Sami Zayn has been wrestling for over 15 years, and he's no stranger to high-risk, high-impact maneuvers in his matches. But he says nothing compares to the risks one takes in a ladder match.
He told Fox Sports about his memories of his very first ladder match:
“I think it was in a gymnasium in the town that I lived in, in front of about 80 people. I want to say it was in… late 2002. It was a three-way ladder match. Definitely did some things I probably shouldn’t have done that night, you know, just taking really unnecessary risks. When I think back on it now, think about the 15-year toll I put on my body, I think about some of those early nights when I did way, way more than I should have. Took way bigger risks than I should have. But I feel like that, having that missing screw loose, I feel like that almost goes hand-in-hand with having the passion to make it this far.
And if you almost don’t go through with that… I can’t say that for sure, because certainly other people haven’t done that kind of stuff to still make it far, but I feel like, again, that just goes with my trajectory. I have to take those crazy risks and and do the crazy, stupid things to kind of learn to understand when to do them and when to not do them, and eventually get smarter and better at what I’m doing. Good enough to line myself up here, which is where I’m at now, so I guess I wouldn’t change any of it."
And now, going into the Money In The Bank ladder match--with a WWE Title Shot on the line--for the second year in a row, he was asked how he's changed since that first ladder match 15 years ago.
"Well it's a very different game, because also my mentality has changed since 2002. I think I was a lot more drawn, especially back then, to the risks and to the high-flying, high-impact stuff. And it's not to say that that is gone, it's not gone, obviously. You see a lot of my matches will have a lot of high-impact stuff, but it's really to me more about the dramatics, and I think that's really the name of the game when you get to the WWE. It's really more about the story and the hunt and the chase and everything else, and I think that's where the real drama is and the real connections are made with the audience. Don't get me wrong. Jeff Hardy doing that Swanton off the ladder the first time is something so memorable and you'll replay that a thousand times over, but really... you know you probably don't remember every single move that those guys did back then in those TLC matches - those guys being the Hardyz and Dudleys and Edge and Christian. You don't remember all the crazy moves or the crazy risks they took, you just remember kind of how the matches made you feel, and the ride the match took you on. And I think ultimately that's more important than any singular move or risk or whatever you want to call it."
WWE Money In The Bank is tonight at 8/7c, and Fightul will have full coverage, including at post-show podcast.