World Wrestling Entertainment has been home to shifting conditions and allegations in recent months. Vince McMahon was forced to retire after a series of allegations came out against him, claiming he used corporate funds to pay hush-money to former female employees he sexually harassed.
With this quick exit from the WWE, McMahon was replaced as Head of Creative by Paul “Triple H” Levesque. Since, he has made a series of changes to the overall wrestling product. During his time at the helm. Triple H made a star in “The Honorary Uce” Sami Zayn. Zayn was a mid-card wrestler who was struggling to find his footing in the company until the summer of 2022. Zayn aligned himself with the Undisputed WWE Universal Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns and his family.
Zayn quickly became the heart of the group. His comedy based segments every week were winning fans over again and again. Sami coined several phrases that have become infamous among the wrestling audience. It was evident that Sami Zayn was becoming a star. However, he wasn’t the only one.
At Wrestlemania XXXVIII in April of 2022, former All Elite Wrestling founder and Executive Vice President Cody Rhodes returned to the company and shocked the world. The reactions were insane. The crowd saw him for the star that he was. He wrestled and defeated Seth Rollins at Wrestlemania, and again at Backlash a month later. He was on fire after these wins, but disaster was around the corner.
A week before the two were set to meet inside Hell in a Cell, Rhodes tore his pectoral muscle clean off the bone.
Many fans speculated that this would mean the cancellation of the match, but it didn’t. Cody Rhodes made his way to the ring that night accompanied by the nastiest bruising and swelling fans have ever seen. With a violet chest and shoulder, Cody finished the match in triumphant fashion, pinning Rollins for the third and final time.
After such an intense injury, Rhodes was forced to have a surgery, taking him out of the running for the remainder of 2022. That brings us to the convergence of these two men and their respective paths to Wrestlemaina this year.
At the 2023 Royal Rumble, Rhodes returned at number 30, and defeated the remaining superstars to claim his spot in the main event of Wrestlemania. He was to go against Roman Reigns for the unified titles. On the same night, Sami made himself the biggest babyface in the company, turning on Roman Reigns to save his friend Kevin Owens from a vicious beatdown at the hands of the Bloodline. Obviously this poses a big issue for the main event scene. Roman Reigns is one man with two totally legitimate challengers.
Sami Zayn took his shot against Reigns at the Elimination Chamber, taking place in Zayn’s hometown of Montreal. I was shocked by the insane reaction he received. It was like a real-life hero walked into the building. The two didn’t touch for nearly five full minutes because the crowd was reacting favorably to Zayn. It was an awesome moment and a great match, but Zayn couldn’t pull out the win. Roman walked out victorious once again.
A large portion of the WWE audience believe that Sami deserves another chance at Wrestlemania, but I disagree. There is no question in my mind, Zayn is a made man. He is officially a main-event star in the company, but I don’t believe his popularity constitutes him taking the spot that Rhodes fought hard to attain. Cody Rhodes should be the one to take on Roman at the biggest stage of them all. Sami had his chance and he couldn’t get the job done, think Cody can.
Rhodes put in years of work to become the “American Nightmare.” He’s a star and he deserves his chance to prove it against the greatest champion of our generation, maybe the greatest champion of all time.
I think Zayn will get his shot again, but this isn’t his time. Rhodes is headed to the main event where he belongs. Perhaps after he has dethroned the “Tribal Chief,” Cody will give Sami a shot against him for the titles. For now, stick to the plan and send the “Nightmare” to Hollywood in April, to finally become WWE champion.