The Honorary Uce segment on the September 23, 2022, Smackdown was one of the most entertaining and best segments produced by any wrestling company this year.
The best storytelling in wrestling are those segments, matches and moments that draw the audience in and gets them engrossed in it. When you have been watching for a long time, it is very common to think you know exactly what is going to happen in a segment like this honorary uce one, but when a story is able to surprise the audience and able to play with the fans’ emotions that is pure gold.
This honorary uce segment was a rollercoaster segment as the Sami Zayn/Bloodline story has been one of the most compelling and entertaining stories in wrestling this year. Literally, everyone involved with this whole angle has delivered incredible performances in their segments. Every segment that Roman has had with Sami there have been little facial expressions that have added to the entertainment and provided intrigue.
The above video is another absolute gold segment as Sami is both excited and nervous talking to Roman and the facials constantly changing by Sami depending on how the conversation is going just shows how absolutely amazing Sami Zayn is as a performer. The slight moments of annoyance on Roman’s face when Sami says, “we should do this more often” and when Sami left were great. The audience can see what is going on that the Bloodline is using Sami and Sami just wants to fit in with the cool kid’s club.
During one of WRTD Watch Parties, WR Reviewer (co-host of Republic Ramble and my co-host in a new WR show coming soon), Clark Taylor, made a brilliant observation as he pointed out a little easter egg that many fans may have not noticed, Sami would never wear the current versions of the Bloodline shirts. It would always be an older version almost like he got the hand me downs since he was not an “official” member. I have not seen or heard anyone else mention this easter egg of the shirts before or since Clark did.
I’m not sure who’s idea this was, but it was absolutely brilliant and adds to the desperation of Sami wanting to be accepted. Why this works so incredibly well is the audience regardless of their age whether they are kids or adults they know what it is like to try and be accepted by others. So, this creates a connection with the audience for Sami that is likely going to lead to a Sami face turn, but more on that in a little bit.
Sami Zayn first came onto my radar in NXT, and he was just one of those performers that I felt connected to and felt the sky is the limit for this guy. Then once I watched his independent run as El Generico, I became an even bigger fan of his. Seeing his evolution as a performer who was under a mask for years and to see all the facial expressions that he is doing today that adds to everything he is doing just shows you how great of a performer Sami Zayn really is.
This Segment Was Gold:
Sami Zayn has shown all year that he can make segments and angles even better just by him being in them because he has truly found his sweet spot as a performer. In the way that he can turn an okay angle into a good one and a good angle into a great one and a great into a classic. As Sami demonstrated during his WrestleMania rivalry with Johnny Knoxville, he made the buildup absolutely entertaining and match itself that could have been a disaster into something that fans really seemed to have liked and that is a testament to Sami.
As the newest member of the Bloodline, Solo Sikoa, was initiated into the group acknowledging Roman Reigns as his tribal chief as the Usos, Paul Heyman and Sami Zayn looked on. Something truly unexpected happened, as the segment appeared to be over Sami spoke up.
The Sami Zayn character so desperately wants to belong and even when others including his real-life best friend, Kevin Owens said they are just using you he just denies the allegations. Seeing Solo Sikoa initiated immediately just because he is blood, meanwhile Sami has been trying to be a member for months and showed his loyalties time and time again could have easily been a breaking point for his character. However, instead of ranting about it, he instead kissed up to Roman yet again saying I know I’m not “blood” but, I also want to say thank you for accepting me and I acknowledge you as my tribal chief as well.
This is where the segment turned into absolutely gold as Roman began to smirk and stare at the outdated Bloodline shirt and tells him I like you Sami but begins berating him on why he is even talking right now and why are you wearing our shirt on? This gave the appearance that the Bloodline was finally going to turn on Sami, which is something that I think many fans were expecting that either the Bloodline would dump him, or he’d realize that they were using him leading to a feud with them.
One prominent thing that I noticed during this segment, which I circled in the image above, that there was a tiny rip in Sami’s shirt which is something common that wrestlers do to make it easier to tear a shirt off. So, when Roman began berating Sami, my thought was oh they are finally turning on him and they are going to rip the Bloodline shirt off him.
As Roman ordered Jey Uso to rip the Bloodline shirt off Sami and stating he’ll never wear that shirt again. Jey Uso being the one member of the Bloodline that has shown his absolutely distain for Sami Zayn but puts up with him because of his tribal chief was happy to rip the shirt off him. As the Jey Uso character along with the rest of the audience watching thought Sami was being kicked to the curb. Even Paul Heyman circling Sami looking on scared for him, was just one of those small things that added to the believability to the segment that this was it for Sami’s Bloodline run.
They then delivered the absolute best swerve possible by Roman actually initiating Sami as an official member of the Bloodline as “Honorary Uce” as he gave him a shirt saying that he was.
The pure joy on Sami’s face for finally being accepted was nothing short of pure gold. The crowd absolutely loved it, and the shirt has instantly become a top seller already. Everyone was thrilled with Sami finally be accepted as an Honorary Uce…well almost everyone, Jey Uso was less than thrilled with this decision based on the expression on his face.
The internet had a field day with this segment including changing Sami Zayn’s Wikipedia page to add the last name Anoai to his name, which is the real-life last name of Roman Reigns.
For those looking for long term storytelling, this is not the first time Sami has tried to join one of Roman’s stables as he once wanted to be a member of the Shield, but was turned down:
I’m kidding about the long-term storytelling Shield, but it is funny looking back knowing years later Sami would actually be accepted into a Roman Reigns led stable.
Where Will This Lead To:
Immediately after being accepted into the group there is an absolute sense of confidence from Sami that wasn’t there before as he and Solo Sikoa laid out people on SD and Sami picking up a win over AJ Styles on Raw. I personally think we will see the Bloodline as a team in one of the two War Games matches that are scheduled for this year’s Survivor Series. I think the cracks in Sami and Jey Uso’s forced relationship will continue to be played up and a big crack will happen during the War Games match where Sami fails to save Jey Uso.
I think this is ultimately leading to Sami reteaming with his best friend and former tag team partner, Kevin Owens and they will be the team to end the Usos historic tag team title reign. This would be the first time these two men held tag team gold together in over 14 years and would give Kevin Owens his grand slam in WWE. I’m thinking the most likely spot for this to happen is probably WrestleMania.
The Honorary Uce segment will go down as one of the best segments in wrestling history as it delivered and gave the audience a truly memorable and unforgettable moment.
Sami in the Bloodline reminds me of Disco Inferno in the nWo Wolfpac, where it’s a character that was viewed as joke member that didn’t belong but unlike Disco, Sami earned his spot and is a far superior performer than Disco ever was in my opinion. Disco was always viewed as the joke of the group by the fans, but the fans have fully embraced Sami and will be there for his eventual face turn.
This segment had all the elements of quality storytelling and hooked the audience in. Fans are invested in this story and are curious to see where it is ultimately leading to. The only thing left for me to say here is just enjoy this honorary uce ride, however, long it is because this is something that is truly special and entertaining from everyone involved in this story.
Photo Credits – WWE & Wikipedia