The initial scenario for this series focuses on the underdog known as Sami Zayn. Zayn is a former NXT Champion who made his way to the main roster back in early 2016. While he has yet to win a Championship, he has always been in some variation of a title picture. Since arriving on ‘Smackdown Live’ following the Superstar Shake-Up after ‘WrestleMania 33’ earlier this year, Zayn hasn’t been able to replicate the success he had whilst in NXT. This is where we step in.
Superstar: Sami Zayn
Scenario: Winning the United States Championship
Time Limit: 3-4 Months Approximately
Brand: Smackdown Live
Our idea with this decision is that many have criticised someone like Jinder Mahal or Roman Reigns for not capturing a mid-card Championship before making it to the major title. As Zayn is a fan favorite and has had interesting matches and/or moments with members around the mid-card area on ‘Smackdown Live,’ we would begin with him capturing the United States Championship. If you would like to book your own variation, follow the format we listed above.
On a week by week basis we will explain what is happening on the card in reference to Zayn. Now obviously Zayn won’t be the only person ‘making moves’ on the roster as other competitors will be embroiled in rivalries and fighting for the other Championships so our depiction here may not match the current Champions on the roster.
This card follows the upcoming ‘SummerSlam’ pay-per-view. There is rumored to be another Superstar Shake-Up, though we doubt Zayn is moving back to ‘Raw’ any time soon. Keep that in mind.
August 22: ‘Smackdown Live’
With three weeks until the Clash of Champions pay-per-view and hot off his victory at ‘SummerSlam,’ Zayn is backstage with Daniel Bryan. He explains to the general manager that he wants an opportunity to prove himself in fear of moving back to ‘Raw’ as part of the new Superstar Shake-Up now that Mick Foley is no longer in charge.
Bryan has his usual cocky attitude about competing against ‘Raw’ and agrees, but says that it isn’t solely his decision on who changes brand. He needs to impress Shane McMahon too. Bryan decides to book Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens as the main event of ‘Smackdown Live.’ It should be noted that Owens was unable to re-capture the United States Championship from AJ Styles at ‘SummerSlam’ and is furious.
Owens has an interview during the night where he explains that Zayn will be the victim of his aggression. He says that the locker room and AJ Styles in particular should pay attention to what happens in the ring tonight.
In the main event, both men fight for around twenty minutes up until Owens allows his anger to take over him. Owens looks towards the entrance and screams for Styles to come out, but Zayn uses it as an advantage and is ultimately victorious with his Helluva Kick.
The titantron lights up with the final participants that are trading brands. With the loss, Owens is sent back to ‘Raw’ whilst ‘The Architect’ Seth Rollins is on ‘Smackdown Live.’
August 29: ‘Smackdown Live’
Hot off his win last week, Zayn is back in Bryan’s office. Before he is able to say anything, Shane enters into frame where he congratulates Zayn on his victory. Zayn tells them both that he is sick of being labelled as the underdog. He wants to do something about it. They book him in a match against Rusev. The winner will face Styles at ‘Clash of Champions’ for the United States Championship.
Confident now, Zayn enters for his match against Rusev. The two have one of the best recent ‘Smackdown Live’ matches. Zayn almost passes out to the Accolade, but a furious Rusev tries to showcase his strength by sending Zayn around the ring like a ragdoll while Styles watches from the back. Zayn manages to counter being slammed into the turnbuckles into an Exploder Suplex followed by a Helluva Kick for the win.
September 5: ‘Smackdown Live’
With Zayn having become number one contender the week before, Rusev was furious. He demanded a rematch with Zayn. As Rusev began to trash the office, Bryan and Shane put a stop to it, explaining to Rusev he would have a rematch.
Indeed, the rematch would take place as the second match of the card. In what was a very aggressive bout, Rusev locked in the Accolade. Zayn would use all his strength to fight, but Rusev’s strength proved too much and he was forced to tap out.
Ultimately, Bryan would come out and explain to the audience that at ‘Clash of Champions,’ Styles would be defending his Championship in a Triple Threat match.
In order to show his strength, Rusev locked in the Accolade, causing security to be rushed by Bryan to ringside to get him off Zayn. Styles’ music hit and he came out and stood at the entrance ramp and held up the Championship as Rusev looked at him in a ring full of bodies.
September 10: ‘Clash of Champions’
Zayn and Styles both had interviews throughout the night. Styles said how he is only getting acquainted with the Championship and doesn’t plan on losing it any time soon. Zayn explained that he has been fighting his entire career to prove his worth and tonight would be the night all his hard work has paid off for.
