He begins by speaking about why he and others believe McMahon is a genius:
“Vince’s vision is super-different and I kind of get when people call him a ‘genius’, I kind of get it in a sense because call it ‘genius’ or call it whatever you want, but there’s no debating that his mind works different than everybody else’s does, so everybody else will see things one way and he’ll see it one completely different way. So his vision for me as a heel was completely different from how I viewed it, but as soon as I did it for the first week or the second week, and now I’ve gotten a couple of house shows under my belt, I’m like, ‘oh, man. He’s so right!’ He’s right.”
On being able to pick McMahon’s brain about the heel turn:
“My interactions with Vince have been a little bit more limited because I haven’t been involved in as many prominent storylines, so now, this is something that I feel he sunk his teeth into and just getting to pick his brain a tiny bit about how he views the character. But he didn’t even get into detail. Like, some of it was just, he would just say, ‘smile out there.’ I go, ‘really? Smile?’ He goes, ‘big smile out there.’ And then, I’d do it and I’m like, ‘oh, man! Of course! Like, it’s so much more heat than going out there and scowling and being like, ‘you guys all did me wrong! If you’re smiling, it’s just so much more obnoxious and so much more dislikable. And, again, it’s just such a simple thing and you start to see it. Once you execute it and it works, that’s like another little lightbulb that goes off in your head.”
Zayn then describes what his persona as a heel can be described as:
“I’ll try to sum [the character] up as easily as I can. The analogy that I would give is it’s almost like when you’re dating a girl and she kind of has these quirks, but they’re lovable. But once you break up, it’s like, ‘oh, God! She was so annoying! She would always hog the blankets, she always wanted the room at 65º,’ or whatever. Do you know what I mean? Like, the things you used to love about her, now, you hate about her because you don’t love her anymore. So it’s almost to me, that’s where I’m at right now. It’s like, the character isn’t all-of-a-sudden dying his hair black and wearing eyeliner or something like that. It’s just he’s the same kind of he, now it just means something different because his intentions are different.”
He continues by explaining how he used his past as motivation with this heel turn:
“I was spinning my wheels, but now you can get mileage out of the fact that you were spinning your wheels. It’s more motivation, so nothing goes in the garbage. Everything goes to… you almost need to keep inventory of what you did because you can bring it back around any time to get mileage out of it. It’s just cool to be challenged because I was spinning my wheels. I was.”
Finally, he talks about wanting to initially go his entire career without turning heel, but is excited now to work as one:
“It was kind of a fantasy in the back of my head to one day kind of do the same thing as Steamboat, like have a great career, but have always been like a straight-laced babyface through-and-through, beginning to end. And I’ve done, like, a good job. I’ve done tiny, tiny heel stints, but nothing of substance. So, again, it was another one of those little heartbreak moments, but the second it’s over, it’s like, ‘man, what do we do now? There’s so much that can be done.’ So I’m very, very excited, but in full disclosure, the part that I don’t have full confidence in yet, but I’m sure it’ll come, is actually working, working, as a heel. I’m going to need to relearn this a little bit.”
With H/T to WrestlingInc for the transcription.
If you would like to hear the audio version of this interview, we have provided it down below. You can also scroll through for highlights as they talk about some other amazing topics too.
Do you like Zayn as a heel so far? Do you think he can succeed? Should he have remained face? Let us know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page or Twitter account. Additionally, you can find me on Twitter at @SOSNH1995. We also want to remind you that we have a Newsletter you can sign up to. This will allow us to send you the best news in one place via an email. We also have the Wrestling Rumors app that we encourage you all to download to get updates faster than they release on our various pages. It is available on Android and iOS devices.