Three Potential Opponents For Sami Zayn’s First Intercontinental Championship Defence

Three Potential Opponents For Sami Zayn's First Intercontinental Championship Defence

Three Potential Opponents For Sami Zayn’s First Intercontinental Championship Defence – WrestleMania Saturday certainly lived up to the hype and then some. The Rock looked as though he hadn’t missed a step as he and undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns defeated the team of Cody Rhodes and World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins. Rhea Ripley and Becky Lynch ensured that the weekend kicked off with a bang with a barnstorming curtain raiser that saw the Australian powerhouse retain her Women’s World Championship. However, the match of the night was arguably Sami Zayn’s shock victory over Gunther, which saw him leave Lincoln Financial Field as the newly minted Intercontinental Champion. 

Zayn Upsets Gunther To Win Gold 

It was the Austrian star who headed into the contest as the favorite for victory and to extend his record-breaking 667-day title reign. His opponent, the former Honorary Uce has become a major star over the last two years, and as such, many expected to see him battling it out alongside Rollins and Drew McIntyre for the World Heavyweight Championship in a triple threat match for the ages. That ultimately didn’t come to pass as the Visionary was thrust into the Bloodline limelight, paving the way for Zayn and Gunther to clash. 

In a back-and-forth affair, it looked as though the champion would retain the gold after delivering an almighty beatdown on the challenger. However, just as we saw during his days in NXT, the former Underdog of the Underground found that famous fighting spirit. He delivered a vicious brainbuster onto the top turnbuckle before two Helluva Kicks ended Gunther’s title reign once and for all and handed him his first singles match defeat via pinfall since being called up to the main roster. 

With the former champ now expected to be catapulted into the main event scene, attention turns to what’s next for Zayn. Who will be his first challenger for the IC gold? Let’s take a look at who we think would be good options. 

CM Punk 

Starting out hot, right? When CM Punk returned to WWE at Survivor Series back in November, many expected to see him catapulted straight into the main event, and that’s exactly how it looked. He looked primed and ready to main event WrestleMania for the first time ever in a bitter blood feud against Seth Rollins for the World Heavyweight Championship. However, that ultimately didn’t come to pass as a tricep tear in the Royal Rumble match ended his dream Showcase of the Immortals scenario. 

With the Second City Saint due to return to action shortly, what better way to do it than in a feud against Sami Zayn? Yes, both stars are babyfaces, but both men are regarded as two of the best pure wrestlers of their generation. Add to that the fact that the pair haven’t squared off on the grandest stage before, and it’s a clash that the WWE universe would certainly love to see. 

During his most recent bout in the Octagon, UFC betting odds providers made Punk a +265 betting underdog, and they were right on the money as the Chicago native was defeated. For a potential feud against Zayn, we imagine he would be a narrow favorite to run out victorious. We’re sure all the keen fans will have their eyes trained on the UFC betting odds as the competition heats up and the matches are arranged.

Chad Gable 

One of the main stories on Monday Night Raw in the first few months of 2024 was Chad Gable and his pursuit of Gunther’s Intercontinental Championship. The pair put on banger after banger and fans began to get invested in Gable like we have never seen before. As such, when Zayn defeated Gable to secure number one contender status, some fans in attendance shockingly booed the beloved Zayn, such was the investment into Gable. 

Now, with Zayn dispatching Gunther and becoming champion, the first man in line for a title shot should be the man he vanquished to become the number one contender, Chad Gable. The Alpha Academy member was pictured giving some final words of advice to his former opponent before his title match on the Grandest Stage of Them All, before then telling him “Remember, you owe me one.” Does that mean that the newly minted Zayn will be hand-picking Gable as the first challenger for his crown? 

Dominik Mysterio 

Just as Zayn has developed into a top babyface over the last two years, Dominik Mysterio has arguably become the company’s top heel. For months, he has been garnering the harshest reactions of anybody on the roster, with fans vociferously booing the Judgement Day member any time he picks up a microphone. As such, it came as a shock to many when he wasn’t scheduled to perform at WrestleMania. The company eventually shuffled the deck one week out and booked Dirty Dom in a snoozefest tag team match-up alongside Santos Escobar, but that was hardly the reward that his performances over the last year deserved. 

One way that Mysterio could become as relevant as ever is by being positioned against Zayn in a clash for the Intercontinental title. With Zayn being a beloved face and Mysterio being a vilified heel, the pair will surely garner reactions whenever they’re on screen together. And of course, the pair are two of the most talented workers on the roster, something that should be considered when battling it out for the Workman’s championship.

Three Potential Opponents For Sami Zayn’s First Intercontinental Championship Defence

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