The Anti-Push Equation: How Sami Zayn conquered a huge problem in WWE
WWE SmackDown’s Sami Zayn has only won a single match in 2021 so far. Moreover, his one victory this year occurred in a tag team match on February 12 when he teamed up with King Corbin. Based on the stats, it seems that Zayn hasn’t had the best year so far.
But as surprising as it sounds, his popularity and critical acclaim have exponentially grown over the last few months.
WWE fans often associate the term “buried” with wrestlers who constantly lose and are subsequently pushed down the roster’s pecking order. But a genius like Sami Zayn has used the premise of a wrestler’s demotion to his advantage.
There have been past instances where taking frequent losses has become part of a WWE Superstar’s gimmick. For example, Curt Hawkins is renowned for his 269-match losing streak in WWE. But, in most cases, losing frequently rarely makes one a top star. Instead, it makes one seem insignificant, even if a losing-streak gimmick can provide excellent entertainment value in some cases.
But despite losing constantly, Sami Zayn is now a significant part of SmackDown. It seems as though he has become more and more relevant in WWE the further he has lost credibility as a successful wrestler, in terms of the storyline.
So, how did Zayn accomplish this feat?
“The Conspiracy Theory” gimmick is a perfect cover for Sami Zayn’s shortcomings on WWE SmackDown
Sami Zayn has blamed his recent losses on WWE’s higher-ups and everyone else in the company’s hierarchy, who allegedly want him to fail. In reality, the character himself is to blame for his own shortcomings inside the squared circle.
But it’s only human nature to remain in denial regarding one’s own faults, which is why Zayn now has a warped worldview and thinks that everyone is against him.
This gimmick would have easily been a silly lower-card act in anyone else’s hands. But Zayn’s on-screen performance is completely intense and neurotic, to a point where it’s hard to look away from his onscreen antics. It’s safe to say that he has become the Larry David of WWE.
Even though nobody believes Zayn’s conspiracy claims, fans can’t help but root for a character that has completely lost his sense of reality in pursuit of seeking “justice” for himself.
Of course, Zayn has a misguided sense of justice, but the extreme lengths he reaches to influence everyone else’s perspective makes him an absurdly charismatic individual.
As a result, his frequent losses in the squared circle become something to look forward to, just to see how far he will go to convince himself that it’s all someone else’s fault. This constantly entertaining loop begins with a loss for Zayn and ends with the character’s exaggerated response to his own dilemma.
To encapsulate what Zayn has accomplished, let’s use the phrase — “Anti-Push Equation.”
The Anti-Push Equation reverses an age-old trope and also creates an interesting loophole in WWE booking
Yes, “The Anti-Push Equation” is a completely made-up concept that sounds strangely familiar to a fictional idea from Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021).
But the main point here is the general perception of what a “push” in professional wrestling means, and how Zayn has popularized a method to reverse its core fundamentals.
When fans say that a particular superstar deserves to be pushed, the outcome seems possible if that star picks up a few major victories. It’s an age-old trope that constitutes the basic logic behind how professional wrestling works.
But with a series of frequent losses and moments that have damaged Zayn’s credibility, he has managed to become more and more relevant every week.
So, to recap, Zayn has reaped benefits from a push that he didn’t even receive in the first place! Doesn’t that contradict the basic fundamentals of what the wrestling business is all about?
This is not to say Sami Zayn is the only star in history who became popular despite suffering frequent losses. But he has purposefully pushed this strategy to a greater extent, that too, on a mainstream scale.
So when most WWE Superstars have to earn a bunch of high-profile victories to stay relevant, Sami Zayn appears on SmackDown every week and uses the anti-push loophole to accomplish the same effect.
Maybe Zayn won’t win a world championship anytime soon, but he can become more popular than a world champion the further he descends into a cesspool of wild conspiracies.
Surely Sami Zayn has to pick up a clean victory over someone significant in the long run. But as of now, his farcical descent into madness must continue.
In the video linked above, check out Zayn’s reaction to the fallout of his WWE WrestleMania 37 match with Kevin Owens.
It doesn’t get any better than a man questioning the nature of his own reality for entertainment purposes.
Sami Zayn also spoke to Sportskeeda Wrestling’s Rick Ucchino in February 2021. Check out his thoughts on possibly winning tag team championships with Owens, among various other topics, in the video linked below.
Hopefully, WWE can adopt other out-of-the-box approaches to push their current talent.
To end this entirely paradoxical writeup on the same notion — let’s hope Sami Zayn continues to lose his dignity, so that he can keep rising in WWE.