Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn with the roles flipped ought to be enjoyable

In case you had a time machine and traveled again to, say, 2012 and advised a Ring of Honor fan who simply watched Kevin Steen and El Generico destroy one another within the firm’s fourth Ladder Conflict match at that yr’s Last Battle present that these two would have a match at a WrestleMania as Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, you’ll most likely get two reactions.

First, the individual would clearly freak out upon studying that leaping via time was doable. As soon as the shock of that information wore off, they might then reply with a mixture of astonishment over this feud reaching such a excessive level combined with concern over it devolving right into a watered-down model of what they only noticed.

In each instances, this individual can be proper, particularly after you advised them that Steen/Owens can be the babyface on this match and Generico/Zayn can be the heel. That’s certainly what we’re getting at WrestleMania 37, however the inverted dynamic really provides to the intrigue surrounding this match.

The roles are flipped within the newest Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn match.

When it comes to character growth, these are two human beings on diverging paths which have reached an intersection over the previous few episodes of SmackDown. Owens, as soon as a ruthless, results-driven prizefighter who enacted deplorable deeds all the time patted his companions on the again with a purpose to discover the perfect spot to stay the knife, has spent the higher a part of the final two years making an attempt to atone for his previous actions, at the same time as that previous comes again to hang-out him.

Sami Zayn is the most recent and best manifestation of those previous demons.

Zayn — who’s now lightyears faraway from the scrappy, affable, honorable grappler who captured the followers’ hearts in NXT (the antithesis of all the things Owens was) — has now devolved right into a paranoid, conspiratorial, wormy antagonist who mines for controversy the place little or none exists, a course of that started with him foregoing his ethics to save lots of Kevin Owens from a diving Shane McMahon manner again in 2017.

Understanding that, is it any shock that Zayn — who has been rebuffed by babyfaces and heels alike each time he brings up his theories — would hope count on Owens, who has skilled his personal storyline points with WWE administration as lately as 2019, to grasp his perceived plight? And isn’t it comprehensible that Zayn would lose it as soon as Owens responded to his issues the identical manner everybody else has? In spite of everything, this was a monster that Owens considerably created.

In fact, that connection is why Owens tried to calmly get via to Zayn within the weeks previous to this match announcement. It’s even why Owens briefly entertained Zayn’s conspiracies on the March 19 episode of SmackDown earlier than Zayn flipped out and Helluva Kicked Owens when Owens wasn’t wanting. And it’s additionally why Zayn delivered a honest apology to Owens for that assault on “The Kevin Owens Present” on this previous Friday’s episode of SmackDown; even after that assault, Zayn nonetheless desires (and desires) Owens to consider and assist him. As a substitute, Zayn should struggle his previous good friend on WWE’s largest stage.

Some followers will argue that WWE randomly reheating the Owens/Zayn feud and flipping the roles is one other instance of WWE filling out the midcard of its pay-per-views on the final minute — although Owens and Zayn kind of planted the seeds for this at this previous February’s Elimination Chamber present — however given how a lot shared backstory these two have, the corporate may’ve introduced this on the WrestleMania pre-show, ill-advised as that will be, and the warmth for this one would nonetheless be there, even if you happen to’ve solely adopted their WWE historical past.

Whereas the match doesn’t carry the gravitas that their wars in ROH and even their traditional at Battleground 2016 did (a variety of that’s because of how WWE has booked Owens and Zayn over the previous few months), there’s nonetheless greater than sufficient juice right here for these two to make this as compelling as doable. In fact, Jake Paul’s unwelcome look on subsequent week’s SmackDown may squeeze all that juice out like The Unimaginable Hulk grabbing a Capri Solar pouch, however let’s not dwell on that but.

For now, let’s admire what Owens and Zayn have given us over the past a number of weeks with the inverted dynamics whereas salivating over the kind of match they might put collectively for WrestleMania. Sure, there’s a non-zero probability that WWE offers them 10-12 minutes to inform a primary “Sami avoids KO earlier than KO will get a maintain of Sami and beats him” story, however even a state of affairs like that or one (which may lead to Zayn lastly realizing that there’s no conspiracy and Owens was simply the higher man) the place Zayn slowly rediscovers his combating spirit may very well be a very good first step in one other long-term story between the 2 that might finish with Zayn reverting again to his babyface methods.

Think about that: a storyline the place KEVIN OWENS aids Zayn in reclaiming his misplaced soul (which concurrently mends the remainder of Owens’). It is probably not how ROH followers within the early 2010s envisioned this story turning out nor how viewers who noticed them in NXT anticipated these renewed hostilities to go, however that doesn’t make this chance any much less fascinating.



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