Remember that one time Sami Zayn did the unthinkable and brought up AEW on WWE TV? Well, the former Intercontinental Champion spent some time this week discussing the one-time appearance of the Electric Chair with SK Wrestling.
In case you forgot, the Electic Chair was an unscripted segment featuring Sami Zayn and Corey Graves. Zayn sat in an actual (?) electric chair and took real, unvetted questions from fans in attendance. He spent more time chastising the audience than giving precise answers.
Toward the end of the segment, Sami Zayn went after one fan in particular and offered up what he thought were better alternative questions to ask.
At that moment, Zayn got a massive reaction from the crowd and a nervous response from Graves when he said the fan could have asked him about anything - including AEW.
It shouldn't be a shock to find out the line wasn't in the script, but it wasn't entirely unplanned either, according to Zayn.
"So it wasn't entirely, entirely off the cuff but it was off the cuff to a certain degree, and the reaction was, uh, let's say unfavorable (laughs) since the electric chair met its demise that very same week."
The timing of WWE putting on such an unscripted and unpredictable segment made it a significant risk. Sami Zayn's Electric Chair Q&A debuted on the May 27, 2019, Monday Night RAW. That was just two days after AEW's first ever Double or Nothing PPV.
All Elite Wrestling was soaring that weekend. Jon Moxley (fresh off his contract expiring with WWE) made his AEW debut at Double or Nothing by attacking both Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega.
Double or Nothing, headlined by the surprise debut of a former WWE Superstar, was the topic of conversation in the wrestling world heading into that RAW. Sami Zayn knew it, and so did the higher-ups in WWE.
"So it was right on everybody's mind. It was super, super fresh and I think they had just announced this TV deal. They had just announced that this wasn't just going to be a pay-per-view. This is going to be a competitor and all this sort of stuff. And they tell me that we're doing this segment where it's legitimately, you know, unplanned questions and anybody could ask anything. So at the time this was the number one topic in the wrestling world. So you kind of expected to be asked about it."
Sami Zayn said there was an understanding that if AEW was brought up, he would react to it accordingly. He wasn't going to pretend the question wasn't asked. However, much to his surprise, he wasn't asked about AEW.
In the moment, WWE management had to feel like they dodged a bullet with the audience ignoring such low hanging fruit. That was until Sami Zayn took it upon himself to bring up the new rival company.
Sami Zayn tried to live up to what the segment was meant to be... controversial
So why did Sami Zayn decide to bring up AEW all on his own? He told SK Wrestling he was just trying to spice things up a bit and follow through on what WWE wanted the Electric Chair to be.
"What they were going for was that it had a very risky, unpredictable feel to it... As I was out there, I was like, this doesn't have these vibes, these questions are too sterile. So I felt like it was upon me, it was incumbent upon me, to sort of make it controversial. And the fact that we're talking about it now, all this time later, you know I hate to say I was right, but I kind of think I was right to do it."
Sami Zayn didn't elaborate too much on what was said backstage, but said he got chewed out (or something to that degree) for bringing up AEW on his own.
Whether it was Zayn's comment, the audience questions, or a combination of the two, the Electric Chair was never seen again. Something Sami Zayn says is a shame.
"I shed a little tear just thinking about what the Electric Chair could have been. You know what I mean? Cause that could have been super exciting. Really unpredictable questions from the fans and you really don't know what's coming. Eh. Failed experiment, but what can you do?"
You can hear Sami Zayn's entire Electric Chair story in the video posted above. Also, make sure to head to the SK Wrestling YouTube Channel for part one of that conversation. Sami Zayn spoke about his match at Elimination Chamber, Roman Reigns, and so much more.