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At least, that’s what it felt like by the end of Zayn’s grueling bout against The Destroyer, which concluded a month of growing animosity between the two. Joe had accused Zayn of just being happy to be in WWE. Zayn countered with what Joe perceived as “disrespect.” What followed gave the WWE pay-per-view audience their first taste of two-time NXT Champion Samoa Joe’s abilities.
While he came as advertised and then some, Joe proved himself to be a peerless strategist in the contest as well. Knowing that Zayn’s strength comes from his mobility, The Samoan Submission Machine locked in a variety of debilitating holds designed to whittle away at Zayn’s motor. Of course, Sami is too defiant to simply roll over for anyone, but every bit of separation Zayn managed to gain was short-lived.
There was only a brief sequence toward the end where it seemed like the lead was in doubt. After Zayn suckered Joe into a small package near-fall, The Underdog from the Underground briefly gained a second wind and managed to line his foe up for the Helluva Kick. Joe was ready, however, catching Zayn mid-sprint with the Uranage before locking in the Coquina Clutch.
That Zayn didn’t submit — he passed out in the hold — is a small measure of victory he can take here. For Joe, meanwhile, the path of destruction continues. And the next time Joe’s name is spoken, you can rest assured it will be with the proper respect.