Sami Zayn lost his bid to capture the WWE Undisputed Universal Championship in front of his hometown in Montreal on Saturday at Elimination Chamber.
Roman Reigns’ 900-day dominion over the title will roll on to WrestleMania 39 in the main event against Royal Rumble winner Cody Rhodes.
While Cody Rhodes is WWE’s top babyface, Sami Zayn has engaged in an odyssey with The Bloodline that has not only produced one of the greatest storylines in company history but has made Zayn WWE’s most popular babyface.
The finish to Saturday’s main event begs the question, did WWE make the right call?
Many feel Zayn should have dethroned Reigns. If wrestling is more about storytelling than the merits of bell-to-bell action, WWE should have capitalized on Zayn’s momentum.
However, despite perfect circumstances for a legendary moment, he was never going to win, especially with WrestleMania around the corner.
Big-time moments shape the industry, but is it worth it to potentially undercut Rhodes for Zayn?
Cody Rhodes has been the favorite to topple Reigns since he beat Seth Rollins last June with a horrific pectoral injury. No one could fathom anyone other than “The American Nightmare” as the chosen one. Then, along came Sami Zayn’s most Ucey adventure launching him to superstardom.
The Rhodes/Zayn dynamic has drawn comparisons to Daniel Bryan and Batista nine years ago heading into WrestleMania 30. Fans were so behind Bryan that WWE thought it was an anomaly and believed bringing back Batista was all sorts of awesome.
However, the company completely misread the room. Instead of returning as the conquering hero, the audience rejected Batista because he was cast in a role that Bryan rightfully deserved. WWE stubbornly stayed the course until the audience became too loud to ignore, and put the title on Bryan.
In the case of Rhodes and Zayn, they’re both highly popular but as much as the fans want to see Rhodes win the title, they want Zayn to win it even more.
Zayn’s journey is enveloped in betrayal and revenge. Stopping WWE’s resident mob boss in Reigns is a personal vendetta. Interest in his story drastically drops in a post-Bloodline world.
Rhodes’ path is not tied to an individual but to the championship. He wants to win it for his father. It doesn’t matter who holds the gold. It just happens to be Roman Reigns.
WWE got it right on Saturday because Sami Zayn’s popularity lives and dies with The Bloodline. Cody Rhodes is built to end a legendary reign and thwart challenger after challenger.
Zayn is a product of a great story while Rhodes potentially is the product.
One thought on “Did WWE Get It Right?”
I never gave much thought to Sami Zayn, but he took the opportunity given to him, and transformed it into something special. I want Cody to win the title, but I agree with you that Zayn also deserves to win.