During the May 12th edition of WWE Backstage on FS1, it was announced that Sami Zayn will not be defending the WWE Intercontinental Championship going forward so WWE has vacated the title. A new champion will be determined by way of a tournament that is set to kick off this Friday on SmackDown.
BREAKING NEWS:@SamiZayn is unable to compete and defend the Intercontinental Championship, therefore @WWE has declared the title vacant. A tournament to crown a new Champion will begin on Friday Night Smackdown on FOX. pic.twitter.com/5qZgUyL9rC
On Monday, it was reported here on the site that the status of the Intercontinental Championship would be addressed this week, as Sami Zayn has not been present at the recent WWE tapings at the Performance Center.
Sami Zayn first won the title at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view in March and successfully defended the title against Daniel Bryan on night one of WrestleMania 36. In the aforementioned POST Wrestling story, it was noted that WWE would be introducing a spin-off of the ‘Wild Card’ rule that will allow talent from RAW and SmackDown to go back and forth between brands. On next week’s episode of RAW, WWE Champion Drew McIntyre is taking on SmackDown’s King Corbin.
I’ll probably get tomatoes thrown at me for saying this but that’s something that I’ve believed since day one; the brand split just doesn’t work. Even if the intent is there to create new stars, Vince still always goes back to the same guys and you alawys get to see the same matchups over and over again.
They haven’t had the IC Title on TV for six weeks with no clear end date to all of this in sight, I don’t really see it as vindictive toward Sami. As far as I know, he’s getting the same paycheck this week as he did last week.
It’s like the Saudi Arabia thing. WWE allows talent to choose not to go, but then you can’t blame them for focusing the major angles of that month around the talent that will be there.
(FWIW, I wish they weren’t running shows at all right now and I wish they didn’t have the Saudi deal. My comments are about the current reality, not the “perfect world” in which WWE clearly doesn’t operate.)
I honestly think it has more to do with them wanting to do a tournament to eat TV time more than the title not being on TV. I mean the US title has only been defended twice since the beginning of March. Same as the IC title. But they have access to Andrade so why not put the IC title up and have guys compete for it.
I mean by penalized I assume they mean financially or employment. I don’t think having their champion on the sideline give up the belt is really a penalty unless he is treated poorly when he comes back. That is like saying Becky is being penalized for getting pregnant. Now I could definitely see him being penalized longer afterwards because WWE. They could also have gone the interm champion route like they did with the Cruiserweight belt.
Yes. I will be the first to admit and the first to not be surprised if Sami Zayn is buried/underused once things are “back to normal”. But I don’t think taking a pro wrestling title off of him while he’s off TV for an extended period of time qualifies in these circumstances.
Oh I don’t think it’s punishment at all, just seems pointless.
Since the brand split is over, why is it necessary to even have the IC belt? Hell, I don’t think there is a reason to have two sets of tag belts even with a split. The IC title will do nothing for ratings or interest, doubt many fans even remembered it.
Totally agree with @Breng77, this is just a way to fill time.
I mean I think Championship wise WWE main roster would be best with
1 tag title
2 brand titles Raw and SD
1 WWE title
And that is it for the men, make the WWE title a big deal defended less frequently
1 singles title
Maybe one tag title
Very surprised that some are seeing this as a “punishment”. Like many have already said, if he comes back and gets buried, that is a punishment. Taking the title off of someone who is off TV indefinitely is not a punishment, its common sense.
Part of me hopes that Andrade wins the tournament and they unify the IC and US titles. It does make the tournament look as if it were pointless, but I hate how many titles there are.
In the literal sense, its because that is what the NXT booking committee/booker decided.
As to why? From my understanding Jordan Devlin is having travel issues, and I assume that the booking committee has more of an idea of what he will be back and are using this tournament to fill up time and set up a match upon his return. Two birds with one stone.
With Zayn, it sounds as if he doesn’t feel comfortable traveling during the pandemic. Since this is based on how Zayn feels opposed to a government guideline, I would imagine it would be a lot harder for WWE to predict when he will change his mind compared to when a travel restriction will be lifted.
Besides the point, its a different person making the decision in each respective case if you are attempting to point out a hypocrisy.
With all that said, I want to be clear, I am not saying that Zayn wont be punished, I am saying that I dont consider this the punishment. I hope he doesn’t get punished, guys is an amazing talent and I don’t believe he is doing anything wrong.
It’s WWE’s logic of “enforcing rules” when it’s appealing to them such as when Rollins pulled Rey out of the ring for the DQ. I remember back when Lesnar was champion, he would go months without defending his title though it was cool cause he had only so many appearances per year.
I don’t think it’s necessarily punishment by him losing the title, but it’s definitely condescending as Andrade kept his title while suspended for a wellness violation.