The saying always goes, you can win the battle, but you can never win the war. That has been quoted for centuries whenever an underdog feels they have struck the hardest to their opponent and yet it still was not enough to take them down.
The underdogs of this story? The ones who walked into WrestleMania 39 with their backs against the wall and their feet shaking at the sounds of over eighty-five thousand people in the Sofi Stadium letting their voices be heard for Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens who looked to accomplish something no team was able to do for 622 days, defeat The Usos and take the first step in crumbling the empire of the Bloodline.
This story goes way back, all the way to February 17, 2007, when two young rookies by the name of Kevin Steen and El Generico made their debut in Ring Of Honor against the legendary Briscoe Brothers. From that day going forward, Steen and Generico shared the road and looked to become the best tag team in the world of pro wrestling. Despite Steen and Generico winning the PWG World Tag Team Titles against PAC and Roderick Strong in 2007 or the ROH World Tag Team Titles in 2008 against Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black, they weren’t at the top of the mountain just yet.
Heartbreak? It’s always there no matter who you are and that came at the first live pay-per-view for Ring Of Honor when Steen turned his back on Generico following their loss to the Young Bucks at Final Battle in 2009. From that point on, we witnessed one of the greatest rivalries in the history of ROH that did not end until 2012 when Steen got his revenge by defeating his former best friend in a rematch from 2010’s Final Battle when his career was ended by Generico per stipulation. That however would not be the final time these two would meet and for the best reasons possible.
Most wrestlers have big dreams they want to accomplish in their careers, one of those dreams for Steen was to join the WWE and that came true in 2014 when he signed and went by the new name of Kevin Owens. Owens made his debut at NXT TakeOver: R Evolution when he opened the show by beating CJ Parker in a singles match. That same night, the former Generico turned Sami Zayn was putting his NXT career on the line against Adrian Neville (PAC) for the NXT Championship and after so many edge-of-the-seat moments, Zayn would do the unthinkable by winning it for the first time in his career.
Remember that part about heartbreak? That happens a couple more times in this story and it happened on the same night when Zayn won the NXT Championship and celebrated with the NXT roster. He would soon be joined by Owens who gave him a big hug and a bigger powerbomb on the ring apron that left everyone in shock. Owens made it his mission to win the championship and two months later at NXT TakeOver: Rival, he would become the champion via referee stoppage from continuously hitting the powerbomb on Zayn.
This would soon lead to Owens making his way to the main roster, his main goal was to make sure he was remembered forever while Zayn’s goal was to recover and heal from the injuries that sidelined him for the next couple of months. Owens would go on to feud with the face of WWE, John Cena. He would go on to defeat Ryback for his first title on the main roster, the WWE Intercontinental Championship before losing it in December against Dean Ambrose at Tables, Ladders, and Chairs all in 2016.
Now let’s fast forward to 2016, a year went by when Zayn returned, he would cost Owens the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania 32 and settle their rivalry at Battleground by defeating Owens for the first time in the WWE.
The two would separate for the time being when Owens won the WWE Universal Championship and held onto it for 6 months while Zayn feuded with the Monster Among Men Braun Strowman until the January 2nd, 2017 edition of Monday Night Raw when Strowman beat Zayn in a Last Man Standing Match while Owens lost his Universal Championship at Fast Lane to Goldberg in 22 seconds.
It would not take long for their paths to cross once again between Zayn and Owens and that happened when Owens entered a feud with Shane McMahon at Hell In A Cell in 2017, Owens received help from the last person anyone thought would help him in Zayn, and for the first time, the two were against the crowd as a tag team.
The two would team for only a couple of months and despite that, Zayn and Owens were able to be part of a legendary moment when they unsuccessfully challenged Shane and the returning Daniel Bryan who many believed would never step foot in a ring again after retiring in 2016. The two teams would face off at WrestleMania 34 and all get their moment to shine on the biggest stage of the year after the events that took place a year prior.
