Wrestling / Sami Zayn
aka: El Generico

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sami_zayn_16.jpg
"Ole!"

Rami Sebei (born July 12, 1984) is a Syrian-Canadian professional wrestler best known for his work for Ring of Honor and other promotions as El Generico. He was trained by Patty the Kid, Jerry Tuite and Savio Vega, debuted in 2002 in International Wrestling Syndicate in his native Quebec and made his American debut in CZW in 2004, and has competed for Pro Wrestling Guerilla, CHIKARA, Dragon Gate, Dramatic Dream Team, TNA (two dark matches in 2011) and many other promotions around the world since.

He is currently in WWE as Sami Zayn, where he is a one time NXT Champion. Among his in-ring achievements, he is a former 2x PWG World Heavyweight Champion, a King Of DDT Openweight Champion, a 5x PWG World Tag Team Champion, a ROH World Tag Team Champion, and a ROH World Television Champion. In 2010, The Wrestling Observer Newsletter named his ROH feud with Kevin Steen "Feud of the Year."

As usual, you can find the basics at The Other Wiki.

"Los Tropes Genericos":

  • The Ace: Out of Kayfabe, Sami had no less than five "Match of the Year" contenders in 2016 alone. He's also part of four of the "Top Ten NXT Matches" video that WWE put out in early 2018 (vs. Neville, vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, vs. Cesaro, and the Fatal Four Way with Cesaro-Kidd-Breeze).
  • Always Someone Better:
    • In NXT Sami Zayn had Adrian Neville, who Zayn just couldn't beat for the championship. Zayn's abysmal track record concerning important matches and a flippant insult by Neville did such a number on his psyche that he declared that if he couldn't beat Neville for the championship at TakeOver R Evolution, he'd quit the company. Zayn finally beat Neville for the NXT Championship at the event.
    • Right after finally surpassing Neville, here comes Kevin Owens. He's managed to keep up with him in their matches, but Owens always manages to come out on top in some form. Zayn goes for John Cena's Open Challenge but gets injured, Kevin Owens takes it and wins. Sami Zayn gets his revenge against Owens during the Royal Rumble, but Owens beats him in the grudge match that happens at Payback. Sami finally beat Owens at Battleground 2016.
    • Subverted with El Generico and Kevin Steen's ROH feud, where Generico (and Colt Cabana) usually would defeat Steen (and Steve Corino) in the matches, but Steen would somehow be the one standing at the end of the fight — until their Mask vs. Career Fight Without Honor at Final Battle 2010 saw Generico finally decisively pin Steen at the conclusion of an all-out war.
  • Arch-Enemy:
  • Badass Beard: A very ginger one, at that.
  • Badass Cape: As entrance attire when working as Generico.
  • Bald of Awesome: Upon his return to NXT in late 2015.
  • Bash Brothers: With Kevin Steen (and Kevin Owens) — until Steen inevitably betrays him with malice. They're teaming again for the moment.
  • Being Good Sucks: His stated motivation for his late-2017 Face–Heel Turn — in his eyes, he'd been a good guy for so long... yet gotten absolutely nowhere. Of course, this completely ignores and invalidates his Character Arc in NXT where he chose to become The Fettered despite knowing that Being Good Sucks because he genuinely believed in the morals he stood for.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: As Zayn, he's a consummate face for promos: polite, humble and charming. Treat him wrongly, though, and he'll deliver a thorough beating in the ring.
    • Even more invoked as a heel. Zayn told Bryan that he's still the same fun, charming, lovable guy he always was. Only difference being he wouldn't take anyone's crap anymore and will do anything to achieve his goals. Even if that includes cheating his way to the top and screwing over anyone who gets in his way.
  • Big Damn Heroes: He, Kevin Steen and Delirious came out together to save Tyler Black from Jimmy Jacobs's thugs and bring the Age Of The Fall to an end.
  • Book-Ends:
    • The feud between El Generico and Kevin Steen began when Steen smashed Generico in the face with a steel chair after they lost to The Young Bucks. One year later, at the same event, in the same arena, Generico hits Steen in the face with that very chair to end their feud and kick Steen out of ROH.
