Sami Zayn challenged Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at the Elimination Chamber 2023 premium live event in his hometown of Montreal.
Unfortunately for Zayn, he couldn’t come out on top and failed to defeat The Tribal Chief.
Speaking on the Out Of Character podcast, Zayn discussed his loss to Reigns and said he wasn’t going to win because he’s obviously not the chosen guy in WWE:
“It was a little hard, you know, if you want the truth. It was a little hard because it’s, and I don’t think I’m being controversial when saying this, but I’m not the chosen guy, obviously.
I’ve been handed a lot of opportunities and I’ve delivered on a lot of those opportunities throughout my time in the company and I’m grateful for all of it, but clearly, I mean, I don’t think anyone would say like, ‘Oh, clearly he was being positioned to be the top guy or to be the most popular guy on the show.’ Obviously, that’s not the case, and that’s fine.
I guess in the back of your head, you’re always banking on your ability to get there, and somehow or another, you just feel like you’ll get there, and then it is hard to get there. It’s almost miraculous to get there, or to get one of these organic runs that the audience sort of wills into existence.
You could probably count them on one hand in the last 10 years with Daniel Bryan, Becky Lynch, Kofi Kingston, and myself, and who knows what’s happening with LA Knight, I feel like he’s starting to get a little bit of that right now at the moment, and good for him.
But all this to say, it’s like a lightning in the bottle type of thing. You don’t get it very often, and then you kind of get it, and you’re like, the story, the audience, your performance, all of it has like almost it’s just gotten you to the exact right place that you dreamed you’d be, and then when you get there, it’s like, you just kind of fall short and you don’t know if you’ll ever get it back.
So for sure that’s hard and you don’t know if you can do it again. Like I said, it’s only happened a handful of times in the last 10 years.
I still think the investment and the equity that I have with the audience from that storyline, I think I’ve penetrated a lot of hearts to where I’ll stick around there for a while because I’ve made them feel all these feelings that I was just talking about a moment ago.
I took them on that ride and when somebody takes you on that ride and they penetrate your heart, they’re in there, and they got to do a lot to get out of there, you know, so now you’re probably going to cheer for him for years to come. So I got a lot out of that story. Don’t get me wrong, it goes without saying.
If and when I do get to that mountain top again, or I get in the title picture and I’m the big challenger, or trying to fulfill my destiny, or whatever it is, it might still get there, but it’ll just have a different feel. It’ll still be part of the overarching story of the character. But it just felt like one of those things like man, I forced their hand as much as humanly possible, but still just a buck short, you know, and it was a hard pill to swallow, for sure it was, even though you kind of know what the plan is or where things are headed or this and that.
There’s kind of this hope that you hold on to like, ‘Yeah, but if the crowd is loud enough, and the story is good enough, like, it’s kind of right there’, and it kind of felt like we got right there, about as close as any human being on Earth can get without actually getting there. Like, that’s as close as anyone on Earth has ever come without getting there.
But it’s fine because getting there on its own is an amazing feat. I mean, what I mean by getting there is not beating Roman, but getting to that match everyone wants you to beat Roman and getting an audience in that frenzy, and experiencing an audience like that, again, being a part of a story like that, very few people on Earth can say they’ve ever done that.
Like I said, it enabled me to penetrate the hearts of so many fans to where now I’m just, I’m in their good graces, regardless of the storyline that I’m in next. They just, they love me because I made them feel all these different feelings, and that means a lot to me.
I don’t have bad things to say about anything involving that story, but if you’re asking me was it a tough pill to swallow to come that close and not quite make it? I’d be lying if I said no, it didn’t bother me at all.
For sure there was a part of me that had problems digesting that.”
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