Ready or not? Sami Zayn's quest to beat Cesaro
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. Tonight 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 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?
“I spent a lot of time focusing on getting my knee to 100 percent,” Zayn said. “I've done a lot of rehab exercises, but to be honest, most of my preparation has been mental. I won't get into the nitty gritty of my mental preparation because some of it is a bit weird, but I'm in the zone and I will be ready."
While it is widely assumed that Cesaro will come prepared for the rematch, it should be noted that The Real American will be competing just days after his impressive Elimination Chamber debut. Regardless, Zayn insists it is he who has something to prove.
"I want to prove that I am the best NXT has to offer. I want to prove that to Triple H, Shawn Michaels and my boyhood hero, Bret Hart, who will be in attendance that night,” Zayn said. “I want to make John Cena, the guy at the top of our industry, see that Sami Zayn is going to be the guy out of NXT to keep your eye on.
“I want to prove it to the fans who've believed in me all along,” Zayn continued. “I want to prove to the people that never believed that I even belonged here, just how wrong they are. Above all else, I not only want to prove it to Cesaro, I need to prove it to myself."