The importance of knocking on Vince McMahon’s door and asking for things is something many legends have spoken about over the years, something Sami Zayn learned in 2017.
During the latest episode of “Broken Skull Sessions,” Zayn explained to WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin that around 2017 he had started “to feel like I’m spinning my wheels,” as he was seeing other people who had come up around him in the business thriving. The likes of Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins enjoyed big pushes, which led to Zayn going directly to McMahon and asking, “What can I do different here?”
“He goes, ‘Well, it’s because you haven’t turned heel yet,’” Zayn said. “And at that point, I had been a perennial babyface my entire career, I’d never not been a babyface. And I was like, ‘Oh, that was not at all what I expected to hear, but okay.’ But now that’s in his kind of thinking all of a sudden, Sami as a heel. Because everyone’s only ever known me as this babyface, when the idea first comes up of Sami heel it’s, ‘Oh, no no no, he’s the ultimate babyface, he’s the babyface.’ But I end up turning heel, and that, I think, really allows me to spread my wings as far a character and as far as promos.”
Since turning heel, Zayn has thrived in major storylines with the likes of Johnny Knoxville, and more recently working alongside The Bloodline. But even though he is a great worker inside the ring, it was actually a performance as a special guest referee that helped him catch the attention of those in charge.
“They’re watching me in Gorilla, and I’m not trying to do anything, I’m just being me, but as a guest ref,” he said. “For some reason, Gorilla was very tickled by my antics, like PS Hayes and Vince and whatever, they saw something in me, in that moment, that they didn’t see in my work or in my promos, but something in that moment, they’re like, ‘You’re just so entertaining, you can do anything.’”
From there, Zayn became a manager for Shinsuke Nakamura, which was something he admitted worried him at the time. However, he has since made it clear he would like to take on a Paul Heyman-style role after he retires.
“I’m like, ‘Managing is great, yeah sure, I’m not taking bumps and I am getting paid all that stuff, but I’ve got a lot more to give,'” he said. “But I really start getting a lot of trust from the office and getting the mic a lot and getting to drive stories now more.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit “Broken Skull Sessions” with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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