At NXT ArRIVAL, Sami Zayn may not have defeated Cesaro in their fourth encounter, but he got something a little more meaningful —The Real American’s respect.
In an insane display of resilience during the epic battle, Zayn absorbed blow after blow that would have sent most people to the hospital. Every time he was knocked down, the French-Canadian battled back and continued fighting. A victorious, but stunned Cesaro pulled Zayn to his feet and embraced him, perhaps finally seeing the rookie as his peer.
With a new sense of self-confidence, Sami returned to action one week later. A disgruntled Corey Graves called out Zayn for not winning his recent matches before decimating Yoshi Tatsu. Zayn rushed to the rescue and challenged Graves to a match that night. The tenacious competitor escaped Graves’ Lucky 13 submission and eventually rolled up his foe to earn his first win since returning from injury.
The match starts off with tie-ups and lots of quick reversals. Very fast-paced with drop kicks, head ties and more reversals. Zayn attempts a hurricanrana, but Cesaro catches him and attempts the Neutralizer, but Zayn quickly gets out. Cesaro goes to the outside an Zayn dropkicks him through the bottom rope. As Cesaro rolls back into the ring, Zayn goes up to the top rope and attempts a crossbody, but Cesaro catches him and turns it into a backbreaker across his knee. They make their way back outside the ring and Cesaro slams Zayn’s head into the ring apron. Zayn tries to get some offense, but Cesaro overcomes and ends up slamming him back into the ring. With Cesaro on the outside and Zayn laying on the inside, Cesaro tries to rack him on the steel post, but Zayn kicks him off. Zayn then goes outside the ring, he runs and attempts to jump in between the bottom and second-to-bottom rope, but gets caught with a huge Cesaro uppercut out of nowhere.
Cesaro continues the offense until Zayn gets a little breathing room with a dropkick out of nowhere. That doesn’t last long though as Cesaro gets the upperhand again. Match slows down with Cesaro going after Zayn’s left knee. Cesaro throws on a single-crap submission, but Zayn crawls and finally makes it to the bottom rope. Zayn sends Cesaro flying to the outside with a backbreaker. Zayn gets on the ring apron, and attempts a moonsault off the top rope, but Cesaro catches him again and reverses! Count gets to 9 before Zayn finally rolls back into the ring. As he gets to his feet in the corner, Cesaro charges him, but Zayn stops his momentum and suplexes Cesaro into the corner posts. Zayn lands a tiltawhirl sit-down powerbomb. Zayn then applies a cobra clutch type of submission but Cesaro powers out of it and counters it into a submission of his own, bending Zayn’s leg over the back of his head. Zayn again makes it to the ropes to break the hold.
Cesaro goes for the swing, but it gets reversed. He ends up getting it though and spins Zayn around about 10 times. He then uppercuts Zayn in the corner and we get a few back-and-forth nearfalls. Sami Zayn attempts a hurricanrana off the top, Cesaro reverses and holds him up while on the top rope. Cesaro attempts a huge powerbomb off the top, but Zayne reverses and ends up getting the hurricanrana afterall. He follows up with a big knee to Cesaro’s face in the corner, but only gets a two-count. Pace slows down again and Cesaro delivers a few huge uppercuts in the middle of the ring. He tells Zayn to “stay down”, but Zayn keeps crawling back to his feet. They then start trading uppercuts (Cesaro) and punches (Zayn) until Zayn hits a german suplex. Zayn charges Cesaro but gets a boot to his face. More nearfalls. Zayn pulls off the Canadian Destroyer, but another nearfall. Cesaro then launches Zayn into the air and hits a major uppercut, but still not enough to put him away. Cesaro hits The Neutralizer and picks up the win.
Following the match, Cesaro comes back into the ring as Zayn is sitting against the rope. Cesaro ends up helping him up and hugging him. He then leaves and the live audience gives a huge show of support to Zayn.
The French-Canadian phenomenon known as Sami Zayn seemed to be well on his way towards mounting another challenge to Bo Dallas’ NXT Championship last month. However, a knee injury forced Zayn out of action in recent weeks.
Aided by crutches, Zayn showed up on the Jan. 22 edition of NXT and revealed that he hasn’t been able to get his loss to Cesaro, in an epic 2-out-of-3 Falls Match back in August, out of his head. He’s been fixated on figuring out where he went wrong, but unable to find the slip-up that cost him the bout.
That’s left Zayn begging The Real American for a rematch. Cesaro turned down the rookie’s demand for a return bout on several occasions, only for WWE COO Triple H to make the match for NXT ArRIVAL on Feb. 27. While questions of Zayn’s knee being fully healed linger, the French-Canadian is hell-bent on proving that he is capable of pulling out the biggest victory of his career.
Behold the mighty Cesaro, an expatriate of both Switzerland and (one can only guess) Mount Olympus itself who has come to WWE for one purpose: Utter domination. An ever-evolving competitor in the guise of a throwback, the former U.S. Champion roams the ring like a mix between Frank Gotch and The Mighty Thor. He’s a Superstar who can dismantle shoulder joints with old-school holds or clobber opponents into different time zones with a seemingly infinite array of European Uppercuts. He has defanged Vipers, shown up Showoffs and tested future legends. Even those opponents who manage to defeat him are often found wanting in comparison.
