The following are highlights of a new NHL.com interview with NXT star Sami Zayn
On what made him pursue a career in pro wrestling: “As a kid growing up in Montreal, I wanted to become either a hockey player or a wrestler. Since my family didn’t have a lot of money, my parents never put me in a hockey league because it was so expensive. When I was 17 years old, I was given the opportunity to be trained as a wrestler. At the time, I never really thought about making it a career, I only saw it as a chance to do something that I always wanted to do. It’s similar to hockey when a kid who’s five years old can’t really say if he’ll become a professional hockey player. But, if you stay in something long enough and you keep doing something long enough and you enjoy it, one thing led to another and I kept going. I would have loved to make a career as a member of the Habs (laughs), but I think wrestling was more my thing.”
On his longtime rivalry with Kevin Owens and how it compares to the Habs vs. Bruins hockey rivalry: “That would be a good comparison. (laughs) It’s funny because if I’m not mistaken, Kevin’s dad is a Habs fan and his mom is a Bruins fan. From the time we started wrestling in Laval at Le Skratch up until today in WWE, every step of the way in our careers it’s always been sometimes friends, but the majority of the time enemies. In a lot of ways it’s like the Habs and the Bruins. No matter what, we’re destined to fight each other until the end of time. Fans seem to really like it.”
On being named NXT’s 2014 Superstar of the Year: “NXT changed so much since I got here two years ago. When I first got here, the culture was so different, it was about getting out of here as fast as possible. In my opinion, I noticed early on that it could make people go crazy. When I got there, I wanted to make NXT a better brand and make it grow. And, it did. But at the end of the day, my goal is to evolve and go above and beyond to make RAW or Smackdown! or the Pay-per-views better, or give Wrestlemania one more great match. I’m kind of split on this because NXT is my immediate goal, but my ultimate goal is to make RAW and make it better. Getting recognized with the Slammy Award for Superstar of the Year in NXT or finally winning the championship helped me and our brand. By the time I get on the main roster, I hope to be able to build up a lot of equity that way to show that I’m on the way to the top.”
Check out the complete interview at NHL.com.
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