Sami Zayn’s shared a little bit about what his trip to Saudi Arabia with WWE last week meant to him. It was also apparent in what we saw of and from him at Night of Champions in Jeddah on Sat., May 27.
He went into that in more depth during his appearance on the latest edition of Corey Graves & Kevin Patrick’s After The Bell podcast. Zayn, a Canadian Muslim of Syrian descent, also addressed rumors & reports about why he hadn’t worked a WWE show in the Middle East in years — a stretch that included the first eight events of the company’s lucrative contract with the Saudis.
What we’d heard was that issues between the Saudi & Syrian governments were preventing Sami from working shows like Crown Jewel and Night of Champions, but based on the WWE Tag champ’s comments, it doesn’t sound like those were accurate:
“It was a really, really, really kind of a heavy trip, to be honest. There was a lot that went into it.
“First of all, the fact that I haven’t been there in a few years, and that there’s been so much speculation as to why I’m not going and what’s the political reasoning, this and that. I won’t get into all of it, but I’ll tell you 99.9% of what you’ve read online about this subject — completely fabricated, people assuming things and then running with those assumptions and adding on to them. It’s wild. I think it’s anytime they can’t get a concrete answer, that’s kind of what tends to happen. I think that’s like human nature, almost.
“It’s been years since I’ve been back to the Middle East. I think the last time I was there was 20, maybe 16, in Dubai, possibly, so it’s been a little while. Of course, as you saw on the Premium Live Event, all this to say, I’m Arabic, I’m Muslim, all this stuff and that’s my part of the world. I understand those people, those are my people.
“When I went there, I got to go to Mecca, which was just a surreal, surreal experience. And then I also saw my Uncles that I hadn’t seen in 25 years, I had cousins I hadn’t seen in 25 years. I met my Great Uncle I didn’t even know who existed.
“So, it was pretty heavy in a lot of ways, it had a lot of weight. And then the actual event itself and the reception from the audience, it’s kind of what I’ve been waiting for for a while in a way because, again, I always felt I would have been the natural representative for those shows and I just wasn’t. So, it was good to finally be put in that position.”
Like crowds all over the world, the fans in Jeddah clearly loved Zayn. We shouldn’t have to wait too long before we see him on another show in the KSA, or the larger region.
We will probably be waiting a long time to hear more about why Sami didn’t have a role on shows that took place there over the past five years, though.