Cesaro is America’s most fearsome adopted son, the future of sports-entertainment, and the one Superstar nobody wants to find themselves trapped in the ring with. What follows are eight of his mat masterworks, ranked in ascending order of their magnificence. He is Cesaro, and he is here to stay. Place your hands over your heart and pledge allegiance. Cesaro, and America, demand it.
#1 Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn – 2 out of 3 Falls Match (WWE NXT; August 21, 2013)
In an ironic twist, Cesaro’s most thrilling effort to date was against a competitor the WWE Universe had barely even heard of, in a tiny arena about as far from WrestleMania glory as WWE boundaries allow. In a place where “the next generation” of WWE Superstars is forged, Cesaro emerged as the Superstar who led the charge in a 2-out-of-3-Falls Match, claiming the win at the expense of a human tornado named Sami Zayn. To his never-ending credit, the NXT standout proved to be anything but generic as an opponent in the rubber match of their then-tied rivalry. Zayn secured the first fall immediately with a brain-busting, running boot to Cesaro’s face that had many wondering whether the former U.S. Champion would be embarrassed a second time at the young blood’s hands.
The Real American fought hard to get back in the game and eventually succeeded, submitting Zayn with a vice-like chinlock that robbed him of his all-important speed. Cesaro later tapped into his famous strength to shoulder-press Zayn out of a tornado DDT into the Very European Uppercut, following up with The Neutralizer for the win. The NXT Universe in attendance immediately took to Twitter to praise the match, and they haven’t let up since (a rematch is planned for NXT ArRIVAL on WWE Network Thursday, Feb. 27). Considering it’s the bout that both “made” Cesaro as a competitor and catapulted Sami Zayn into the larger consciousness of the WWE Universe, it seems almost inappropriate the audience was so small for a match this amazing. Then again, legends are always born in the most unlikely places. – ANTHONY BENIGNO
Renee Young is with Cesaro and Sami Zayn to talk about their Epic Encounter next week at NXT Arrival. Renee mentions their history together. Sami congratulates Cesaro on qualifying for the Elimination Chamber. Cesaro says that so many people congratulated him and he could be the WWE World Champion when he returns to NXT. Renee mentions that if Sami touches Cesaro, he loses any chance at the NXT Title. Cesaro mentions that if he touches Sami, he would lose his spot in the Elimination Chamber. Renee asks Sami if he will be medically cleared. Cesaro says that Sami will never be 100% cleared. He has an Achilles Heel, or an Achilles Knee. Sami says that he has been cleared by the doctors. Cesaro says that there is a difference between being medically cleared and being ready.
Renee asks Sami if he thinks Cesaro being in the Elimination Chamber will affect Cesaro in their match next week at Arrival. Cesaro interrupts and he says that he has been waiting his entire life to have a chance at the WWE Title. Sami says that he knows that Cesaro is trying to make this personal. They have done personal already with the attacks and the previous matches. This is professional, and Sami says that he takes his profession personally. Sami says that this match is the only thing standing between him and the advancement of his career. Sami says that he has nothing that he wants to hear from Cesaro.
Sami Zayn has one thing on his mind leading up to NXT ArRIVAL: defeating his rival, Cesaro. But will Zayn’s knee injury hold him back? Watch the NXT Superstar face The Real American live at NXT ArRIVAL Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, only on WWE Network.
Sami Zayn has become one of the most jovial, fun-loving and exciting Superstars to step foot inside the WWE NXT ring. Using an eclectic blend of dazzling, high-risk maneuvers aided by his feverish passion, Zayn has also earned the spot as one of NXT’s most popular Superstars. Public perception aside, Zayn’s personal rivalry has turned into an obsession. On Feb. 27 at NXT ArRIVAL, Zayn’s self-appointed obligation is to defeat Cesaro.
“A lot of it has to do with the fans’ feelings toward the first match we had,” Zayn told WWE.com. “I still hear about the match all the time from fans, from people at the WWE Performance Center, even from WWE Superstars on Raw and SmackDown.
“The larger the reputation of the match grew, the more disappointed I became with the fact that I lost. It’s hard for an athlete to accept that the thing you are most known for is a loss,” he said.
Zayn needed no pushing or prodding to accept another chance to face The Real American again:
“Another shot at Cesaro at the most important NXT event ever? What more incentive do I need, really?” Zayn asked rhetorically.
Unfortunately, there is one potential roadblock in the way of his Feb. 27 objective: a bad knee.
“Last December, Sami Zayn suffered a PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) sprain in his left knee,” NXT Athletic Trainer Brian Duncan said. “Since the injury, Zayn has gone through physical therapy every day and has executed everything we have asked of him in order to be prepared for the 27th.”
While Zayn has claimed publically to feel better than ever, is it because he’s willing to risk entering the biggest match of his life at less than 100 percent? Or is his left knee ready for the rigors that are sure to come from the epic battle? Continue reading »
Name: Rami Sebei Ring name: Sami Zayn Formerly: El Generico Born: July 12, 1984 Height/Weight: 6'0" - 193lbs Hometown: Montreal Debut: 2002
A Canadian-born Superstar of Syrian descent, Sami Zayn is no stranger to the world of sports-entertainment. Having competed in a staggering 29 countries before arriving on NXT, Zayn brings with him an experience level matched by few. Zayn is known for approaching situations with a lighthearted, fun-loving attitude, but opponents need not underestimate his intensity. » More?
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