During a recent interview with Cheap Heat, former WWE Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn talked about a myriad of topics, including this weekend’s WrestleMania 38 event and his real-life best friend, Kevin Owens.

One person that will be competing at this year’s ‘Mania, Logan Paul, was a focal point in the feud between Zayn and Owens for last year’s show. Though he’s glad The Miz and Paul are getting this chance to wrestle on the show, he doesn’t feel like he is competing for a better showcase.

“I think a lot of Kevin Owens and myself, a lot of our success, we had a pretty healthy, I would say, competition with each other and I think we drove each other to get a little bit better,” Zayn said. “And every time I was kind of getting some steam, he’d start doing some stuff and he’d be accomplishing some stuff, and it kind of made up that game.

“So I think there is a healthy level of give and take competition there. I also kind of reject the idea that competition is what drives everything and to look at life as a competition, or to look at life, you know, Miz is my coworker and Logan Paul is somebody I worked with. I’m not looking at them as the enemy, you know? Let’s all calm down here.”

One thing Sami Zayn thinks is fascinating regarding his friend Owens is the fact that Kevin taught himself English by watching pro wrestling. KO specifically learned from hearing Jim Ross doing commentary, so he thought certain signature phrases were common English words.

“We speak in English, but French is his mother tongue. It’s amazing, actually, Kevin doesn’t have the Quebec, the Francophone accent, whatsoever. It’s pretty astonishing because {talks in a Quebec accent} normally when you hear a Quebecer talking English, this is their accent, they talk like that. And I’m not making fun, that’s just, there is an accent, he has zero.

“And the mind-blowing thing, I don’t know if you know this but he’s said it in other interviews, he didn’t speak a word of English till he was 11. He learned English by watching wrestling. Jim Ross taught him English, so he thought that certain wrestling-isms were actually normal words. Like, he’d be like, ‘Oh yeah, that was a real slobberknocker,’ as if it’s a common word, you know? Wrestling actually taught him an entire language.”

Certain stars that have moved on for the time being from WWE, Cesaro, Bryan Danielson, and CM Punk, are some of the people Zayn gives credit to in paving a road for smaller athletes to succeed. Whether it be proficient in-ring skills or being outspoken on the microphone, each man made an impact on Sami Zayn in some way.

“They paved the way, I think,” stated Zayn. “And it’s hard to put it in sequential order or say who had the bigger impact here or there, or whatever. Because again, if I can toot my own horn for a moment here, which I really should do more often, yeah, right, have you noticed how great I am?

“You know, I think NXT, I think my signing really — and again, I’m not going to take full credit here because it was Hunter who recognized that he was onto something with me. The way the fans were taking to me once we started, especially once I did that match with Cesaro. So I can’t, again, it’s not me, Cesaro; Cesaro being a main roster talent allowed us the wiggle room to have the kind of match we had that opened the door to what became the NXT style.

“And that, I think, opened the door for a lot of other people. Of course, I don’t think they’re signing me if Daniel Bryan didn’t pave the way, if CM Punk didn’t pave the way, if other guys didn’t pave the way. But I do think that Cesaro coming down from the main roster and wrestling me, just, I think that match had a lot to do with a style that got opened up. And that style opening up kind of helped build what became NXT, and opened the door for a lot of other people as well.”

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Cheap Heat with an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

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