Sami Zayn is in the middle of the run of his career. The former NXT Champion linked up with The Bloodline earlier this year and has not looked back. Dubbed an "Honorary Uce" by Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, Zayn has emerged as the faction's most popular member, regularly garnering the loudest reactions from fans in attendance. While Zayn is in good graces with The Bloodline now, recent reports have indicated that he could find himself standing opposite Reigns come next February's WWE Elimination Chamber. That premium live event remains months away, but WWE has scattered seeds throughout 2022 that hint at the Anoa'i family turning on Zayn.
This long-term story of Zayn's relationship with The Bloodline is a narrative technique that was first recognized within Zayn by WWE Chief Content Officer Paul "Triple H" Levesque during his NXT days.
"Ages ago, Hunter [Triple H] told me this when I was in NXT, I forget exactly how he phrased it or why we were talking about it, but he said something along the lines of, 'You're a slow burn guy, you're a slow build,'" Zayn recalled while speaking to Peter Rosenberg (h/t Fightful). "I think he's kind of right about that."
Zayn continued by referencing his ties to Kevin Owens, who joined WWE shortly after Zayn burst onto the NXT scene. Before they shared a WWE ring, Zayn and Owens worked closely together on the independent circuit as El Generico and Kevin Steen.
"Even when I compare careers, Kevin (Owens) and I coming up together. It felt like, in a lot of places, Kevin would jump out at you a bit more. 'This Kevin guy is great,' then it would take a minute or two for them to come around eventually, whether it was the fans or the independents or a new territory or new company," Zayn continued. "Five or six months down the line, 'Oh, this act is really good and it delivers every time.'"
While he feels it takes more time, Zayn attributes his success to putting his best foot forward night in and night out.
"I think it comes down to delivering consistently," Zayn added. "It's tough to say. I don't know if you could have plugged me into Roman [Reigns's] spot and I would have been as accepted as Roman. For me, that character arc, you need to watch that progression. Then, it becomes a thing of, 'it's been two years, three years, five years, six years? This guy is always delivering for the last six years.' It's a slow and steady thing and the only way to come through is consistency. Being alongside Roman, where the level of investment is 100, always, for the audience and for the company and all sides, kind of put the pedal to the metal on that."
Zayn does not currently have an advertised segment or match for tonight's WWE SmackDown, but will likely accompany The Usos for their tag title defense against Sheamus and Butch.