Sami Zayn Officially Debuts. Plus, WWE RAW Recap
Sami Zayn Confronts Kevin Owens:
Anyone who follows WWE as closely as I do will tell you that Sami Zayn (current NXT star) is one of the most promising talents that they have. Quite awhile back, WWE told the story of Zayn as the underdog, staying true to his values and honor to emerge as NXT Champion in one of the most universally loved victories in the modern history of WWE. However, his victory was short-lived, after longtime real-life friend Kevin Owens (these guys have been wrestling the indy circuit for over a decade) attacked him after his match. Since then, Zayn has had two WWE main roster moments before last night. In one, he was introduced in his home country of Canada by Bret Hart to fight John Cena. Although he was shockingly injured during his entrance (Sami does this thing where he throws his arms up violently to hype up the crowd), Sami finished the fight and put on one of the best RAW matches of the year. After a long recovery time, Sami returned to the WWE stage in January as an entrant in the Royal Rumble, storming to confront a shocked Kevin Owens, eliminating him. Now, we see Zayn make what will likely be his official debut on the main roster, running down to save Neville before Owens was going to power bomb him on the edge of the ring (this is the same move Owens did to Zayn following his NXT championship win, and it always looks brutal). These two guys are some of the best workers and storytellers that the WWE has and, when they fight, you fully believe that they hate each other. Hopefully, WWE will build this feud to a Wrestlemania match for the Intercontinental Championship like it deserves. If so, you can add another nominee to the potential show-stealing matches building on this card.
Shane McMahon Stands Tall:
Again, I am forced to comment on how much better the McMahons are at cutting promos than literally everyone else on the main roster. Shane came out this week and cut a great promo against his father and the company, breaking kayfabe at times to harp on the issues and complaints felt by fans in real life. His comments on wrestlers who work hard but don’t get chances (Cesaro, Neville, and Daniel Bryan for a while) struck a cord with the fans. To counter Shane, Vince came out to taunt his son, sending security after him to remove him from the ring. In response, Shane proceeded to beat the crap out of all the security guys, looking fast and strong in the process. While all of this was great, here come my complaints. This segment did nothing for Shane’s Wrestlemania match other than to prove that he looks strong, and capable of fighting. This is fine, but the actual story was hardly progressed. Plus, Vince’s tease with the Undertaker’s music before his own further proved to increase complaints that the actual stakes between The Undertaker and Shane specifically are absent. If this match only ends up being a feud between Shane and Vince, the The Undertaker really does just seem like a lackey for management. They have plenty of time to make this look better, I just hope that they do it right.
Dean Ambrose Holds the Belt (For the Last Time for a Long Time):
Let’s get this clear, I love that they are giving us Dean Ambrose vs Triple H for the title at this nothing WWE Network Special. I think it makes a lot of sense as a holdover feud to continue selling Roman Reigns’ injury, and to keep Brock Lesnar off camera so that WWE doesn’t have to pay him so much. All wrestling fans love Ambrose, and will be pulling for him hard on Saturday, even though we all know that he is going to lose. However, WWE has done little to make this feud feel like something important (even thought it isn’t and we know that). Plus, seeing Ambrose hold the title to close out RAW last night serves only as a reminder that we won’t be seeing this at Wrestlemania like all of us want to. I don’t believe WWE creative is intentionally taunting fans with this move, but it serves that purpose regardless. Needless to say, the match between these two will be fun, and their prospective Mania matches will still be entertaining, even if they aren’t exactly what we all want.
- WWE seems committed to building a feud between Brie Bella and Lana, who made her first in ring move last night. As long as they don’t try to make this a Wrestlemania match, I’ll be interested.
- Dolph Ziggler lost in a handicap match against the League of Nations, reinforcing that all of these guys have nowhere to go. This match just furthered the belief in fans that some of the best guys may never get that break that they need.
- The New Day retained their titles against Y2AJ. Thankfully this happened, and then Jericho turned on Styles following the match. He hit him with three Codebreakers, and proceeded to shout at him before exiting. It seems like they want to make this into a Wrestlemania feud, which is fine. However, it does feel a bit hollow considering that we’ve seen these two go at it recently, supposedly culminating in a victory by Styles at Fastlane. WWE has few options here, as a Jericho victory at Mania could destroy Styles, but a Styles victory does little to help him since its already been seen.
- Ryback continues to be booked as a heel and, like the rest of the mid card, no one cares.
Kyle Kirby covers WWE for MFST. You can follow him on Twitter @couch_qb.