Book or Cook? The Booking of Sami Zayn

Brian Damage, Craig Wilson, Benjamin Trecroci and Earl Marx

The WWE roster is filled with “superstars” at every level. There are the main roster guys who regularly appear on Raw and SmackDown, those who are used as glorified jobbers and those who are barely used at all. In this series of pieces, we will take an individual wrestler barely used and decide if they are worth keeping or should they be let go. Today we decide if we Book or Cook Sami Zayn.

Brian: I know it might seem crazy or “inzayn” to have a wrestler as talented as Sami Zayn get the Book or Cook treatment but let’s be honest, what has Zayn done the last few months with the WWE? Aside from winning the NXT title. his U.S. title open match against John Cena and his superb feud with his good friend Kevin Owens, not a whole lot. The ‘Underdog from the Underground’ has seemingly floundered on both Raw and Smackdown Live.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming Sami Zayn for his shortcomings on the main roster. I really blame WWE creative for not giving Zayn enough quality storylines where we can really root for Zayn to succeed. Lately, all we have seen is Zayn backstage in segments with his old foe Kevin Owens and not much else. Is it a case of WWE not knowing what to properly do with Sami Zayn or has he completely lost steam within the company?

Craig: I’m a huge fan of Sami Zayn so, showing my hand early, it’s going to take a lot here to recommend a cooking for him. Remember his pop at the 2016 Royal Rumble? It was huge. Yet for reasons not only to themselves, the WWE hasn’t sought to capitalise on that. Is it his size? Is he not a ‘Vince guy’? For whatever reason it is, as you say, Brian, Zayn has absolutely floundered on both Raw and Smackdown. The backstage angles with his arch-nemesis Owens are entertaining but are they leading anywhere? Are we getting a slow build to a big set match between the two or is it just a filler, giving Zayn something to do in the meantime?

For me, he is criminally underused by the WWE. There’s a hugely talented, over and charismatic star in there but the WWE appears intent on not using that. Which is both odd and, also, a crying shame.

Benjamin: It is ridiculous what has happened to Sami Zayn. Yeah, a ton of people like myself say “let’s push Luke Harper or Erick Rowan, etc”, but Sami Zayn not being a major player right now is downright depressing.

His feud with Kevin Owens in 2016 should’ve culminated in a Wrestlemania match but instead, it was hodgepodge IC ladder match won by Zack Ryder of all people. It looked like he was finally getting that push, but then not so much.

Really thought his beat down feud with Braun Strowman was leading to underdog story that would culminate in a title run. Then that “fired” story with Mick Foley felt like something big was going to come out of it, but nope. He’s moved to Smackdown and he’s still not a major star?!?

He’s still “around” Kevin Owens but he’s basically in the back waiting his turn. At this point, he should just make a deal with the devil (K.O.) and rejoin his buddy.

So I’m still on board but come on let’s BOOK HIM already!

Russ: For me, Sami Zayn is in WWE purgatory. He’s not being used to his potential and is in real danger of not just being lost in the shuffle but in real danger of becoming a permanent jobber. He is over, yet he hasn’t had a decent storyline in months. He needs something to get his teeth into.

Earl:I’ll start by admitting I am a Sami Zayn fan. I have been for quite a while. I remember him being El Generico and thinking that “wow…this guy can go!” When I saw Sami’s lengthy stay in NXT, I knew that it could be something special if given the right platform. Then his main roster run began. I, probably like many, have been more than underwhelmed. Something has been totally missing here.

I actually was talking with a friend once about wrestlers he knew from the internets. He named all of these guys off and I did not know a single one. He said “yeah.. XYZ would be a star in WWE…this guy too..” I told him to remember this – the AVERAGE, main roster WWE fan is NOT the same as the NXT fan/deep internet fan. The NXT fan is old enough to access the internet and go on a search for the past of the superstars we see. The average WWE fan is not doing that. This, (in my opinion) is the reason there is such a disconnect in wrestling today compared to maybe 15-20 years ago. If people think you put on the best matches that translates into being the world champion…or being the most entertaining. I think we’ve seen it doesn’t work like that. Sometimes…the guy who can deliver a sloppy Stunner…or a big Leg Drop..or a quirky eyebrow can go on to become HUGE stars while guys who can deliver “5-star” matches can’t get the average fan to care enough to see him. This is the case with Sami.

I am a fan and I just cannot vote to “Cook”. I strongly vote to “Book”. He needs a personality angle that can work for him. When he feuded with Owens, it did MUCH more for Owens than it did for Zayn. There were layers to KO’s anger to Zayn. To me, Zayn was just a victim and we didn’t go further. He’s got to get in touch with a character people can relate to. This won’t be easy. But..if it can be done, Zayn will be on our TV each week. He’s a lovable underdog like Daniel Bryan, but the situation is slightly different. Until then, he’ll be hit and miss with the main roster audience. I wish the best for Mr. Zayn.

Certainly a lot of support for Sami Zayn in this one. There’s no doubting his popularity but he needs a change of fortunes soon otherwise he’ll get lost. Got a view? Share it below in the comments section.

You can read all previous ‘Book or Cook?’ pieces here.

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