Sami Zayn recently spoke to The Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast, here are some highlights from the interview:
WWE moving passed stereotypical character: “Yeah, well, I’d like to think that we’ve kind of evolved passed that in the [pro] wrestling business. [It is] probably not entirely true. See what our WWE Champion Jinder Mahal is currently [doing]… even he’s not like a stereotypical Indian in a way, the new school. There [are intricacies]. I mean, the 80s was just a different time.”
“That change has really only happened recently. I’d say, I don’t know, in the last generation, if you want to call it that. I don’t think you have to be the thing that you are and I don’t think you have to be that simple. Japanese guy? Come out and bow. Or Irish guy? Do a little jig. There’s no Arab guy, ‘yeah, put on a turban.’ We’re passed that. And I’m proud of that. I’m proud to see that the company that I dreamed of working for my entire life that I’m not fortunate enough to work for, which is the WWE, I don’t have to fit into these boxes anymore. None of us do.”
Ska influence for his character and how it was integrated into his character: “Yeah, [ska music was foreign to WWE brass] and It’s not something that I actively pitched or something. God, I don’t know if I want to get into the whole story. The nuts and bolts is they kind of picked up on the fact that I liked that kind of music, that I’m into punk or ska or whatever it is, and they were like, ‘oh, you like this kind of music?’ The music I had at the time was pretty generic stock [music], like ‘dun-nun-nun-nun-nun, juh-juh-juh-juh-juh-juh [emulating a heavy guitar riff]’ and it really wasn’t me. And then, Hunter, Triple H, thought… Paul to me, Triple H to you, but he got wind of it and he was like, ‘oh, that’s who you are and that’s the kind of music you like. We can do something that’s more in tune with who you are as a person in real life.’ So again, it goes back to that thinking of like, not fitting into these boxes and bringing out who you really are and playing that up and amplifying that.”
Zayn’s response to Roberts on the suggestion that his current TV persona is annoying: “I hate the word ‘annoying’! I don’t know, ‘enthusiastic’ perhaps. Well, not to get into the whole thing, but it’s all about the interaction with these other characters, so if you’re going to roll your eyes at me, I’m annoying, but if you find it, like, charming, which it could be, and because it’s aspects of my real life personality, and there have been times, I’m sure, that I’ve annoyed people. And there have been some times, I’m sure, that I’ve charmed some people.” Zayn added, “if you’re going to sell it, so to speak, as endearing, it’s endearing. But if you’re going to have guys rolling their eyes, then, ‘urgh, this guy.’ Then, it’s whatever you make it to be.”
His character being in a state of flux: “The character is in flux, I would say definitely because there [are] aspects of the character, and I don’t want to drone on and on about this too much, but there [are] aspects of the character that’s about always standing your ground, and fighting the good fight, and always trying to do things the right way, like an upstanding guy. And again, aspects of that were more in display, let’s say, when I was doing a program with Braun Strowman, this insurmountable oppressor, so I was, like, standing up to an oppressor and standing up to tyranny. Right. And then, like a week later, I’m George Costanza, so the character is in this strange sort of position at the moment. Yeah, and exactly, I think there is a balance and I think the balance, the middle ground, is me, the real me, because I am both of those.”
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