The match would begin and despite a dominant looking Rusev, both Styles and Zayn managed to team against him to continue taking him out of the equation. Towards the end of the match, Rusev locked the Accolade into Zayn, causing Styles to hit Rusev with the Phenomenal Forearm. Styles would pin Rusev for the victory while Zayn laid lifeless from the Accolade.
September 12: ‘Smackdown Live’
Zayn is shown throughout the night, visibly mad and shaken that he had not captured the Championship. It was already pre-confirmed during the day that Zayn and Rollins would be taking on Rusev and Bray Wyatt. Wyatt was another victim of the Superstar Shake-Up and his rivalry with Rollins has continued on ‘Smackdown Live.’
During the match, Rollins made the hot tag to Zayn while Wyatt was in the ring. Wyatt would tag Rusev into the match, who was demanding it. However, Rusev had been much more damaged and Zayn was rather fresh, so he had more strength. Zayn is able to hit the Helluva Kick on Rusev for the victory.
It was confirmed later in the night that Mike Kanellis had won a Battle Royal to become the number one contender.
September 19: ‘Smackdown Live’
Zayn vs. Rusev is booked for the episode, but a segment backstage showcases Zayn being ambushed while talking to a member of the WWE crew. Rusev is obviously the culprit.
Rusev throws Zayn around like a ragdoll backstage, throwing him into objects typically found backstage, such as the trunks full of equipment. He locks in the Accolade as backstage personnel surround Rusev. Insert Bryan and Shane, who pull him off.
Rusev yells in Bulgarian for a moment, before walking off. Cameras focus on Zayn attempting to get to his feet. He says he is fine and to let him go, after almost falling back down to the cement.
Insert Rusev back in with one of the mini cars performers use backstage. They resemble golf carts, for those unaware of what I am referring to. He drives towards Zayn. Everyone runs out of the way, but Zayn is hit. He isn’t knocked down, but knocked against a wall. In the midst of the chaos, Rusev exits the car and hits Zayn with a Superkick, knocking him out. He taunts, as medical personnel surround Zayn.
September 26: ‘Smackdown Live’
Commentators announce that Zayn is not in the arena for the show as he is in hospital recovering from the injuries sustained by Rusev.
Rusev is out for a promo talking about how he left Zayn for dead and if he doesn’t get a title shot against Styles, he isn’t stopping there. Out comes Bryan to announce that he spoke with Zayn on the phone and they will compete at ‘Hell in a Cell’ for the number one contendership to the United States Championship. Bryan isn’t letting Rusev off easy though. His match comes at a cost. If he loses, he will be suspended for thirty days. Rusev throws a fit.
Bryan also tells Rusev he has a match up next. He will be facing Tye Dillinger. Out comes Tye to a massive fan reception as usual. He tries his best, but taps out to the Accolade. After the match, he explains that he’ll be waiting for Zayn at ‘Hell in a Cell,’ but he won’t be coming alone.
October 3: ‘Smackdown Live’
Rusev comes out to compete against John Cena for the main event. Cena is a free agent but competes more for the ‘Raw’ brand. The match is back and forth and Rusev is holding his own against the leader of the ‘Cenation.’
As Rusev prepares for the Superkick on a dazed Cena, Zayn’s music hits, distracting him. Using common sense, Rusev looks to the entrance ramp and back down and around the ring. Nobody. Cena is attempting to get to his feet. Rusev tries to pick Cena up, but Cena capitalizes and this an Attitude Adjustment out of nowhere for the victory.
Furious after the loss, Rusev gets on the microphone screaming in Bulgarian. Cena, beginning to walk out, tells him (without a microphone) to look behind him. Zayn hits him with an Exploder Suplex into the middle of the ring. Rusev is quick back up, but Zayn hits him with a Dropkick, sending him into the turnbuckles. Zayn follows up with a Helluva Kick and stands tall to his music playing as ‘Smackdown Live’ ends.
Zayn is out first, decked in new attire that is reminiscent of his previous one, but slightly updated. Just something simple to show his character is evolving. Rusev comes out, revealing Lana (as everyone would predict) as his escort to the ring.
The two have a brutal match, one of the best of the night. The ending of the match sees Lana attempt to distract Zayn while Rusev is down. Zayn turns around but ducks an oncoming Superkick, which hits Lana. Rusev exits the ring to check on her. Returning, he is furious. Zayn capitalizes on his emotions and hits an Exploder Suplex followed by a Helluva Kick to the corner for the pin and victory.
This win means that Rusev is suspended until November 8 minimum. Zayn exits to his music, but Rusev is furious. It takes Bryan sending out security to escort Rusev away.
