This dynamic duo from the north is certainly good for hours of wrestling content. If it’s not their intense promos – especially from Kevin Owens – or Sami Zayn’s outrageous antics and epic dance moves, then it’s the countless hours of action in the ring that make the audience scream for more. Really, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens can literally fight forever, either against each other or even as a tag team that pits enemies week after week.
Why are the two so perfect together? Why do they have such chemistry?
To answer that question, we need to go through the annals of wrestling history, as the two of them shaped their chemistry around the square circle that goes back a few years.
Kevin Owens’ rise in the ranks
His wrestling career began at the age of 16. That takes us back to 2000. His early coaches were Serge Jodoin, Pierre Carl Ouellet (also known as PCO and Jean-Pierre LaFitte in his WWE days) and of course Jacques Rougeau. Owens, who at the time was still fighting under his maiden name Kevin Steen, fought for Rougeau’s Quebec doctorate for several years.
This led him to fight for a few other Canadian promotions, notably IWS (International Wrestling Syndicate in Montreal East) and of course for Ring of Honor and then for WWE.
Sami Zayn’s El Generico personality … the stuff a legend is made of
Trained by the man named The Wall and Sgt. AWOL, Jerry Tuite and of course the legendary Savio Vega, Zayn is also from Quebec … Laval to be precise, and he started out in the IWS. He ended up in many of the same areas as Owens did during his early career, but made a few more stops at other companies and expanded considerably. He wrestled as a masked wrestler in the Lucha style and wrestled under the name El Generico during that time.
Steen and Generico collide and take over the territories
They met early in their careers, the two paths that crossed at IWS, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, and were eventually united as a tag team at the Ring of Honor in 2007. They had many battles in that promotion, especially a rather memorable one against the Briscoes. The tag team eventually disbanded and they ended in a memorable way.
They have also been awarded gold many times and the tandem has won many championships, both as a tag team and as an individual wrestler, during their rise in the industry.
They met again at WWE in 2014. Zayn had signed with NXT in 2013 and although Steen was still with ROH at the time, he would sign with NXT the following year. The two have been paired over and over, and it has been going back and forth like this for years, as we can clearly see the chemistry they had is still there and thriving.
Their training and who trained them speaks volumes about where they both stand today and what they can achieve together. Quebecer’s Jacques Rougeau and Mountie in the WWE coached Steen early on and that racket style is evident in his arsenal, but Steen (Owens), who feuded and had an argument with Rougeau, claims that Terry Taylor was his head coach and Terry Taylor doesn’t really need an introduction to most of the true blue wrestling fans out there. Taylor works behind the scenes for the NXT brand as a trainer.
Part-coached by Savio Vega, Zayn demonstrates the techniques taught him by the legend whose most notable match took place on In Your House: Beware of Dog (1996), in which he turned to none other than Stone Cold Steve Austin in a Caribbean strap hit game.
Capitalize on their history
It’s like so many wrestlers of yesteryear … that chemistry can form the basis of many feuds, and WWE certainly takes advantage of what they love to do.
Shortly after Owens lost his Last Man Standing match to Roman Reigns at that year’s Royal Rumble, it seemed imminent that he would face Zayn again, and for the zillionth time viewers saw promos between the two, Zayn tried Owens asking for support in his conspiracy theory that the WWE was against him. The tension led to their WrestleMania 37 match, which featured Logan Paul, and they crossed for weeks in the race for the Intercontinental Championship.
All of this culminated in the Last Man Standing match the two had on SmackDown on July 2nd. The match was enough to bring back memories for fans, not just of their early days as wrestlers working on the track, but also of the duos that kept coming back from the Attitude Era and perhaps the Golden Era of the Denied wrestling.
Compare and contrast with the legends that paved the way
If you think about it enough, perhaps these two can even be compared to the late, legendary duo The British Bulldog and Owen Hart. Whenever the two got into the ring, the chemistry bubbled over the rim of the mug and of course the audience was thrilled. When Owens and Zayn step into the square circle, one can see and feel the same balance, timing, and finesse.
It can’t be said that we, or rather each of the fans, could ever get bored of watching the two team up. It just makes sense and we hope that in the years to come, the WWE creative will give the two more and more opportunities to paint their masterpieces on the 20×20 canvas, and hopefully for a big WWE championship too.