Sami Zayn embarks on his WWE Raw singles run, to everyone’s joy


On Friday, we saw Kevin Owens join the SmackDown roster as the Player To Be Named Later in exchange for Jey Uso. This development now leaves Sami Zayn on Raw without a tag team partner, and he addressed this on Monday’s “season premiere” episode.

Zayn opened the show and talked about his departed friend and his conflicted feelings before proclaiming that he would prove himself as a world champion-level wrestler. However, before we learned more about Zayn’s plans, The Judgment Day interrupted the proceedings.

Like the cartoon villains that they are, Judgment Day said that they would permanently injure Zayn (instead of just attacking him), but Jey Uso ran down with a pair of chairs to help his friend fend off the heels. So, Zayn has at least one ally he can count on, right?

What else happened during Sami Zayn’s solo reintroduction?

Shortly after repelling Rhea Ripley and her pack of geeks, Uso and Zayn talked backstage. Zayn initially congratulated Uso on his success before lashing out at Uso over Owens’ departure. Once his frustration subsided, Zayn apologized to Uso, and the two mended fences. It was a sight that surely brought a smile to everyone’s face.

Well, everyone except Drew McIntyre. After his verbal sparring with Seth Rollins, McIntyre confronted Zayn and chastised him for easily forgiving Uso. He also noted that Zayn was too nice to be a legitimate world title contender, leading to Zayn challenging McIntyre to a match for next week.

You don’t need me to tell you that McIntyre and Zayn will probably have a great match if they receive enough time to tell a full in-ring story, but their encounter will also tell us a lot about where both men are in their respective journeys.

We are quickly approaching McIntyre’s big heel turn, and another match where he wrestles a beloved babyface will further reinforce the former WWE Champion’s new “me-first” outlook. And even though Zayn will probably lose to McIntyre — McIntyre has a title shot against Rollins coming up — how he loses will show how serious WWE is about pushing him as a singles star.

If Zayn gets pinned after, say, seven minutes of decent action, then there’s cause for concern. Thankfully, that isn’t likely to happen. The several references in this show to Zayn’s ability to “win the big one” (or one of “the big ones”) indicate that, at the very least, Zayn will get one crack at the world title.

Heck, with WWE sanctioning two world titles again, it makes the idea of Zayn winning one more plausible. It wouldn’t have the same impact that beating Roman Reigns would, but it would still mean a lot for everyone who thought that the moment would never happen.

Next. Nick Aldis would be an amazing in-ring performer for WWE. dark

So, in that context, fans can understand why WWE split up Zayn and Owens. After all, the promotion can always reunite them, but this is the best chance the company has to bestow magnanimous accolades on one of its most popular performers.