Sami Zayn has fond memories of the match (Picture: WWE)
Sami Zayn has admitted Johnny Knoxville ‘saved’ their WrestleMania match from being a total flop.
The WWE superstar battled the Jackass legend in an Anything Goes Match back in April at the huge stadium show in Dallas, Texas with the actor and stuntman picking up the win with the help of Wee Man, mousetraps, a bowling ball and more.
Speaking exclusively to Metro.co.uk, Sami revealed how Knoxville saved the day with his quick thinking when the giant mousetrap used to pin the wrestler at the end of the bout malfunctioned.
‘If there’s anything you’re gonna give him a lot of credit for, it’s saving that finish. Even a very seasoned performer – if that had even gone on one or two seconds longer, it would’ve killed the whole finish and killed the whole match,’ Sami admitted.
‘He doesn’t get the credit he deserves, even though I don’t like to give him credit because I don’t like him. But he did do a good job.’
The Honorary Uce has been vocal about how highly he regards the match among his own stellar in-ring career, and WWE producer Shawn Daivari helped him realise why it was so special.
Johnny Knoxville was able to release the mechanism just in time (Picture: WWE)
The Jackass legend picked up the win (Picture: WWE)
‘One of the things he said which really stuck with me, was part of what made it so good – at least even from the fan’s side of things – was Johnny Knoxville was Johnny Knoxville,’ he explained.
‘He didn’t come in there and try to out-WWE superstar a WWE superstar in the vein of Bad Bunny, who clearly put in a tonne of work, or Logan Paul who’s clearly a natural athlete and already going at the same rate as WWE superstars.
‘The distinction in this one was clear. This guy is a non-wrestler, a non-athlete and has tricks up his sleeve, and this guy is the athlete, right? Some credit to him – reluctantly – is due because he didn’t try to get in there and get out of his comfort zone too much in a way that he just wouldn’t be able to keep up.’
He pointed out that the combination of Knoxville shining in his own way and Sami excelling as a wrestler made for a ‘magical’ night.
Johnny Knoxville stuck to what he knows (Picture: WWE)
Wee Man bodyslammed Sami Zayn to a huge ovation (Picture: WWE)
The buildup to the match was similarly special, with the two rivals taking things to another level when Sami was attacked with a cattle prod by Knoxville and escorted out of the Jackass Forever premiere by security.
‘I’ve never made the scene on a red carpet at a Hollywood premiere, I’ve never done that before! It was kind of nerve wracking but it was very fun,’ he laughed. ‘I have very, very fond memories of all of that.
‘The thing with the cell phone’s one of my favourite things I’ve ever done. Giving out my actual cell phone number and dealing with those FaceTime calls, or the phone calls, I’ll never forget that.’
Sami recalled speaking to fans on long drives during a time when his phone ‘never stopped’ buzzing with calls or messages.
Sami Zayn was kicked out of the Jackass Forever premiere (Picture: Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)
He said: ‘Not a second where it wasn’t vibrating. So on these drives, I would just answer these calls. And, man, it was just so unique! When am I ever gonna be in this situation?
‘And hearing the fans’ sometimes shock or excitement when they realised it was really me on the phone with them. Man, it was just so cool. It was so much fun. It’s funny, there were times when I’d be totally character and I’d answer like, “Stop it! Stop calling me! You’re driving me crazy! Why are you doing this?!”
‘And it would be some kid or just some lovely man, “Oh I’m so sorry, I thought this whole thing was a joke”. And then I would immediately – I hate doing it, but I’d soften a little bit.
‘Like, “No, no. I’m not mad at you. I’m mad at Knoxville. Anyways, how are you doing?” And then we’d get into a conversations.’
It’s clear the storyline and the match itself will always hold a special place in Sami’s heart, and he’s hoping fans will have the same fond memories as time goes on.
He smiled: ‘So much of that whole programme was so unique and so memorable. I hope the fans remember it, but I will definitely remember it for the rest my career.’
WWE SmackDown airs Friday nights at 1am on BT Sport 1.
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