    • The slow burning feud between Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville starts when Zayn loses a number one contender's match for the NXT Championship against Neville. After the match, Neville extends his hand for a handshake, but Zayn kicks his hand away...only to give him a big hug, showing that there are no hard feelings despite Zayn's loss. A year later, when their friendship is strained and the feud is at its zenith, Zayn finally beats Neville for the NXT Championship. Post-match, the kicked hand-to-hug sequence happens again – only this time with the roles reversed.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Downplayed. Zayn's a very talented wrestler but is also a bit quirky and neurotic sometimes which can unintentionally annoy others. This is all apparently true of him in Real Life, with several people going on record saying he's "weird," being annoyed by him when they first meet him, and then ultimately being won over by Zayn without him changing a thing.
  • But Not Too Foreign: The name "Sami Zayn." He wanted to have a more low key Arabic name that wouldn't make him a cultural stereotype heel.
  • But Not Too White: Zigzagged. He's Syrian but white-passing and ginger and is noticeably a shade or two paler than most of the 'white' guys on the WWE roster.
  • The Cape: While Generico's the one with the mask and cape attire, Zayn embodies the spirit of the trope just as well if not better.
  • Carpet of Virility: Zayn has a chest full of bright orange hair, but apparently to his chagrin, it was turned Up to Eleven on a recent action figure.
  • Celeb Crush: On Gillian Jacobs and Laura Jane Grace.
  • Chewing the Scenery: As seen in this picture, he seems to take this a bit... literally when he's overjoyed.
  • Cool Mask: As El Generico. Averted as Sami Zayn.
  • Crowd Song: Fans sing along to his WWE entrance theme. It should be noted said theme doesn't have lyrics.
    • OLE OLE OLE OLE! OLE! OLE!. For many years, you couldn't go to an indy show without hearing it incessantly. He still gets it in WWE, years later, and even in certain cities after his heel turn.
  • Cultured Badass: Zayn seemed to be playing to this trope early on.
  • Dance Battler: During the Osirian Portal (Amasis/Ophidian/Escorpion Egipcio) vs. Team PWG (El Generico/The Young Bucks [Matt and Nick Jackson]) match at CHIKARA King of Trios 2009 Night I, he rolled out of Amasis' sunset flip attempt and started dancing, and was good enough that Amasis backed away from him.
    • His ska-dancing to his main-roster WWE theme is fairly hilarious, and only gets more ridiculous when he's a heel.
  • Darker and Edgier: Late in his 2010 feud with Kevin Steen, Steen stole his mask after a brutal double chains tag team match. When Generico returned to action, he had ditched his signature black and red attire for a stark black and white look, lost much of his playful antics and showed an uncharacteristic violence and aggression in the ring, even against opponents with no connection to his war with Steen. He would eventually gain his old mask and attitude back months later after exiling Steen from Ring of Honor.
  • Defeat Means Respect: Inverted. Despite Zayn's loss (as well as a previous loss in their 2-out-of-3 falls match) to him at NXT arRIVAL, Cesaro, who had been rude and disrespectful towards Zayn since his debut, finally gave Zayn the respect he wanted.
  • Determinator: Hard enough to pin during the shows, but if you want to beat him during a live special, you'd best run him over with three tanks and leave the third one parked on top of him. This even shows up in his booking; even when he's not the main event, his matches tend to be much longer than his fellow NXT stars. In fact, he (along with Samoa Joe) is the only person in NXT to have wrestled a match that took an entire episode of NXT. Not counting commercial breaks and Vanity Plates, that's about forty-five minutes.
    • He also wears this hat on the main roster. His feud with Braun Strowman has mostly consisted of Sami getting the tar beaten out of him and continuing to get up.
    • He's also this from a moral standpoint. See The Fettered below
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: On the 12/26/2016 Raw, he interfered against Braun Strowman — the show's newest Invincible Villain Wrestling Monster — and absolutely kicked the crap out of him just by being a furious Combat Pragmatist and No-Nonsense Nemesis.
