SAN JOSE, Calif. — WrestleMania week is old hat to Canadian-born Sami Zayn. Well, sort of.
Zayn, a star with World Wrestling Entertainment’s NXT brand, has spent a number of WrestleManias working for smaller, independent promotions that often hold events in and around the cities where WWE holds its annual mega event.
But it’s only been since Zayn, born Rami Sebie in Hill Valley, Que., signed with the WWE in 2013 that he’s been able to be part of the actual WrestleMania events. And he couldn’t be happier.
“It feels pretty good, obviously,” he said of his first WrestleMania with WWE. “WrestleMania is always awesome, even when you’re on the independents, because just so many fans, so much excitement. It’s almost like a reunion, you see everyone from everywhere. It’s great. Now to be a part of it in WWE is amazing. It’ll be even more amazing probably next year once I’m actually a part of WrestleMania,” he said, referring to the event itself.
Zayn and fellow Quebec native Kevin Owens (Kevin Steen) are part of a crop of rising Canadian content, perhaps the next wave in a long list of talent from the north.
“There’s been a lull there between the Edge and Christian generation and now. Tyson Kidd’s kind of been around, but never really prominently featured. Now him and Natalya are being a little more prominently featured. Myself and Kevin Owens are making a lot of noise in NXT. Tyler Breeze is Canadian. There’s definitely a new wave of Canadians. I’m very proud to be a part of that. I want to be a part of that. I don’t know if I’ll ever reach Bret Hart-level status of Canadian hero or whatever, or Don Cherry-level. But I would love to just be a positive representative for Canada and for Montreal.”
Speaking of Montreal, Zayn might be focused on Silicon Valley at the moment, but he has an eye to his home province on his beloved Montreal Canadiens.
“They’re killing it, aren’t they?” he asked, adding he believes goaltender Carey Price will win the Hart and Vezina trophies this season.
Zayn watches as many games as he can.
“Sometimes my schedule doesn’t always permit for it, but I watch as much as possible,” he said. “The playoffs are coming up, and I’m a little worried, but other than that, I think things are looking good. This could be the year, who knows. … as long as we don’t play Chris Kreider.”