Styles retains against Kanellis during the night, as well.
October 10: ‘Smackdown Live’
Zayn is out to open the show. He explains that he is 100% and fully healed. He is ready to face Styles for the title, having dealt with Rusev and now being the rightful and only number one contender. Styles comes out to congratulate Zayn and commend him on finishing Rusev. The two shake hands.
Styles is about to leave, but Zayn doesn’t let go of the handshake, and pulls him back. Without a mic, the camera picks up Zayn noticeably telling him that he won’t stop until he wins that title. Styles says he respects that.
Bryan out as Styles begins the walk up the ramp, announcing that on the special Halloween edition of ‘Smackdown Live’ in three weeks, the two will meet for the Championship. Both men appear excited.
However, Bryan also announces while he is here that there will be qualifying matches for the upcoming ‘Survivor Series’ PPV on November 19. Two teams of six ‘Smackdown Live’ and ‘Raw’ competitors will compete to see who the better brand is. Matches begin that week with Styles vs. former WWE Champion Jinder Mahal, who has since lost the Championship to Baron Corbin. Later that night, Styles would be victorious.
October 17: ‘Smackdown Live’
Zayn faced Aiden English in a regular match. He came out after English harassed the audience with his performance. Styles was at the announcers table, commenting pleasantly on Zayn’s ability.
After the match, English attacked Zayn from behind. Styles would enter the ring and begin attacking English. There is a miscommunication with a dazed Zayn and Styles, as Zayn hits Styles with a Big Boot, knocking him to the canvas.
Styles and English both roll out of the ring, as Zayn attempts to apologize. Styles looks on in shock.
October 24: ‘Smackdown Live’
Zayn qualifies for the ‘Survivor Series’ PPV by defeating Big Cass.
Later during the night, Styles faced off against Mahal. The Singh Brothers start to gang up on Styles, giving Mahal the advantage. Zayn’s music hits and he runs down to the ring, taking both brothers down.
Styles yells at Zayn that he didn’t need help, only to turn around into a Khallas, allowing Mahal to pick up the pinfall victory.
Furious after the match, Styles is yelling at Zayn. Zayn tries to justify his actions, but Styles clocks him right across the chin. The two begin brawling. It takes several security to stop the pair, as Styles walks away, holding the United States Championship.
October 31: ‘Spookdown Live’
The main event is Zayn vs. Styles for the United States Championship. After the intensity of the two, Bryan states that the match will be a Falls Count Anywhere Halloween Special.
As gimmicky as the match sounds, the two give it their absolute all and by far have the match of the night. Over thirty minutes of intense action. Ultimately, Styles is able to duck a Helluva, flipping Zayn over for a pin by using a steel garage door as leverage for the pin. Zayn kicks out. As Styles attempts to get Zayn up to his feet, Zayn reverses it into an Exploder, sending Styles into the garage door. Zayn lines up the Helluva and nails it on Styles, denting the garage door behind him. Zayn picks up the pinfall victory and captures the United States Championship.
After the match, Styles is bloody and both men are exhausted. Zayn bends down next to Styles and offers his hand to help him up. Styles accepts, and he is helped up. Zayn apologizes and Styles accepts as the two embrace to end the show.
November 7: ‘Smackdown Live’
Zayn is out to open the show and thanks Styles for their match. He holds up the Championship as the audience chants “You deserve it” to him.
It is announced during the night that Cena would be making an announcement the following week on ‘Smackdown Live.’ Also announced is Zayn, Styles and Nakamura who’ve all been confirmed as participants for the match face off against Mahal and the Singh Brothers.
Nakamura is able to pick up the win for his team, but there is a lot of tension between the two. This obviously hints at a future Styles vs. Nakamura match as many would like, but also that Styles and Zayn still have some unresolved tension.
November 14: ‘Smackdown Live’
Cena opens the show with his announcement. He explains that he will be choosing a member of the roster to face tonight at random. The possible participants are the 5 superstars that have qualified for the ‘Survivor Series’ traditional elimination match. The titantron randomly selects Zayn as his opponent. If Zayn beat Cena, he would as a free agent join team ‘Smackdown Live’ for the match.
In the main event of the evening, Cena and Zayn battled in a match reminiscent of their 2015 match when Cena himself was United States Champion.
As Zayn had the match won, he prepared for a Springboard Clothesline on Cena, who was lying down in the ring. The referee is checking on him. Enter a returning Rusev, who silently swoops Zayn off the apron and down to the canvas. As Zayn’s head rebounds off the canvas, Rusev hits Zayn with a Superkick. Rusev looks over at the referee, who has confirmed Cena is fine to continue. He jumps over the barricade into the crowd to avoid detection.
