the landscapes of the business. The 37-year-old used a superstar from the 90s to explain his comparison, stating that this WWE Hall of Famer wouldn’t have thrived if he debuted today.
“Goldberg debuts today in NXT, is he going to be [the same] Bill Goldberg?” Zayn said. “My guess is probably not. Bill Goldberg had to fill a very specific vacuum that only existed at that exact time for him to be in the spot that he’s in. I hope I’m not taking a shot at Bill here by saying I’m pretty sure he’d be the first to acknowledge that this guy isn’t exactly known for his 5 star matches or anything, he’d steam roll through guys. If he came around at a slightly different time when work rate was far more important, he might have been left in the dust or people might not have taken a second look at him. It’s so circumstantial.”
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Sami Zayn’s contract is set to expire before the end of the year. The former Intercontinental Champion could hypothetically become All Elite, and he spoke about the moment he mentioned AEW on Monday Night RAW while speaking with Sportskeeda.
Zayn continued to talk about the differences between the Attitude Era and the current era of wrestling. He mentioned how SmackDown feels wide open right now and brings back the feeling of unpredictability just like the Attitude Era.
“It’s a lot of luck, and recognition of that luck is important when you talk about everything,” Zayn said. “Your own individual success and the success of something like the Attitude Era. It was a lot of luck, a lot of things lining up at just the right place at just the right time. Regardless if you take the rose-colored glasses away, the one thing that they really had going for them at that time was this unpredictability. You didn’t know what they were going to do next week and I think that was a big part of the intrigue. That’s something that I feel like now, with a wide-open playing field right now and all these new characters and not knowing where things are going to line up, I find that exciting.
“That’s what I like as a fan and I don’t want to be able to predict what’s going to happen. Even with Roman who’s firing on all cylinders, I don’t want to be able to look at Roman and go, ‘I know he’s going to be champion for another six months.’ I want to be kept on my toes. I think there’s a great opportunity right now on SmackDown, even with RAW, they have amazing talent, but with SmackDown, I feel like it’s wide open and reminds me of what SmackDown was years and years ago when they first did the brand split, where it almost became this opportunity for a lot of guys to become stars.”
Being a former NXT Champion, Sami Zayn also spoke about the new revamped NXT 2.0. According to him, the brand has done a great job rebranding itself and introducing new stars with a new look.
“The little bit I’ve seen has been pretty interesting and pretty good,” Zayn said. “I think there was an immediate negative backlash to the idea of NXT 2.0 because people had come to know and like NXT as this black and gold, grittier product. Any time you tell the people we’re doing something new, there’s this guard that comes up, defensiveness and an unwillingness to change or accept something new in some cases. I know a big part of the rebranding was the presentation and the bright-fulness and the colorfulness. As soon as I turned on the very first episode of NXT 2.0, I said, man, this looks great. This does look better.
“It’s brighter, the fans are elevated like that, they’re kind of on top of you. The energy is great and on top of it, you have a bit of a reset with new characters, just like I was talking about a moment ago with SmackDown. A wide-open playing field for new characters to step up and fill certain roles, you’re seeing that again in NXT. Is it what you liked about NXT a year ago, five years ago? No, no it’s not but there is a lot to like about it for sure, and if you’re the type of fan like I am that likes unpredictability, that likes character development, that likes to see where things are going to line up, if that’s part of what interests you about pro wrestling or about WWE, then I think it’s intriguing to watch for sure.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE After the Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.