WWE: Quebecer Sami Zayn is the star of two wrestling galas presented at the Bell Center
From Stevie McFly to El Generico, a lot has happened for Rami Sebei to become wrestler Sami Zayn, star of two WWE galas presented at the Bell Center this weekend.< /strong>
Born in Laval, the 38-year-old is very proud of his Montreal roots. He also wore a t-shirt with the city logo during a press meeting on Friday morning.
“It's sick, it's really difficult to understand all this because I I'm in wrestling all week, so I'm losing a bit of perspective.
Sami Zayn is the star of WWE this weekend in Montreal. We see it in a press briefing on Friday morning.
“When I come back to Montreal and say to myself: oh, my God, this is where I started, I understand that it doesn’t often happen on a weekend like this. »
Close the loop
For Zayn, it's a bit of an opportunity to come full circle. You see, Pat Laprade told us earlier this week that this was the biggest wrestling event in town since Survivor Series in 1997. However, this is the first gala that Sami Zayn attended when he was young teenager.
He did, of course, come home to wrestle, and that was with his great friend Kevin Owens who often gets more media space. This time it's his weekend. He is the headliner of the two galas.
“I am very proud. It was always a dream of mine when I started being the Montreal guy. That's even before Kev signed with WWE.
“There, we're pretty lucky because there are two guys from Montreal and two pretty talented guys, in my opinion, for good represent the city. »
For the city
As we have already said, his heart beats for Montreal and he did not miss an opportunity to talk about the city throughout the interview, which lasted just under ten minutes.
Even though he resides in the United States for professional reasons, we feel very well that his heart is nestled in the snow.
“It is an honor that the city is part of the history of the fight because of my presence. The fact that this fight is presented in Montreal is a nice note in history.
“It is rare that the city where this kind of gala is presented has its place in the history of the weekend and I am very proud that Montreal can have the light so that people can see that it is a special city.
With the immense success of WWE, there has been a lot of room for the theatrical aspect of wrestling, but it's much more than that.
Sami says it bluntly, it's a gravitational force that attracted him to this sport, which offers much more subtlety than we want to believe .
“It's one of the most beautiful art forms, because [it's] four or five disciplines in one. There is the athletic and technical dimension, but there is also drama, comedy and acting. You have to excel on many levels to be a good wrestler.
“When I was young, it It was more the spectacle side that attracted me like Hulk Hogan, there was a grandiose aspect to it all, but I also like sports. »
What is striking when you find yourself next to the very friendly and affable man is his size. It's not a mountain of muscle. It is pointed out to him that he looks more like a defender of the Montreal Canadiens, a team he adores by the way.
“Wrestling, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s, has a history where the wrestlers were really big. In the last fifteen years, the physique of the wrestlers has changed, but we also see it in the cinema, there is no longer a body like that of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now you look at a guy like Jason Statham and he's got an athletic physique, but he's not 300 pounds either.
“It's the same thing in the UFC. The best fighters are not at heavyweight. Georges St-Pierre, for example, was fighting at 170 pounds and he was one of the biggest stars in this environment. »
The head in Syria
Sami Zayn was born in Laval to parents who immigrated from Syria in the 1970s. Obviously, the earthquake that shook the country challenges him, especially since he is personally involved in humanitarian aid.
“I have mobile clinics in Syria with the Sami 4 Syria Foundation. They go to meet people who do not have a car or who live in refugee camps. We ship the drugs directly to them.
“I'm lucky I don't have any family in this part of the country, but that's where our clinics are, so obviously that's sure it's on my mind. »
His only regret: not having enough time to get more involved.
“Since the earthquake, I wanted to do more, but I'm so busy with this big weekend that it's it is difficult to combine the two.
A Family Affair
Natalya, real name Nathalie Katherine Neidhart, is the daughter of Jim Neidhart and the niece of Owen and Brett Hart.
Natalya lives in Tampa Bay for work, but her story begins in Canada. She still owns a property in Calgary, where she is from.
Her real name, Nathalie Katherine Neidhart, is the daughter of former wrestler Jim Neidhart and the niece of Owen and Bret Hart, her mother's brothers. The Hart family's father, Stu, also had a successful wrestling career.
“I first set foot in the dungeon at 18 and counting from that day on, I always knew I wanted to be a wrestler.
“I never had a plan B because I knew plan A would work. I'm a Hart,” says the 40-year-old woman.
For her, it's special to spend a few days in Montreal where she feels at home.
“It's so special for me to be here because Montreal holds an important place in my family's history.
“There's obviously that 1997 incident, the Montreal Screwjob, which involved my uncle Bret and changed the face of wrestling. »
She talks here about this fight where her uncle, just before leaving for WCW, was “bogged down” with a bogus scenario that he was the only one to have while all the other wrestlers involved had another. /p>
It's the world's equivalent of the fight of the night of the long knives in the political sphere.
Canada means a lot to the Hart family so it's like coming home that I can fight here. We have a deep respect for the people who made it possible for us to reach these heights.
“I feel like people here understand our journey with what happened to Bret and Owen as well. than to my husband and they have always been on our side.
It must be said that the family has not been spared from hardships over the years.
Owen Hart died in 1999 in the middle of a gala after falling several meters while Natalya's husband, Canadian wrestler Tyson Kidd, was forced into retirement due to a serious spinal cord injury. in a fight.
Like Sami Zayn, she insists that wrestling is made up of many layers of subtlety.
“It's a mix of athletics and play that's why very few people in the world can do what we do. We have to be good actors, good athletes.
“We have to wear several hats by being representatives of the brand, but also of ourselves. It's something I love to do and I'm passionate about wrestling, especially women's wrestling. “
Only during the press meeting on Friday morning, you could see the wrestlers present go from character to person in a snap of the fingers as soon as the camera rolled.
“ We are pros. It's not like on a Hollywood movie set. You only have one take when you're in the ring. We have to be good at improvising at times. »