John Cena praises Sami Zayn.
Cena, a 16-time world champion, was the face of WWE for many years until he transitioned into a career in Hollywood. Near the end of his full-time run, he faced the debuting Sami Zayn on the May 4 episode of WWE Raw in 2015. Zayn was one of the top stars in NXT, as he won the NXT Championship during his time there. Cena won the bout, in which he defended his WWE United States Championship, but Zayn delivered a memorable performance in front of his hometown crowd in Montreal.
Over the past year, Zayn has been renowned for his character work, as he has been featured in a lengthy storyline with The Bloodline. Zayn gradually joined the group as the "Honorary Uce" and earned their trust. Eventually, Zayn turned on the stable when he refused to attack Kevin Owens at WWE Royal Rumble 2023. He then feuded with Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns and lost to him at Elimination Chamber. Since then, Zayn has continued his rivalry with The Usos. All the while, Zayn has been one of the most buzzworthy performers in WWE.
During an appearance on Whiskey Talk with Andrew Santino, Cena complimented Zayn and noted that he somewhat struggled to connect with the audience when he first arrived in NXT. He brought up Zayn's recent success and described how it has been the result of plenty of hard work. Cena made it clear that he can see the way Zayn invests in connecting with the audience, and it has paid off.
“I gotta give Sami his comeuppance. Here’s a guy who’s been in the business a long time and worked really hard in circuits outside the WWE and made a great name for himself, then got in WWE in the NXT program and made a great name for himself, and then got into WWE and kind of struggled to connect with the audience. Everyone now, because he’s very popular now, thinks it’s like [snaps fingers], alright, it clicked. His character went through a major reconstruction just about three years ago, maybe even a little more than that. It’s taken him three and a half years, and now all that hard work, and I can see it, I can see how hard he works, and I see how he’s invested in connecting with the audience. It’s paid off. Everybody loves him because they know who he is," Cena said.
Both Cena and Zayn will compete in high-profile matches at WWE WrestleMania 39. Cena will challenge Austin Theory for the United States Championship, and Zayn will team up with Kevin Owens to challenge The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship.
Theory recently discussed his upcoming match with Cena. Check out his comments here.
Steve Austin shared his thoughts on a potential match against Cena. Click here to see what he had to say.
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