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WWE News: Sami Zayn on how hard it was to take off his mask when joining NXT

Things got emotional for Zayn when he had to say goodbye.


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He's doing fine without the mask, but it was a tough breakup

What's the story?

The WWE Universe might know Sami Zayn as "The Underdog From The Underground" but this highly charismatic individual was once known as El Generico and dazzled fans all over as the generic luchador.

But when Zayn made the jump to WWE he had to leave his mask and old gimmick behind. He recently spoke to E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness where he discussed exactly how heartbreaking it was to say goodbye to El Generico.

In case you didn't know...

Sometimes, WWE keeps a worker's gimmick when they bring them in. But on other occasions, they choose to work from scratch and build a new Superstar.

Zayn experienced a transformation when he came into WWE and it wasn't the easiest thing to let go of.

The heart of the matter

Sami Zayn recently opened up to Edge and Christian on E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness where he revealed just how hard it was to let go of El Generico. He didn't know which way WWE was going to go with his character upon coming to FCW, which was WWE's developmental territory at the time.

Zayn said he came up with several different names because there were so many aspects to his personality to run with. So he wrote down a few lists consisting of names which played off of his Arabic heritage, a masked name, and just normal names in case they wanted him to just be a regular unmasked guy.

He said it was heartbreaking when WWE finally decided to tell Zayn that they had decided to move past a masked character for him. (H/T Still Real To Us for the transcription)

It was way harder on me than I thought it was going to be. Because this might sound kinda pathetic but it kinda became my baby, it was my creation, you know? So kinda putting it to rest was way more emotional than I thought it would be."

He was dubbed Sami Zayn and he ran with that persona. The man eventually became The Underdog From The Underground but he still had unfinished business with the masked gimmick he loved so much.

"I don't know if they'll ever dig it up, but I did a promo back in FCW in Tampa when we had promo days once a week with Dusty Rhodes and I did this kinda promo where I put the character to rest and said goodbye and I got super emotional. And then I lived really close to the facility so I had actually biked to work -- so I was biking home just sobbing. Anybody who was driving by just saw this 30-year-old man on a bicycle just crying."

What's next?

Sami Zayn is experiencing one of the best runs of his WWE career at this point. He is rejuvenated in his new role as a heel alongside Kevin Owens and those guys are very entertaining.

There are several ways you could book Zayn at this point and any possibility seems entertaining as long as they let him have fun and display his outstanding new persona.

Author's take

I remember the first time I saw Sami Zayn wrestle and I didn't even know what he looked like. But the El Generico gimmick was pretty outstanding; however, all good things must come to an end.

It did mean a lot though which is probably why Kevin Owens found a way to put on an El Generico mask for a spot during his final ROH match against Steve Corino. The El Generico character is the reason why people chant "ole" at Zayn and will always be a part of him, no matter if he's wearing a mask or not.

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