Despite the rest of 2018 not going how they wanted it to for Zayn and Owens who were both out of action due to surgeries, the next time these two would see each other on the battlefield would not be until 2022 at the TD Garden at Survivor Series during War Games when Zayn hit a Helluva Kick to Owens to win the match for the Bloodline.
For months, Zayn did his best to earn the trust of the Bloodline which consists of their leader Roman Reigns, his Wiseman Paul Heyman, the Usos, and their young brother, Solo Sikoa. While trying to get trusted by them, Zayn dealt with his former best friend Owens in his ear telling him to not trust the Bloodline and to realize that they would turn on him faster than Zayn realized it. Zayn did not want to listen and soon enough found himself in a Tribal Court for his past friendship with Owens conflicting with what Reigns wanted for the faction.
The day of realization came for Zayn in the Alamodome at the Royal Rumble to kick off in 2023 when Reigns once again defeated Owens and wanted Zayn to deliver the final blow. Zayn couldn’t do it and decided it was best to give that blow to Reigns which meant the end of Zayn’s time in the Bloodline so that he could get back to focusing on what we all wanted to see, the end of the Bloodline once and for all.
It was not going to be easy for Zayn to get back the trust of Owens, but he was not going to let go of the hope he had left in making it work. Zayn was also not going to let go of making sure Reigns was stopped and despite not being successful in his home of Canada at the Elimination Chamber, he would see a small glimpse of hope as Owens made the save for him to end the show in a positive light and after a couple of weeks of dealing with the Bloodline, Owens, and Zayn would finally reunite to make it their goal of ending the 622-day reign of the Usos at the stage that many have failed at, including Zayn and Owens who lost a few years before Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 34.
History, that’s all anyone wants to make come true and with the opportunity hanging so bright for Zayn and Owens, this was their moment to finally prove to themselves that stages like Ring Of Honor and Pro Wrestling Guerilla were only the beginning of their journeys and to have the biggest crowd in the world watching them look to create history? It doesn’t get any better than that.
Remember when I talked about how Zayn and Owens wanted to be remembered as one of the best tag teams in the world of pro wrestling? Well that chance they took and bet the entire house on it when the two challenged The Usos for the WWE Undisputed Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania 39 in the first time a tag team match was the main event of WrestleMania since its inaugural show, as well as the first time the tag team titles headlined the event at Night One.
The respect the Usos have earned from the world should be a lot more than it is right now, both men have clawed their way from the bottom, they have never turned on each other, and have broken many records alongside each other to be remembered as a top-5 tag team when their career is all said and done.
Zayn and Owens went into this not knowing what to expect except that they knew what they were about to deal with and that was the hardest tag team they had ever faced in their career as partners. The Usos hit everything and more, they beat Zayn and Owens all over the ring and outside, but the one thing that they could not beat was the heart and determination both men had to finally say enough was enough to the Usos once and for all.
The sequence, the passion, and the drive delivered into every fan and family member of both teams will be remembered decades from now when Zayn hit the Helluva Kick and got the 3-count to officially win the WWE Undisputed Tag Team Titles and end The Usos reign of terror on the tag team division finally.
Many felt the journey was over following WrestleMania 39, but like I said at the beginning of this story. They always say you can win the battle, but you can never win the war. That will be put to the test when Zayn and Owens are put to the test one more time, but this time? They have to try and stop the Tribal Chief Reigns and Sikoa who want to end the dream come true story.
Want to know when was the last time Reigns was pinned? At TLC in 2019. He has been on the losing end of a couple of Tag Team matches, but when the chance for him to become the first man to hold two world and two tag team titles arises then that’s an opportunity you don’t pass up, especially when you have the juggernaut Sikoa in your corner.
Night Of Champions will be the war that Zayn and Owens have prepared all their lives for, the war that many don’t expect them to walk out of with the undisputed tag team championships, however, if they could do what many believe is highly impossible, not only will crumbling the Bloodline become a bigger reality, but Zayn and Owens will have the opportunities to be remembered as the ones who won not only the battle but the war against the Bloodline once and for all.