After suffering an injury months ago while facing John Cena for his United States Championship, Sami Zayn returned to NXT. On December 23rd, he defeated NXT jobber Tye Dillinger, proving that while he may have been down, he certainly wasn't counted out of World Wrestling Entertainment just yet. However, this has placed Sami Zayn in somewhat of a unique situation.
On one hand, Sami Zayn was injured during his debut match on Raw, leading many to think he should pick up where he left off. On the other, Sami Zayn has been gone for quite some time, and may need the rub of some competitive NXT matches before once again making the leap to the main roster. If the latter route is the one that WWE chooses to pursue, when will our fateful hero finally be competing with the likes of John Cena and the other Raw/SmackDown talent again?
Do It Now!
Okay. To anyone who's ever seen Sami Zayn in the ring, it's abundantly clear that he's got mad skills. Years spent working for Ring of Honor and other indie scene promotions have certainly helped him to hone his craft.
Then there's the Royal Rumble match. Entering at number 20, Sami Zayn quickly made an impact on the match when he briefly reignited his feud with Kevin Owens. Owens, who had just eliminated fellow indie star, AJ Styles, gained rapid heat from the Florida crowd. And then out came Sami Zayn, who charged the ring and brought it to Owens, sending the prizefighter over the top rope and out of the match.
Speaking of the Rumble, why do you think he was there in the first place? Yeah, Zayn is great in the ring, but over the past year, WWE has seen a plethora of injuries, including the aforementioned John Cena, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, Cesaro, Sting, and the list goes on and on and on. WWE was short on talent for the third biggest pay-per-view of the year, and it came down to Sami Zayn to bring forth some much-appreciated star power. With all of these stars, still on the shelf, will WWE need his services again quicker than they expected?
Slow and Steady Wins the Race.
Option two: Stay down in NXT for a little while and rebuild his momentum in the WWE. This gives him the chance to feud with some of NXT's finest that he hasn't run across yet, such as Finn Bálor, Samoa Joe, and Baron Corbin. It seems like this is a direction that he'll be headed in for at least a little while.
Two weeks ago, William Regal announced a triple threat number one contender's match between Zayn, Joe, and Corbin. On the past episode of NXT, the fate of the number one contender slot was left up in the air when Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe double submitted Baron Corbin, entrenching Zayn in the title hunt for at least the time being.
Along that same vein, Sami Zayn has the potential to be the very first two-time NXT Champion. This would be an exciting prospect given that champions usually jump ship to the main roster once they drop the belt. More so, Zayn is currently history's shortest reigning champion, and this would allow him to have just a little more time with a belt.
Can I Go Now?
Now here's the question really worth asking: When will Sami Zayn re-debut on the Raw roster? Let's reflect.
Sami Zayn can do it now, leaving his main event NXT feud behind. After eliminating Kevin Owens from the royal rumble, it makes the most sense for him to pick up a feud with the Prizefighter. Plus, Kevin Owens was the man who originally defeated Zayn for the NXT Championship, and it would provide fans with some beautiful closure to see Sami Zayn come out on top this time.
On the flip side, there is the ongoing title hunt down in NXT. Sami Zayn can continue to have excellent matches with the talent that's there, building towards an epic match against the champion himself, Finn Bálor. Whether he wins or not is another story.
This is how I would have it all play out. Sami Zayn eventually wins a title shot against Finn Bálor. During their title contest, Kevin Owens interferes, costing Sami Zayn the title after a near-victory. This will occur before Fastlane.
At Fastlane, Owens goes one-on one with AJ Styles, whom he eliminated from the Royal Rumble. As things begin to look bleak for Styles, Sami Zayn's music plays and he comes out to watch the remainder of the match. Styles sneaks a small package and Owens is pinned. A livid Owens yells at Zayn from the ring post-match. In the weeks prior to WrestleMania, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens reignite their intense rivalry, each playing mind games with one another while bulldozing lesser talent.
Then there's the match itself. It would be hard-fought and WWE would dedicate at least 15 minutes to the contest. I expect this to show up around the middle of WrestleMania's card, and it will culminate with Sami Zayn picking up the win over Kevin Owens.
So what do you think lies in the cards for Sami Zayn? Will he join the Raw roster sooner than I thought? Will he stay down in NXT for an even longer period of time? Feel free to leave a comment below, and let us know.
Thanks for reading!