Over the years, Sami Zayn has worn many hats during his time in WWE. He's been the underdog babyface, the annoying best friend, and now a conspiracy victim.
No matter the role thrown at Zayn, he's consistently performed at a high level and earned praise from fans and his peers. While many who leave WWE, and some who are still in WWE, have been frustrated with the creative process in the company, Zayn considers himself one of the lucky ones in that regard.
"A fair bit," Zayn replied to Renee Paquette on Oral Sessions when asked how much input he has on his current direction. "I heard Jon's infamous podcast and I understand. That frustration exists to a certain extent for all the talent. Anyone who is remotely creative, the higher up you get in the world of show business, the less creative control you have, but the more money you make. I'm pretty fortunate because I feel like I've had a lot of my ideas go through. Kind of a shocking amount, especially in the last two years."
Zayn continued, revealing the segment that seemingly earned him a lot of trust in the eyes of Vince McMahon.
"You never know which segment is going to open their eyes. I think I was already doing good work in the ring and established myself as more than competent in the ring and holding my own on the microphone as a good guy and doing really good work as a bad guy. There was one day where I was a guest referee for Kevin [Owens] vs. Seth [Rollins]. I was just doing me. When I got back, they were all doubled over. I think that inspired the idea for me to be a mouthpiece for Shinsuke [Nakamura]. I came back and Vince is like, 'You have the gift of gab.' I wasn't even cutting a promo, I was just being a ref, but they just started seeing me in a new light of, 'this guy, he can be so much and do so much for other people.' I think they saw a broader vision for me in that moment. Someone who can be a manager even 10-15 years down the road. There was a new trust," he said. "I'm one of the luckier guys. It took a while for my ideas to start getting through. I'm sure Jon had a million ideas he was pitching, and he was a top guy, he was a champion. Sometimes they just don't get through. I just started getting lucky out of nowhere and because stuff was working and I had a good relationship with writers, I'm very lucky. I can't complain as much as other guys when it comes to pitching things and getting them. I have gotten away with a lot more than most, so I don't think I'm in a position to complain about that."
Zayn served as the guest ref for Rollins vs. Owens on the June 10, 2019 episode of WWE Raw. Zayn was paired with Nakamura in August 2019.
When discussing his creative process, Zayn said, "Part of my process, when I'm working with writers, I want to put it together. I like to have my idea, give it to [the writer], [the writer] to edit it to make it concise and deliverable in the allotted time or to make sure it's in line with Vince's vision. I have in certain moments been called 'difficult,' but you'll find that the only times I've been called difficult is when things are being dictated to me. I don't like that. I admit, I can be difficult if you're dictating what I have to do, especially if I don't think it's good. If you dictate and it's great, there will be no push back. If you're telling me, 'here's what you're doing,' and it's not good, I'll be combative. I'm not the best as 'playing the game' My heart is on my sleeve and I'm very transparent. It's a gift and curse. When it comes to WWE -- I've gotten better at it -- there's a certain language you speak, a certain vocabulary to not be so forceful. It's just tact and I haven't always been the most tactful. I may overestimate the relationship I have with someone, so I'm upfront in what I say. It's about navigating and a learning process."
Zayn is set to face Kevin Owens at WrestleMania 37. Before the two clash on the grandest stage of them all, Zayn will welcome Logan Paul to Friday's SmackDown for the premiere of his trailer documentary.
You can check out the current lineup for WrestleMania 37 at Fightful's events section.
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