  • Dirty Coward: After turning heel and teaming with Kevin Owens, he occasionally slides into this as an interesting inversion of their former dynamic, with Zayn trying to run away from an angry face team/wrestler and Owens wanting to stay and fight.
  • Dramatic Unmask: An angry Generico went to attack Kevin Steen after an exhausting match but Steen took advantage of Generico's rage and tore off his mask, revealing his identity to a shocked audience. See Revenge Before Reason.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Sami lists this as motivation for his Face–Heel Turn, claiming that Shane will always overlook him, considering him a good worker, but not giving him opportunities he deserved.
  • Easter Egg: According to Google Translate, Sami Zayn is Arabic for El Generico.
  • Eats Babies: Colt Cabana tried to make him into this (see below). But…
    El Generico: (following Colt's prompts) I EAT CHILDREN!
    Colt: No, no! "I want to eat your children!"
    El Generico: Que no comprendo "eat children"!
  • Eccentric Mentor: Colt Cabana decided to mentor him on how to defeat Kevin Steen and Steve Corino.
  • Establishing Character Moment: His first night as Sami Zayn in NXT, he defeated both Curt Hawkins and Antonio Cesaro about 10 minutes apart from each other.
  • Every Month (or Two) He Fizzles Out: Has unfortunately become part of his character arc lately in NXT, after repeated attempts (and repeated failures) to win the NXT Title...
    • After coming up short in the Wrestlemania 33 battle royal and the six pack challenge a few weeks later, he angrily condemned most of his career as this, a comment he repeated in his post-Hell in a Cell Face–Heel Turn promo.
  • Evil Feels Good: According to his promo to Daniel Bryan, it feels amaaaaaaaaaazing.
  • The Face: Became the representative of the International Wrestling Syndicate in IWP:UK, the 2007 King Of Europe Cup and westside Xtreme wrestling after defeating Jagged and Kid Kamikaze at Praise The Violence.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Shockingly came during the main event of the 2017 Hell In A Cell pay-per-view, after pulling long-time adversary Kevin Owens out of the path of Shane McMahon as the latter jumped off the top of the cell. After spending several moments seemingly in shock at saving Owens, he then dragged Owens on top of Shane for the three count. Two days later, on SmackDown Live, Zayn cemented his heel turn by stating he was tired of being a nice guy while accomplishing nothing, and embraced Owens to a shower of boos.
  • The Fettered: In contrast to Face wrestlers who either suffer no negative consequences for their code, or claims to have a code despite acting as despicable as the Heel, Sami actively chooses to follow his moral code despite frequently being on the end of Being Good Sucks.
  • Fiery Redhead: Downplayed as he's very composed and professional outside of the ring, but very physical and intense between the ropes. Almost reflected in his actual hair — as the picture above shows, his hair is a brownish color, but the beard he's sporting is quite ginger.
  • Finishing Move: "Brainbustaaaaahhhhh!!!!!" (Super Brainbuster onto the turnbuckle and sometimes on the apron; more so as Generico); Helluva Kick (Big Boot in the corner), Koji Clutch. Occasionally a Blue Thunder Bomb.
  • Foreign Exchange Student: Billed this way in Dragon Gate.
  • Friend to All Children: He wouldn't be a proper luchador parody if he wasn't. It's to the point that when Sebei jumped ship and became Sami Zayn, it was joked that El Generico retired to help out little orphans in Mexico and that Sami was one of said orphans.
  • The Gadfly: After his heel turn and egged on by Kevin Owens, Sami has just been getting more and more obnoxious. It helps that his trolling is hilarious - he's managed to make his entrance dancing even more over the top, occasionally annoy his best friend Kevin, constantly mock the teams or wrestlers they're facing, and even make putting his glasses on a hilariously dickish move.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: They mask it through an alternate pronunciation, but one of his finishers in NXT is called the Helluva Kick, which looks like it should be (and in fact, has been on occasion) pronounced 'Hell of a Kick'.
  • The Heart: "The Heart and Soul of NXT"
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Kevin Steen/Owens in Real Life. Also, with Prince Fergal Devitt/Finn Bálor, to the point Shipping them has become a fun fad amongst NXT fans (which is nearly encouraged by Balor).
