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Sami Zayn’s Work With The Bloodline Has Everyone’s Attention—Even The Undertaker

‘Sami is a vital part of the whole thing, and he’s never been a bigger star,’ Mark Calaway says.’s Week in Wrestling is published every week and provides beneath-the-surface coverage of the business of pro wrestling.

Sami Zayn’s work with The Bloodline has even caught the attention of The Undertaker

The foreshadowing was abundantly clear at Survivor Series.

A subtle-yet-significant gaze from Roman Reigns to Sami Zayn at the end of the show was performed in silence, yet was as loud as thunder. Even after their triumphant WarGames match, where Zayn helped defeat Kevin Owens and led The Bloodline to victory, it became apparent that the curtain is ready to fall on Zayn’s tenure as an “Honorary Uce.”

Video surfaced from Sunday’s house show of Zayn and Jey Uso engaging in their own custom handshake, further indicating that the end is near for Zayn. But what a magnificent run it has been. Zayn brought new life to an already compelling act in Reigns, Paul Heyman and The Usos. Solo Sikoa is still finding his place in The Bloodline, and the top heel act is receiving thunderous cheers. Zayn’s parting gift to the group before becoming an industry fan favorite will be helping in both of those areas, too.

A vicious turn on Zayn will finally add some vitriol when people boo The Bloodline. Orchestrated by Reigns, who will have The Usos and Sikoa do his dirty work, this has the potential to reinvigorate the group as villains. And if the plan is to build Zayn into a contender for Reigns at Elimination Chamber in February—which will take place in Montreal at a venue not far from where Zayn once wrestled in churches and halls as an aspiring, ambitious indie talent—then it will be a stroke of genius. Incredibly, as dexterous as Zayn is as a heel, his defining moment is going to be as a fan favorite.

Who could have imagined that one of the top on-screen moments of the year in WWE would be a sequence where Reigns rips a shirt off Zayn, then presents him a new one? The storytelling has been masterful, and it has connected across the fan base–and with an icon of the industry as well.

Zayn’s work with The Bloodline has caught the attention of The Undertaker, who, like the rest of us, cannot wait to see what happens next.

“Sami’s character is so intriguing in that whole mix,” says Mark Calaway, who became a legendary figure during his three decades performing as The Undertaker. “It is very clear who The Bloodline is and what they stand for, and they go out and do their deal. But adding Sami, that gives so many more layers. Plus, you have that tension between Sami, The Usos and Roman. It works so well.”

Stepping on-screen beside Reigns and Heyman has served as an opportunity for Zayn to show off just how polished of a performer he is, as well as highlight his versatility. A 20-year veteran of the industry, Zayn is at the point now where he is more comfortable and confident in the ring than ever before. His work is so entertaining that it is also allowing Reigns and The Usos to demonstrate even more of their personalities.

“Sami is a vital part of the whole thing, and he’s never been a bigger star,” Calaway says. “But this is also important for The Bloodline. It gives them something new. Roman has been champion for over two years. That means he has to go out and beat everyone he faces, right? That’s tough. But it’s a new dynamic with Sami in there.”

Just like the rest of us, Calaway will be watching, excited to learn how the angle unfolds.

“How can you not enjoy this?” Calaway says. “It’s great storytelling.”

The (online) week in wrestling

  • The Elite had their fun last week in their match against Death Triangle with some callbacks to CM Punk’s time in AEW, including Kenny Omega hitting the GTS. It reminded me of when Omega and The Young Bucks would wear their Booty-O shirts and call out The New Day, even though that match was not going to happen.
  • Jamie Hayter is now the only women’s world champion in AEW.
  • Kevin Owens is setting himself up nicely to be the next challenger for Roman Reigns.
  • If Chris Jericho defeats Claudio Castagnoli at Ring of Honor’s Final Battle, then Castagnoli will have to join the Jericho Appreciation Society. Could this signal a reunion for Castagnoli and Jake Hager?
  • After he was recently granted bail in an ongoing attempted murder case, Cain Velasquez will wrestle this Saturday for AAA.
  • It was a lot of fun to be back with Danny Picard on his new show.

Jamie Hayer, MJF title victories signal new era in AEW

When Jamie Hayter reappeared a year ago, the plan wasn’t for her to become champion. Hayter’s job was to support and bolster Dr. Britt Baker, which was a role she certainly fulfilled. Along the way, she also made a genuine impression on the fan base, who clamored for her to become champ.

Hayter won the interim women’s title at Full Gear, garnering a louder reaction from the crowd than popular babyface champ Toni Storm. Last week, AEW removed the interim tag from Hayter’s title reign, wisely stripping Thunder Rosa of her title. It doesn’t make sense to have two champions—WWE clearly agrees, as Roman Reigns and The Usos each carry both titles that were previously separated by brand—especially when there are no current plans for the injured Rosa to return. Tony Khan made the right decision, and he can always be creative whenever Rosa reappears on AEW television.

I didn’t expect Hayter to win the title at Full Gear. It certainly appeared that MJF was going to win the men’s world title to close out the show, which he did, and usually the focus is on one world title change. So it was surprising, despite the crowd constantly cheering for it during the match, to see Hayter pin Storm and crown herself champ.

There was added significance to the victory, as Khan completely changed his two top champions. While Jon Moxley, who MJF dethroned, is synonymous with AEW, he also had a memorable run in WWE. And though Storm’s time on WWE’s main roster was short, she is a former NXT star. They are both incredibly valuable to AEW, but it is also important to see two “homegrown” stars represent the company as the top title holders. MJF was viewed as a nice piece when he signed with AEW, but he was never preordained to become champ. He made himself the most must-see heel in the company, if not the industry, and he gave Khan no choice but to put the belt on him. Hayter’s rise was equally impressive, though she did it in her own manner. Her work in the ring resonated with the fan base, who are eager to see more. The sky is the limit for her, as she now has the potential to show off entirely new layers on the microphone.

The best part about Hayter and MJF is that neither of their title victories felt forced. Even in the manufactured world of pro wrestling, their rises were organic.

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Dakota Kai’s bumps helped make Becky Lynch and Bianca Belair shine during WarGames.

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Justin Barrasso can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.