What if Sami Zayn had said more about AEW on WWE Raw?
In one of the more intriguing moments of this past week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw, Sami Zayn made explicit reference to AEW, chastising fans who had sent in questions for him for not asking his opinion about one of the hottest topics in wrestling.
The moment created buzz for how reticent WWE typically is to reference anything resembling a competing promotion. Moreover, the comment was delivered in off the cuff fashion, and subsequently cut from the version of the segment WWE posted to YouTube.
The question now is whether Zayn was following a script, or genuinely made his own call to mention the upstart new promotion that many view as a prospective competitor to WWE. This article considers what might have happened if Zayn had made more than the initial mention, but rather gone into greater depth in talking about All Elite Wrestling during his Electric Chair segment with Corey Graves.
#5. Casting AEW as the heel company
Since returning to action after WrestleMania 35, WWE has doubled down on Sami Zayn playing a heel character. He seems to be getting a longer leash to offer worked shoot commentary on fellow Superstars, WWE on the whole, and the fans. Introducing All Elite Wrestling into the conversation feels like the next step for his outspoken, edgy character.
But what was WWE going for, assuming this mention of the rival promotion was authorized or even scripted for Zayn? Or what was Zayn aiming at if it was his own idea to mention Cody Rhodes’s new promotion? This might have been Zayn’s character being provocative for the sake of garnering attention, but it also may have been an interesting attempt to cast AEW themselves as villains.
After all, Zayn himself is a heel. Anything associated with him is, within the WWE Universe, heelish by extension. As such WWE could subtly plant in at least the more casual audience’s mind that AEW isn’t the scrappy underdog or a fun alternative, but rather a company fans should actively root against.