  • Honor Before Reason: In his own words, he's not really about doing the smart thing, he's about trying to do the right thing.
    Foley: What you did for me out there? It was dumb – don't get me wrong. It was dumb, but I appreciate it, and I thank you for it.
    • An evil, zig-zagged version of this was the big reason for his helping Owens at HIAC 2017. Initially, he was all for Shane getting revenge on Owens for what KO did to Vince and insulting his family, but when Shane had Owens beat near the end of their HIAC matchnote , instead Shane ascended the Cell for his big "Leap of Faith." Sami, in his mind, felt Shane was no longer going after Owens to bring honor back to the McMahon family, but rather to simply end Owens and his career, and intervened as such, pulling Owens to safety a split-second before Shane crashed through the table.
  • I Have Many Names: He has also wrestled as Stevie McFly.
  • I Have the High Ground: He won CHIKARA's 2011 Rey de Voladoresnote  Tournament.
  • I Warned You: Subverted. Having been betrayed by Kevin Owens before, Zayn warns Chris Jericho of suffering a similar fate as Owens' new best friend. Fast-forward five months and Owens has betrayed Jericho during a celebration of their friendship. Despite his past differences with Jericho, Zayn says he takes no joy in having predicted this and even comes to Jericho's aid when he gets attacked by both Owens and Samoa Joe.
    • Played straight with his warning to Shane prior to HIAC 2017, citing that he himself knows all too well the sheer brutality that Owens is capable of outside or inside of a cell. Shane rebuffed him rather callously, which ended up being part of the final straw that led to Sami's Face–Heel Turn at HIAC 2017.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Which of course made Kevin Steen into his enemy due to his "metamorphosis" into a monster through and through. As Sami Zayn, he's a pure babyface that always tries to do the right thing, even if he knows it's not the smart thing to do. Eventually subverted with his heel turn - Owens has succeeded in corrupting him.
  • It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: One of his finishers in NXT, the "Helluva Kick", is pronounced "Heh-LU-Vah"
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Zayn was right, Shane McMahon had won the Hell in a Cell match against Kevin Owens, and didn't have to try and further punish Owens by attempting a Leap of Faith off the Cell onto Owens. Zayn's saving his "brother" wasn't the action of a bad guy, but his subsequent actions were.
  • Juxtaposed Halves Shot: He and Kevin Steen in promotional posters for ROH Final Battle 2012.
  • Kayfabe:
    • A tongue-in-cheek version. Even in shoot interviews, wrestlers will (jokingly) refer to El Generico as Mexican.
    • Many insist on the idea that Zayn and Generico are two different people. Most of all being Kevin Steen, who claims that El Generico was found dead in a ditch in Mexico.
    • Zayn and Owens never fully break kayfabe on their contempt for one another even in shoot interviews. They'll preface or follow up every story of respect or praise for one another by saying that they still hate each other.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: He, Excess 69 and Kevin Steen all competed with each other to have the least amount of time in the ring with Samoa Joe during a four corners match (and to a lesser extent, to be out of the ring in general, as the winner had to face ROH champion Austin Aries). 69 didn't want to be in the ring with Steen either, which in turn let Generico outmaneuver Steen.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: It's said that the reason El Generico became a pro wrestler in the first place was that he could earn enough money to provide for his twenty-six brothers and sisters.
  • Master of Disguise: How he breaks the news to Becky Lynch that they'll be partners for the Mixed Match Challenge - wearing an RKO hoodie, some hilariously retro glasses, a grey wig, and a fake beard.
  • Morality Pet: For Kevin Steen. Or not. This is true in both ROH and NXT.
  • Nice Guy: A pure babyface as Sami Zayn, he's so nice and morally upright that others see his unwillingness to cut corners as a hindrance to his own success.
  • Nice Hat: He's taken to wearing a distinctive flat cap as Zayn. The hat itself has almost achieved Ensemble Darkhorse status; it has its own Twitter, and according to Zayn on Chris Jericho's podcast, a lot of the rest of NXT have taken to busting his chops and hiding his "old man hat" from him.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Unfortunately, for all his prowess, Zayn wears the collar for the legit concussion (caused by his Helluva Kick being a bit off) that proved to be the final straw for Corey Graves's in-ring career. Fortunately for Graves, it wasn't a total loss, as he was a decent wrestler that has proved to be perhaps even better at his current color commentary and host roles.
