Friday, September 18, 2020

Smackdown to Crown New Champ as WWE Strips Sami Zayn of IC Title

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The WWE has stripped Sami Zayn of the Intercontinental Championship due to his lack of title defenses.

Sami Zayn (real name Rami Sebei) has declined to defend his title since “Wrestlemania 36,” due to concerns over the current global pandemic. He is not the only WWE wrestler to decline to wrestle under current conditions as Roman Reigns has also passed on risking his health.

Sami Zayn is notoriously quiet about his family life. He is married, so there may be more people in his life at risk with health concerns he is protecting or other personal reasons to avoid competition during the pandemic.

[Former?] WWE Champ Sami Zayn, photo by Ralph Arvesen

Despite the WWE reportedly allowing wrestlers to make their own decision about working during the pandemic, Sami Zayn being stripped of his title is a surprise. Sami Zayn also has no worked in the Saudi Arabia events owing to his Syrian heritage. But, WWE is an “essential business” and the show must go on.

Sami Zayn being stripped of his title is just another potential mistake in a series of blunders recently by the WWE. Vince McMahon may have lost some major money, including some WWE money, in the (second) XFL failure. There was pushback against the WWE being labeled essential in Florida. The WWE has also furloughed or otherwise released numerous big names and long-term employees during the pandemic – including Kurt Angle, Rusev, and Referee Mike Chioda – despite still seeing quite a bit of profit.

[Former?] WWE Champ Sami Zayn, photo by Ralph Arvesen

“Smackdown” airs Fridays on FOX, check local listings for times.

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