Reason Sami Zayn Will Compete In Saudi Arabia Revealed
Sami Zayn will be part of a WWE show in Saudi Arabia for the first time since WWE partnered with the country in a controversial deal.
On SmackDown in Knoxville, Tennessee, Paul Heyman revealed that at Night of Champions on May 27th in Jeddah, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens will defend their WWE Tag Team Championship against Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa.
Ever since WWE signed a deal with Saudi Arabia to produce stadium-sized shows as part of a marketing strategy to promote the Middle Eastern Kingdom as a tourist destination, Sami Zayn has not competed on them.
Zayn is a second-generation Syrian and relations between Syria and Saudi Arabia in recent years have been non-existent. The countries suspended diplomatic ties with each other in late 2011 following Saudi’s backing of non-government forces in the Syrian Civil War.
However, on May 9th, 2023 both countries resumed these ties with one another just days after Syria was also re-admitted to the Arab League. The state-run Saudi Press Agency issued a statement noting the reasons for re-establishing their diplomatic mission in Syria:
“Based on the deep bonds and common affiliation of the peoples of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and in confirmation of both communities’ wills, and based on the Syrian Arab Republic believe in the importance of strengthening bilateral relations between Arab countries to serve joint Arab action, The Syrian Arab Republic decided to resume the work of its diplomatic mission in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
The thawing of ties between Saudi Arabia and Syria could well have paved the way for Sami Zayn to take part in the high-profile Night of Champions show. However, it should be noted that Zayn has competed for WWE in Saudi Arabia post-2011, taking part in three live events in the country in 2014 – although these were on a much smaller scale than recent shows in the country and not part of any propaganda push.