Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Sami Zayn Makes Me Stay

A good reason to stay on the Network
Photo Credit:
If you'll permit me to do my own version of our fearless editor TH's "Leftism in Wrestling," I need to tell you about my cognitive dissonance regarding WWE. Depending on which news source you believe, Vince and Linda McMahon donated somewhere between $5 to $7 million to Donald Trump's presidential campaign. You know, the campaign that resulted in our country electing an oatmeal-brained toddler to the highest office in America. That one! Their donation, apparently Trump's largest donation of all, was rewarded when Linda was appointed as the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

As if the past actions of the McMahon family weren't enough to be queasy about our WWE fandom, this action was the grossest of all. However you want to parse their intentions, there is no denying that the McMahons played a huge part in allowing Trump to become the President. And I guess if you're one of those people who likes Trump, then you're okay with this, but it's safe to say that most people reading a blog like this probably don't fall into that group. Most of us would agree that propping up a racist, sexist, xenophobic, possibly nuclear homicidal madman into the Presidency is a decidedly not good thing.

What I've struggled with in the year since Trump was elected is my continuing financial support of WWE, in the form of my $9.99/month paid to the WWE Network. There have been several instances whereupon seeing a particularly enraging Trump-related headline, I've said to myself, "That's it! I'm done giving WWE my money. Until they stop giving financial support and tacit approval of this scumbag, I'm cancelling the Network."

And then, the end of the month rolls around, and I need to catch up on NXT episodes, and the next WWE pay-per-view has an intriguing match, and Prime Time Wrestling is so great... and I don't cancel it. And I keep on giving WWE my money. I know I'm a hypocrite. I know I'm spineless and I'm not standing my ground. But when I almost cancel the Network, I think to myself, "But poor Sami Zayn... he deserves my money. I like him a lot."

I keep the Network because there are so many likable performers in WWE, and I want them to be successful. I know not a ton of money from Network subscriptions goes to them, but it affects the overall big picture for them. And I want to keep watching the growth and progress of these performers, especially that kind gentleman Sami Zayn.

Zayn was the most recent guest on E and C's Pod of Awesomeness, the relatively new podcast from Edge and Christian (and it's a pretty solid show, y'all should check it out). As expected, Zayn was his usual charming, self-deprecating, extremely smart and analytical self. He had just gotten back to his hotel room from a WWE show in Argentina, and though he was no doubt exhausted, he gave Edge and Christian over an hour of his time and deep thought.

There were many highlights to the conversation, but my very favorite came when they were discussing last year's NXT Takeover match between Zayn and the debuting Shinsuke Nakamura. Zayn says when you see him kneeling in the corner and visibly smiling during Nakamura's entrance, that was a smile of genuine glee. He had known that the match they laid out was exquisitely composed, but once he got out in front of that crowd and saw how jacked up they were for Nakamura, he knew that they were about to do something truly special for those people. He knew that they were about to create as magical of a pro wrestling match as two performers can create. And creating such magic is why he got into this business and why he still feels motivated to do it.

How can I turn my back on watching and supporting that guy? It feels impossible. And yet, why does WWE have to be a rotten corporation run by disingenuous Trump supporters (and employees)? Why does life have to be so confusing and horrific?

Oh right, because Donald Trump is our President, so everything is bad. I forgot.