Talk is Jericho – The Mental State of Sami Zayn
Release date: December 21, 2018
Recap by: Caitlin Lavelle
Sami Zayn on his Injury & Time-Off
Sami Zayn, who has been off WWE since June while recovering from double shoulder surgery, says he has been loving his time off and doesn’t currently miss anything about travelling with the company.
Zayn, who had staggered surgeries to repair his rotator cuffs, says his injuries were different on each arm – he says the damage to his right shoulder was a inopportune injury that required an immediate response, while his left shoulder had been a nagging injury that he was putting off addressing for some time prior to surgery. He says he ultimately decided to undergo the surgery out of fear for the safety of the other performers he was in the ring with, as well as results from an MRI that revealed a torn labrum.
Sami says he knows he’ll enjoy being in WWE once he gets back, but admits that he’s, “definitely not itching,” to return. Zayn says this is more time than he has ever had off in his career, and that he’s been, “philosophizing and thinking.” Zayn says someone suggested he should do a YouTube vlog based on his musings, entitled, “Spare Time with Sami Zayn.” Zayn says he attempted to tape his first vlog immediately after surgery while still in the hospital, but felt stupid and gave it up after about six seconds.
Jericho and Zayn mention that Jericho has remarkably only ever undergone one surgery in his career, for a broken arm in Smoky Mountain Wrestling in 1994.
Sami says the highlights of his time off from WWE include performing two improv sets, having conversations with his friends Jimmy Jacobs (who he reveals attended rehab shortly following his WWE departure), and a European vacation where he visited Switzerland, Norway & Iceland.
Rehabbing at the WWE Performance Center
Zayn say that he’s been sharing his thoughts on the world and his outlook with the performers and staff at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando while he’s been rehabbing his injury. He says that no one, “kisses my ass,” at the PC, and that this doesn’t bother him, although he admits that it would have bothered him at one point in his career due to his ego and misguided concept of what it means to show respect in the wrestling business at that time.
Sami says he thinks he may be driving some people crazy, including WWE Athletic Trainer Brian Duncan, who he says will rarely remind Sami that he’s there to rehab his injury, not talk.
Mixed Feelings on Social Media
Sami says he still wants to maintain a level of privacy on social media, and that he thinks this goes back to working under a mask as El Generico on the independent wrestling scene and protecting his identity as a result. Zayn says he still draws a line when it come to fan access to his personal life.
Zayn and Jericho discuss the positives and negatives of social media, including Sami’s fundraiser for Syria, which was promoted exclusively on social media, and resulted in the funding of a mobile clinic in the country that ran for a year and provided 8,000 medical services to Syrians.
Sami commends performers like Becky Lynch who have used Twitter in a, “cool way,” to get themselves over, but doesn’t think he’d want to engage in the same type of interactions on social media anymore. He says that while ripping xenophobes to shreds on Twitter used to give him a high, he now feels like it just contributes to the toxic culture of bullying on social media.
Sami on his High School Yearbook, Quitting Meat & Letting Go of Ego
Sami says he wishes he could change his high school yearbook blurb and that he cringes when he looks at it now. He wishes he’d used the William Shakespeare quote, “Nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so,” instead of, “You catch more flies with honey then vinegar.”
Sami also says he’s quit eating meat, because he disagreed with the industrialization of the meat industry and the mistreatment of animals and wanted to confront his own hypocrisy and stop giving them his money. He says he’s, “tried not to be preachy,” about this change.
In general, Zayn says he’s trying to become more forgiving and empathetic, but that he’s a bit worried how, “letting go of ego,” will impact his WWE career. Sami says that watching the show during his time off has helped him recognize patterns and formulas that are overdone, but although he says he wants to do something different when he comes back to WWE, he knows how easy it is to fall back into those same patterns.
Sami on Survivor Series
Because this was recorded in November, Zayn and Jericho talk about Survivor Series. Zayn says that watching Survivor Series did make him miss performing, and that loves performing and considers himself a performer, “above all else.”
Sami says he loved Buddy Murphy and Mustafa Ali’s Survivor Series match and that it was the, “only match on the card where you could feel the hunger in their work.” He also says Charlotte vs. Ronda Rousey & Daniel Bryan vs. Brock Lesnar were both awesome matches, but that he was bummed out by the Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura match because both Seth and Shinsuke are, “two great guys and great workers,” whose match was lost in the shuffle.
Improv and Other Interests
Sami talks about performing improv in Montreal during his time away from WWE with his friend James McGee, a former independent wrestler who went by the name Twiggy. Zayn talks a lot about his improv experiences so far and how wrestling has prepared him for improv.
Sami tells Jericho that he admires his, “renaissance man,” approach to his life, and would love to be in a band, write a book and have a TV show like Jericho has. He says he finds Jericho inspiring.
Because Jericho and Zayn have discussed Archie comics on a previous podcast, they talk about Riverdale. Sami says he hates the show, and that he’s sick of attractive people being shoved down his throat. He says the best shows, “aren’t filled with obscenely attractive people.”
Sami says he’s spoken with Neville frequently since he parted ways with WWE, and that Neville, “seems like he’s really happy.” Sami says he has a lot of love and respect for Neville, and that although Neville has told him that he’s had a lot of money thrown his way from independent promoters, Neville has never been driven by money. Zayn speculates that this may have been one of Neville’s issues while working for WWE.
Jericho says that The Young Bucks and Cody tried to get Neville to perform at All In, but that Neville wanted to make his return at Dragon Gate out of loyalty to the company.
Zayn says Neville’s dream is to be a mailman, calling him a, “simple man who wants a simple life,” who just happens to love wrestling and won’t, “sell his soul for a few extra bucks.”
Sami and Jericho talk about how coincidental it is that Sami is injured at the same time as Kevin Owens, and that the two also have similar timelines for rehabbing and returning from their injuries. Sami says their careers have always mirrored one another and their names have always been linked, and that they can’t get away from each other.
Sami says, “I’m sure (Kevin Owens) would like to get away a little bit. There’s times I’d like to get away a little bit, but it’s all good.”
Sami Zayn’s Airport Resolution
Sami says his time off from WWE has, “made me okay with when I can’t do this anymore,” and has made him more grateful and given him a better perspective. He says he’s realized that he’s often at his worst at airports and is, “sometimes a jerk to fans.” He says he’s been thinking about it and now realizes that instead of ruining someone’s day or their image of him, he can be nice for five to ten seconds, make their day, and shape the way they see their role models.
I liked this podcast more than I probably should have. Sami Zayn is an interesting guy who I’ve missed hearing from more than I had realized. This conversation is loose, a little bit wandering and a lot of fun.
Caitlin is a wrestling fan who hopes to one day discover that she is the illegitimate daughter of Vincent Kennedy McMahon and the rightful Anonymous RAW General Manager. Until then, she’ll keep on living in Orlando, Florida with her husband and son.