Sami Zayn has made an immediate impact since joining WWE’s main roster full-time in March. The Montreal native has contended for the Intercontinental title, feuded with Kevin Owens and become a mainstay on WWE programming.
However, Zayn currently finds himself in wrestling purgatory heading into SummerSlam. The second-biggest pay-per-view of the year is two weeks away and the former NXT Champion doesn’t have a feud.
Zayn didn’t appear on this week’s episode of Raw. Instead, he wrestled Curtis Axel on Superstars. During his last two Raw appearances, Zayn lost to Roman Reigns in a Fatal 4-Way match and Seth Rollins in the following week’s main event.
Granted, those were two big matches against top-tier Superstars. The Reigns match was for a chance to face Finn Bálor for the WWE Universal Championship No. 1 contendership. The Rollins match ended the show.
But neither did anything to help Zayn build a notable feud heading into SummerSlam. Plus, he isn’t working double duty in NXT, so he won’t be featured in a match at TakeOver.
So is there anything left for Zayn? There should be, considering he’s consistently been in the best matches at each pay-per-view.
Zayn and Nakamura stole the show at TakeOver: Dallas. His ladder match at WrestleMania was one of the best on the card. Each of his singles matches against Owens at Payback and Battleground were among the best of the year, as was the Fatal 4-Way Intercontinental title match at Extreme Rules.
So why can’t WWE find a feud for one of its most consistent workers of 2016? Let’s keep in mind that Zayn is also incredibly over with the audience as an underdog babyface as well.
There’s no reason for Zayn not to participate in SummerSlam. However, he’s been booked into a corner since the event is less than a week away. It would seem forced to put Zayn in a feud now.
Every other relevant Raw Superstar is already in an angle. There is no opportunity for a multi-man match for a midcard title or a battle royal for a No. 1 contendership.
Zayn should have been Neville’s mystery tag-team partner on Monday against the Dudleyz. At least then the feud would have had potential. Instead, Neville’s partner was the underwhelming Sin Cara and the match became less interesting.
At least with Zayn you have someone who shared a history with Neville. The two had a competitive feud that ultimately saw Zayn defeat Neville for the NXT Championship.
Let’s not forget that Zayn made his full-time debut by running in to save Neville from Kevin Owens’ post-match beating. Sure, it’s not a world championship match, but at least the pairing would be interesting for fans of both Superstars.
But that was the last realistic option for getting Zayn on the SummerSlam card. At least there will be plenty of time for him to compete at future events.
Zayn has enjoyed an excellent run in his first few months on the main roster and should continue to build into a top babyface star. He, alongside Owens, Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns are expected to be the nucleus of WWE’s roster for several years.
There will be opportunities for the “Underdog From the Underground” to wrestle at SummerSlam again. However, it doesn’t seem like WWE has anything for him in 2016.