Sorry, WWE Fans, Heel Sami Zayn Won't Be an Overnight Success

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Feed Source: WWE Bleacher Report

Sami Zayn's first steps in his new heel skin were encouraging but still awkward. 

The WWE SmackDown star is a natural babyface, an endearing underdog with aw-shucks charisma. As he embraced his blood rival Kevin Owens, called him his brother and moved firmly toward the dark side, it was clear there will be growing pains in his transformation into a villain on the blue brand.

In one of the most shocking moments of the year, Zayn yanked Owens off a table to save him from getting crushed by a leaping Shane McMahon at Sunday's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.

He and KO had been enemies ever since the powerhouse celebrated Zayn's NXT title win by smashing him against a ring apron. Zayn was the pure-of-heart warrior; Owens was the vindictive evildoer. The roles fit both men perfectly.

And now, there's been a major shift. Zayn explained himself on Tuesday's SmackDown, expressing his frustrations with McMahon and pledging his allegiance to the man he has long traded haymakers with.

Zayn did well here. Given a logical story, he didn't come across as a cartoon villain.

Although, as noted, Zayn still has some lingering babyface mannerisms:

That's not surprising. It's going to take some serious time for The Underdog from the Underground to go from beloved to booed.

Few guys were born to be babyfaces the way Zayn is. He looks like a good guy. He's the guy at the party you know you can ask for a ride home even though you only just met. 

This is the dude who founded a mobile medical clinic in Syria. Zayn often speaks out on social issues on Twitter. By all accounts, he's a certified nice guy.

And as a smaller, less chiseled wrestler who has been wrestling around the globe chasing his dream for years, he's an underdog one can't help but root for. 

Former WCW manager Missy Hyatt compared Zayn to Daniel Bryan as a babyface back in January:

That path would be the more natural one for him. Being a heel will have him go against the grain. And while he's talented enough to pull it off, it will be a tough transition.

WWE can help him out with the small details of his total presentation.

His change in his look would help. Perhaps he shaves his head. 

And as PWTorch columnist Wade Keller noted, Zayn entrance's theme needs to be retooled: "Sami's music shouldn't be allowed to be used for him as a heel, though. It's just too damn uplifting and positive sounding. Just slow it down or something so it sounds dark and ominous instead."

After WWE gives him the cosmetic changes he needs, it will then be up to the Canadian high-flyer to grow into his villain character.

Switching sides proved to be a huge boost for Neville, The Usos and Alexa Bliss. It's now Zayn's turn to prove he can thrive in this new role, one that has been far from his forte to this point. And that's going to take time.

Zayn is too good and pure to be the second coming of Owens at a moment's notice.

Read more Pro Wrestling news on


WWE Superstars join for fun-filled challenges

Chris Jericho's Best, Worst and Most Outrageous Moments in WWE Career

WWE Royal Rumble 2018 Perfect Time For a Sheamus and Cesaro Breakup

5 Possible Pairings of Legends from the Past and Present on WWE Raw 25

WWE Dream Matches for War Machine, Ricochet and Candice LeRae

ROH World Champ Dalton Castle Goes Live This Wednesday On Facebook

Bullet Club and The Kingdom Face Off In Honor Reigns Supreme Main Event

ROH Recap: ROH World Champion Dalton Castle and The Boys vs The Kingdom