  • No Respect Guy: Zayn is the resident nice guy that others take passing verbal jabs at in segments even when he's not around. In kayfabe, Stephanie McMahon hates him and generally makes his life more difficult. She once put him in a match against Braun Strowman on Raw as "punishment" for not winning the Intercontinental Championship at Survivor Series 2016. Despite Raw's men's team (which Strowman was on) also losing their match at the same event that night, Zayn is the only one who had to suffer any repercussions whatsoever, with some of the others even getting rewarded with shots at championships.
  • Non-Indicative Name: While his gimmick is, for the most part, about as generic as a luchador can get, his wrestling is much less so.
  • Omniglot: Speaks at least three languages: English, French, and Arabic. The last was especially taken advantage of during WWE's Middle Eastern tour, to the point of featuring Zayn in many of the tour's promotional packages.
  • One Mario Limit/Unfortunate Name/Embarrassing Last Name: Averted. Outside of the wrestling world, "Zayn" is almost universally associated with (formerly) one-fifth of One Direction. It makes it particularly funny when people see Sami Zayn trending on Twitter (as what happened on his Raw debut) and think it has something to do with the other Zayn — or more commonly, when a trend about "Zayn" the singer appears and wrestling fans think it's about Sami.
  • Parts Unknown: "Tijuana, Canada" as El Generico. Averted as Sami Zayn, where he's billed from Montreal, Quebec.
  • Power Trio: Team IWS at Chikara's King Of Trios with Player Uno and Stupefied, then team PWG with The Young Bucks.
  • Put on a Bus: The running joke since he went to WWE is that Generico and Zayn are two different people and the former left to take care of the orphans in Mexico. This even extended to Kevin Steen, who stated that Generico did indeed go to Mexico…and his corpse was found in a ditch. Steen later contradicted this, likely having forgotten it, when he himself was on his way to WWE and said that he was going to help Generico with the orphans.
  • Power Stable: Tozawa-juku, in Dragon Gate.
  • Reality Ensues: Daniel Bryan was willing to overlook alot of things he and Owens did after turning heel, but he was not willing to ignore the two of them beating the holy hell out of Shane McMahon, and fired both of them for it.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: "Ole!" by the Bouncing Souls.
  • Red Baron: "The Generic Luchador" as El Generico, "The Underdog from the Underground" as Sami Zayn.
  • Revenge Before Reason: After Generico and Colt Cabana won a grueling and bloody double chains tag team match against Kevin Steen and Steve Corino, Generico was still intent on punishing Steen. In his anger, Generico put himself in a vulnerable position and Steen was able to turn the attack around, steal Generico's mask and humiliate him in front of a large audience.
    • Also, in WWE, it's been pointed out when the two have been in multi-man matches for any sort of title, that he and Steen (now known as Kevin Owens) tend to lose focus on the objective and spend most of their time trying to kill each other instead of focusing on trying to win the championship. Commentators regularly postulate that each is unhealthy for the other's career for this very reason.
  • Rule of Cool: He and Samuray Del Sol (aka WWE's Kalisto) were put in the main event of Evolve 14 despite both having losing records. Why? Because why let losses get in the way of cool?
  • Rule of Funny: A white Syrian guy from Canada playing a Mexican? Just go with it.
  • Running Gag: Before a tag team match, when Zayn talks about the strategy for his team's matches, expect his teammates to leave in the end.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: He continued to defend Mick Foley after Foley was fired by Stephanie McMahon, defying her orders to stand down even though he knew it would just get him into more trouble.
  • Screwed by the Network: An In-Universe example. It's been noted several times that Stephanie McMahon, at least on a storyline level, doesn't like Sami Zayn, and it's explicitly stated to have had an effect on the matches he's getting. Mick Foley once put Zayn in a match with Braun Strowman as an alternative to having Stephanie fire him.
