Everyone knows who Sami Zayn once was, despite the fact that his former self has retired to Mexico to take care of a school of Orphans. A cry of anger rang out throughout the world of Professional Wrestling when the former “Generic Luchador” El Generico was discovered to be competing in WWE’s Developmental NXT, seemingly without the gimmick that had made him a star.
Now, we will all miss El Generico. This character has had some of the most entertaining and comedic feuds in Indie History. He has also had incredibly bloody, brutal and hardcore matches that no one will ever forget. El Generico captured the hearts of every fan that ever watched him, with his superb athleticism, his ability to capture the crowd’s imagination, and most of all, his incredible heart that he put into every match.
These traits, however, are not the traits of just the character, but of the man known as Rami Sebai. As El Generico, the main under the mask never got the credit he deserved for being a superb wrestler, only credit as being a close-to-the-chest, well protected character.
If it had indeed been El Generico that would be used by the WWE, the likeliness of the character ever being above the lower mid-card would have been slim-to-none. He would forever be remembered as a Santino Marrella, a character with the talent to play a serious gimmick, but tasked with a gimmick that would hold him back for the entirety of his career.
The WWE doesn’t see such Gimmicks as anything but exactly what they are portrayed to be, and that is time on the card to make sure they fill up their time-slot. Even greats such as George “The Animal” Steel, who is remembered as one of the most lovable character’s in the history of our business, never had a single titles run to set himself apart from the pack. Comedy gimmicks have never been taken seriously in the top tier’s of the business.
Then, you can look at the successful gimmicks, the odd ones that were never duplicated. The Undertaker is a perfect example, in an age where ten-plus world title reigns for top-drawing talent, the Undertaker has only held seven world titles, and the lengths of these reigns would surprise those unfamiliar with the numbers. The Undertaker has a combined reign, in days, of of 238 days as WWE Champion, and 207 days as World Heavyweight Champion. When compared to other top-billing champions in wrestling history, 445 combined days as world champion is a small number, especially for a character that is widely known as the best gimmick in wrestling history, and it is doubtful any gimmick wrestler will ever rival these numbers.
When you think about it, the former El Generico has saved himself by shedding the personae he used to make his name. In agreeing to these terms, and creating a new character, he has allowed himself to be taken seriously as a wrestler.
If he isn’t going to be just another gimmick, but instead a multifaceted character that is closer to the man himself. This will not only allow the man to do something different with his career from here on out, but it will also put him in contention as a singles competitor to be contended with in NXT.
Then, you must consider the long term. While El Generico would probably bottom out as mid-card or tag team champion, and find himself either off television or jobbing out to others during his WWE Tenure.
Sami Zayn, on the other hand, has limitless potential. He doesn’t have to be held down as a mid-card wrestler, nor does he need to stay a face, as his previous incarnation was. Not to mention, he’ll be able to mold a somewhat new arsenal of moves that don’t have to be so close to the Luchador style that El Generico used, without the fear that people will miss banned moved such as the top-turnbuckle Brainbuster.
All in all, the internet community may be wrong on this entire ordeal. Are they missing out on a possible payday with matches such as Cody Rhodes/El Generico? This isn’t deniable, but for the long-term the man who created the memorable El Generico seems to have a bright future. Only time will tell if this decision will be a profitable one for all involved.