In the debut of “The Electric Chair” Monday night on Raw, Sami Zayn sat in the ring and fielded questions from fans in the audience. Unsurprisingly, he found the queries lacking, batting away snarky questions about his retirement date (he asked if the guy’s parents were related), whether he misses his “Ginger Snaps” team with Becky Lynch (the girl’s parents were chastised), and how it feels when Braun Strowman destroys him (he threatened to punch the guy in the face, thereby forcing him to rely on American healthcare).
A question about why Zayn hasn’t won the Universal Championship seemingly set him off for good as he mocked the fans for not asking better questions. This also led to Zayn mentioning AEW (All Elite Wrestling).
“You could ask me anything,” Zayn said. “You could’ve asked me about AEW!”
Immediately following his remark, Zayn had an exaggerated expression on his face. The fans at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri did a collective gasp as Graves quickly changed the subject.
You can watch Zayn say AEW in the clip below.
— Randy Cruz (@randyjcruz) May 28, 2019
There are conflicting reports on whether the name-drop was scripted in advance.
On the side of it being scripted, Dave Meltzer said on Wrestling Observer Radio that the AEW reference was scripted. Meltzer also points out that if Zayn went rogue, he’d be subject to a suspension since WWE takes adhering to the script very seriously.
On the side of it being improvised by Zayn, we have Meltzer’s co-host, Bryan Alvarez, and Mike Johnson of PWInsider. Johnson claims multiple sources told him the “AEW line was not something that was in the script for Raw and was likely something Zayn, who pitches his own verbiage, improvised.” Johnson hasn’t heard how the higher-ups reacted to it yet, but hints he expects they won’t be pleased with “All Elite Wrestling getting a plug on WWE’s flagship program.”
Alvarez only claimed to have heard that Zayn went off script from one person, but says that person would have been in the same pre-show production meeting as Meltzer’s source.
One of the things which added fuel to this fire is that WWE edited the AEW reference out of the YouTube and WWE.com version of the “The Electric Chair.”