  • Signature Move: Zayn's Helluva Kick was this back when Generico called it the Yakuza Kick. Both Zayn and Generico use the Blue Thunder Bomb as a signature move. Further moves include the exploder suplex, a through-the-ropes suicide dive chained into a tornado DDT, wristlock into a springboard tornado DDT, and the Michinoku Driver.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: During and after the final moments of his match against Neville at TakeOver: R Evolution, he drops a slew of F-bombs that had to be muted. On the Talk is Jericho podcast, he confesses that he cusses aloud during crowd pops to his opponents' entrances as a way to amp himself up for his matches.
  • Spiteful Spit: El Generico and Kevin Steen greeted each other this way at Final Battle 2010.
  • Sweet and Sour Grapes: On NXT, Zayn's quest for the NXT Championship and his reputation as the nice guy incapable of winning "the big one" come to a head in his feud with long time friend Adrian Neville. Zayn's stance on winning and doing things the honest way earned him criticism from Neville, the dominant champion who never outright cheated, but proved he was willing to cut corners to retain the belt when he was pushed to the brink – even if doing so came at Zayn's expense. Neville cited his friend's kindness and lack of a killer instinct as reasons he would never win when it truly mattered. These words lit a fire under Zayn, who put his career on the line and slapped Neville in anger, seemingly done with being the nice guy that always showed respect to others. At one point in the championship match, the referee gets knocked out and Zayn has a perfect opportunity to smash the championship belt in Neville's face for an easy win, proving that not only can he win the big one, but also that he isn't "too nice" to be champion. Zayn comes right to the brink of going through with it, but ultimately decides against using the belt...and wins the match clean. In doing so, he keeps both his career and his friendship with Neville, wins the big one, and most of all, stays true to himself.
  • Tag Team:
    • Cape Fear, with Quicksilver.
    • ¡Peligro Abejas!, with Paul London.
    • 2 Skinny Black Guys, with Human Tornado.
    • Two Husky Black Guys, with Willie Mack.
    • Back where it all started in IWS, Team Photosynthesis with Beef Wellington.
  • Take That!: Him choking Kevin Steen with a tie at Death Before Dishonor VIII, after Bryan Danielson had been fired from WWE earlier that year for the same action.
  • Tournament Arc
    • Won Association de Lutte Feminine's Sensational Sherri Memorial Cup: Amazones et Titans II with LuFisto as his partner, going over Kevin Steen and Stefany Sinclair. Getting a bye in the second round may have had something to do with that...
    • ¡Peligro Abejas! beat the Young Bucks in the finals of PWG DDT4 2010
    • Beat Kevin Steen in Guerrilla's 2011 Battle Of Los Angeles finals
    • Beat Tommy End at the end of westside Xtreme wrestling's 16 Carat Gold tournament in 2012.
  • Troll: Has become a massive one ever since turning heel, especially with how over-the-top he is about his usual happy entrance since then.
  • Unconscious Objector: At TakeOver: Rival, he gets powerbombed four times by Kevin Owens and is more or less knocked out, but still rolls over weakly to break up a pin.
  • Versus Title: EVOLVE 14: Generico vs. del Sol, EVOLVE 15: Generico vs del Sol II, EVOLVE 17: Generico vs. del Sol III. Rule of cool indeed.
  • The Voiceless: In Ring Of Honor.
  • We Used to Be Friends: With Kevin Steen, as they teamed for years going back to their IWS days. It remains to be seen what (if any) effect this prior history will have now that Steen has joined NXT.
    • And with Steen's debut at Takover 3, it's clear it's still this big time.
  • Worthy Opponent: While Cesaro entered NXT ArRIVAL seeing Zayn as a nuisance, by the end of the match they had become this.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: And if he does, he'll immediately regret it, even if its retaliation to a prior strike, such as Christina Von Eerie smacking him for trying to call out Low Ki at Evolve.
    • It took nearly seven minutes to get him to do this in a Chikara match against Sara Del Rey, a fact which del Rey was not pleased about (she wanted to wrestle!).

Alternative Title(s): El Generico

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Wrestling/SamiZayn?from=Wrestling.ElGenerico