Sami Zayn: If You Look At A PWG Poster From 2009 Or An ROH Poster From 2008, It's A World-Class Roster

Sami Zayn talks about the wealth of talent that emerged from his days on the independent circuit.

Whether WWE, AEW, TNA, or New Japan, so many of today's top stars in wrestling emerge from the Independent scene of the 2000s. Several WrestleMania main eventers including Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, Bryna Danielson, and Sami Zayn all honed their craft in smaller venues before moving up to larger independent organizations like Ring of Honor and then finally going to WWE or another grand stage.

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Speaking about those days and whether or not there was a feeling that there were breakout WWE Superstars in the midst of the independents, Sami Zayn tells Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp that in those days, they were more concerned about doing their own thing because the landscape of wrestling was so different and not too many names were being signed to WWE.

"It’s hard to remember how things were back then. Look at the independent names that were left on the independents for five to ten years. Bryan Danielson, Seth Rollins, myself, Kevin, Nigel McGuinness, all these guys were just doing the indies because guys didn’t get signed back then. We were off an island doing our own thing and creating our own thing. In hindsight, what a special time it was, especially for the independents that you could go see these world-class performers and everyone is better now than they were then, but at the time, we were really good back then," said Zayn. "If you look at a PWG poster from 2009 or a Ring of Honor poster from 2008, the amount of talent that has gone on to be in WWE, AEW, TNA, or Japan, it’s a world-class roster. All this to say, it was really hard to tie up with someone and go, ‘This guy is good enough to be in WWE.’ We were all good enough. It wasn’t about talent. The mentality was, the real talent was there, and what you were getting in WWE was something else. Not to say they weren’t talented, but they were looking for something else. It wasn’t based exclusively on talent. I didn’t lock up with Bryan Danielson and go, ‘This guy is not quite good enough for WWE.’ It wasn’t like that. It had nothing to do with talent. There were a lot of other variables back in the day.

"It’s hard to remember because the world of wrestling has changed so much and the landscape has changed so much, in a way that may be regrettable in some respects because you’re not going to get guys developing on the independents and going through the wave and circle of life process that gets you to where you want to be by the time you come in, not as a finished product, but as a polished product," Zayn continued. "You kind of don’t get to get polished totally out in the wild. If you even start making a name for yourself remotely, you’re gone, someone will sign you up. I also might be speaking out of school because I’ve been removed from the independents for so long that I don’t have my finger on the pulse completely, but I certainly know it’s not like it was."

Elsewhere in this interview, Zayn spoke about getting the rare opportunity to break out one of his independent wrestling finishing maneuvers, the Brainbustah, on the grand stage of WrestleMania XL in a match against Gunther for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Fans can read his thoughts on that matter here.

Check out the full interview with Zayn in the video embedded above

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