Victory at WWE Money in the Bank 2017 would be the fuel Sami Zayn‘s jetpack has been missing.
SmackDown’s resident everyman and underdog is one of the most magnetic babyfaces on the roster. He’s a thrilling performer, a dramatist between the ropes, the kind of relatable talent who can be a cornerstone of the New Era.
He only needs the boost of a career-making moment, the kind born at Money in the Bank. And on Sunday’s pay-per-view, WWE has to strongly consider crowning Zayn Mr. Money in the Bank, having him pull down that contract-filled briefcase as part of a Cinderella story.
Zayn doesn’t have the bodybuilder physique that will net him a rapid leap to the top a la Jinder Mahal. He doesn’t have prototypical size like Baron Corbin. Instead of magazine-cover looks, Zayn seems like the guy you would ask for music recommendations in a vintage record store.
His claim to championship glory will be steep, success coming in spite of what he lacks.
And WWE has embraced that. It’s part of his persona. On Tuesday after SmackDown, he told Dasha Fuentes backstage: “Nobody’s going to expect me to win on Sunday. Nobody’s going to expect me to win Money in the Bank.”
His underdog status is an ideal fit for him becoming Mr. Money in the Bank.
Shinsuke Nakamura can believably dethrone whoever the WWE champ may be. Corbin’s imposing frame makes it easy to buy into him bullying the titleholder into submission. Zayn, meanwhile, is the long shot who needs everything to go his way.
It makes sense for him to mimic Daniel Bryan’s career and enter the title scene by way of the Money in the Bank briefcase.
Bryan was able to take down the monstrous Mark Henry by waiting for the right opportunity and cashing in his golden ticket. He swooped in after Big Show coldcocked Henry and pulled off the seemingly impossible.
That was in large part key to Bryan’s eventual rise to the WWE’s top tier.
The Money in the Bank briefcase allowed access he may not have received otherwise. It was his backdoor path to the brass ring.
A similar story would do wonders for Zayn. He can be the slingshot-wielding David ready to take down a Goliath of a champion.
And WWE can increase the spotlight on Zayn and give him instant direction by putting the Money in the Bank briefcase in his hand.
We have seen flashes of a Bryan-like connection to the crowd with Zayn. His NXT run saw him charge up the ladder in compelling fashion. His story engaged. His charisma crackled on the screen.
More recently, he’s looked terrific during feuds with Kevin Owens and Braun Strowman. Both those rivals remain higher on the food chain than he does, though. Both have been on the main event level.
Zayn needs something to help him catch fire. He needs a career-changing image, a victory beyond any he’s achieved so far.
Should he outlast the likes of Nakamura, Corbin, Owens, AJ Styles and Dolph Ziggler in Sunday’s Money in the Bank ladder match, he would get just that.
A drama overflowing with ladders and broken bodies is on the way, and Zayn needs to be the star of it.