Now I guess that before I start talking about Zayn, I should probably let you know who Manny Andrade is. Right now, he's a nobody, because I don't think he's been on television before, but he is, like many, a guy who tore it up in smaller organizations (as La Sombra) before moving on to developmental, and seeing him go against Zayn made me feel very good about his future. That being said, I saw him once earlier and thought very little of him besides him laying in the ropes once and looking like a "cool guy."
But Sami Zayn vs. Manny Andrade showed me that Sami Zayn is the best professional wrestler for so many reasons. When I saw Manny Andrade come out, I started to hypothesize who would dominate him in the upcoming match. I was guessing Baron Corbin or maybe even Apollo Crews, but when Sami's music hit, the entire crowd erupted in cheers. There is no question that Sami Zayn is the most beloved NXT Superstar out there, and the whole crowd immediately perks up with happiness and sings along with his song making it an incredibly positive place to be. My wife isn't a huge wrestling fan, and had really only seen parts of his matches on NXT, but just watching his entrance and his interaction with fans made her remark, "He seems nice. I'd like to hang out and have a beer with him." And here's the thing: Obviously I would want to go, but if my wife said that she was going out for drinks with Sami Zayn without me, I'd be totally fine with it. I mean, I'd be jealous, but I wouldn't worry about any funny stuff going on.
So I got prepared for a squash match where Sami Zayn would dominate this little known wrestler. It was not that. With other top wrestlers like Finn Balor or Apollo Crews, you always kind of know that they will prevail, but with Zayn, it's different. He doesn't always win, so there is always that small sense of doubt that he might not pull it out. It adds so much drama and excitement to his matches that other top stars simply can't match. He's in that sweet spot where you'll believe he can beat anybody, while simultaneously believing he could lose to anybody.
And this match was incredible. Had I gone to four hours worth of NXT tapings, this could have easily stolen the show, and I would have felt lucky to have seen it. The fact that I saw this at an NXT house show at a place that is basically the size of an elementary school gym made it all that more amazing. There were 4-5 times where I could have seen the match ending, only to have it continue with just a split second before the three count. I mean, sure Sami Zayn was 99.9% going to win, but it was just a house show, so maybe he could take a loss? With other top guys, you don't get that feeling; you know they'll win. Sami Zayn is different, and it makes it so much better.
And yes, Sami Zayn did end up hitting the Helluva Kick for the win. But I was on the edge of my seat (which I guess would be on my toes, since I was standing) the entire match. That is why Sami Zayn is the perfect professional wrestler.