A confused Cena finds Zayn outside of the ring and rolls him back in. Zayn staggers back up to his feet into an Attitude Adjustment where Cena picks up the victory. Rusev claps as the cameras focus on him as Cena celebrates.
Bryan’s music hits. He comes down to the ring furious, calling Rusev out on his actions. Rusev is technically able to compete, as November 8 saw the end of his suspension. Bryan says if he makes one more mistake, he is fired. Rusev is furious. Cena is almost as shocked as Zayn is, when he comes to.
By now, only five members of the ‘Raw’ team have been announced. During the night, Shane McMahon announces a Battle Royal featuring members of the ‘Smackdown Live’ roster where the winner would get to join them. This would ultimately be won by Mahal, last eliminating Chris Jericho.
So the team is as follows, keeping in mind that with the Superstar Shake-Up, some superstars changed brand earlier in the year.
‘Smackdown Live’ has:
Styles and Zayn also have a backstage segment where Styles says that Zayn can’t mess up again, because they can’t take the loss.
The match goes back and forth and has a similar feel to it to the 2016 ‘Survivor Series’ traditional tag match. By the closure of the match, Styles is eliminated, leaving Zayn as the sole survivor. On the other team is Owens and Cena.
Zayn is able to pin Cena, following confusion with Owens. A battle of former allies ensues as Owens and Zayn brawl. They knock the referee down in the scuffle. Zayn manages to take control, but Rusev comes from out of the crowd, unbeknownst to Zayn. Zayn turns around into a Superkick, as he falls back into a Pop-Up Powerbomb. Rusev rips off his shirt (Rusev attire) to reveal a Raw singlet.
Shane, Bryan, Kurt Angle and Stephanie McMahon are all ringside for the match. Bryan and Shane are shocked, but the others have smirks on their faces. The referee comes to and counts the pin. Team ‘Raw’ wins and evens the score at 1-1 for the respective brands.
November 21: ‘Smackdown Live’
Zayn is out to open ‘Smackdown Live’ to a chorus of boos. He had let the brand down, despite it not being his fault. He himself is livid. He yells at Rusev, only for Styles’ music to hit.
Styles talks about how Zayn can never be trusted to do anything because he always lets everyone down. The United States and WWE need a Champion they can be proud of. Zayn is not that man. He invokes his rematch clause for the following week.
November 28: ‘Smackdown Live’
Both men begin the match, but action goes to the outside and the two continue to brawl for a good while. Zayn retains the Championship by double count-out. The two are absolutely enraged. Shane announces to end the episode that it will be Zayn vs. Styles in a TLC match at ‘Armageddon’ in two weeks.
December 5: ‘Smackdown Live’
Zayn has a match against Mahal following his disruptive presence before the ‘Survivor Series’ PPV. He is able to pick up the victory, but as he walks backstage, Styles attacks him and they continue to brawl. He sends Zayn into the tron and throws him onto the [padded] cement. Styles takes the United States Championship and holds it high.
Later in the night, Styles comes out to the ring and climbs a ladder set up in the ring. He sits on top of it while holding the United States Championship. Two tables are on either side of him and chairs are set up in every corner. He talks about the prestige of the Championship and Zayn not having the ability or worth to hold onto it. Zayn is out, taped and bandaged. He says to Styles that at ‘Armageddon,’ he will prove his worth to everyone.
December 12: ‘Smackdown Live’
A contract signing for the match between Zayn and Styles is announced. Styles comes out with the Championship, having never given it back. They peacefully sign the contract and Styles hands Zayn the Championship. This is a fight built not on hatred, but earning respect. Styles is still a face, though enraged at Zayn. Styles leaves the ring first, yelling at Zayn that he’d better be ready for Sunday.
December 17: ‘Armageddon’
The Championship is held high above the ring as both men enter. In what many fans would consider match of the night, Zayn is able to overcome every obstacle thrown his way within the match to retain the Championship. He gets put through tables, hit with chairs and thrown onto ladders.
After the match, Zayn offers his hand to Styles, who accepts it. Once on his feet, the two embrace in a hug and Styles holds Zayn’s hand up as he clutches the United States Championship, having made his mark on the wrestling world.
That completes this scenario. Our storyline depicts Zayn transforming as an underdog face that can barely seem to rack up a win at times to someone that can compete with the very best and put on a match of the night. From here, he could do a number of things. This is the beginning for him, though. This is his foundation.
What did you think? What would you have done differently? 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.