The former NXT champion last competed in a match way back in June 2018 at the Money In The Bank event, where he lost against Bobby Lashley, and he has spent the last 10 months on the road to recovery from double shoulder surgery.
It looked as though Kevin Owens’ former sidekick had returned to WWE as a good guy during his match with Balor, having made a typically eccentric entrance before getting the crowd on his side during his post-match promo.
However, he then turned against the audience by saying that, although he realises how much everybody missed him, he did not miss them or the “toxic WWE environment” during his absence from the squared circle.
The last time we saw Zayn, he was eight months into his first heel run as a WWE Superstar. His momentum declined following his WWE Championship storyline in early 2018 but, along with Owens, he remained one of the most entertaining people on Raw before he was forced to undergo surgery.
So, with fans seemingly behind Zayn, let’s take a look at five theories why WWE decided to bring him back as a heel.
#5 He was more relevant as a heel
Before Johnny Gargano established himself as the biggest babyface in NXT history, there was Sami Zayn.
Known during his early days in NXT as “The Underdog from the Underground”, Zayn was by far the most popular Superstar in WWE’s developmental brand throughout 2014, and he was part of one of the greatest moments in NXT history when he finally won the NXT Championship from Neville in December 2014 at TakeOver: R Evolution.
The problems for Zayn started when he joined the main roster in 2015. Following an injury on his debut, he returned in 2016 and struggled to solidify himself as a credible title challenger during his time as a babyface on Raw and SmackDown Live. While he was still popular, he was mostly portrayed as just another mid-carder.
That all changed in October 2017 when Zayn turned heel, aligning with Kevin Owens in the process, to kick-start the best main-roster run of his WWE career so far.
Perhaps WWE opted to keep him as a heel for the simple reason that it worked so well before, so why change it?