On this week’s episode of WWE Backstage, it was announced that Sami Zayn had been stripped of the Intercontinental Championship as a result of him being unable to defend the title.
Sami has opted not to wrestle during the pandemic, and although champions such as Andrade and Brock Lesnar haven’t been able to compete for far longer, WWE made the decision to strip the title from Sami.
WWE has previously told its wrestlers that they do not have to travel to tapings if they are uncomfortable doing so, and that they will not be punished as a result.
According to the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Sami’s decision to stay at home and not travel to tapings was met with “a lot of unhappiness” within WWE, despite previous reports that this would not be the case. Zayn’s last match for WWE was against Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 36.
You can sort of understand why WWE would want a champion to be available for tapings, and therefore you might sympathise with the decision to strip Sami of the title. A tournament will be held to crown a new champion starting tonight on SmackDown.
If Sami has heat for not turning up to tapings, it would certainly seem to go against previous indications that deciding not to wrestle during the pandemic would not be punished.