On this week’s WWE Backstage, it was announced since Sami Zayn is not able to compete in the ring, the WWE Intercontinental Championship is now vacant. WWE will hold a tournament to determine a new champion, which will begin on this Friday’s SmackDown. The bracket has yet to be announced.

Zayn has not appeared on WWE TV since night one of WrestleMania 36, which was taped a few nights before it aired. That show saw Zayn retain his title over Daniel Bryan. Zayn hasn’t appeared on SmackDown since the April 3 episode, which was the WrestleMania go-home show.

Yesterday night, Zayn asked on Twitter if everyone was doing okay, letting think the recent rumours of him being stripped of the belt were true. Zayn has not been present for the recent tapings at the closed-set Performance Center and WWE has continued to use Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura without him.

It’s been reported that Sami chose not to attend the WWE Performance Center tapings due to health concerns he had with working during the coronavirus pandemic. WWE reportedly told employees a while back that they did not have to work during the coronavirus pandemic if they did not want to, and that their decisions would not be held against them in the future.

This situation can be compared to the handling of the NXT Cruiserweight Championship. NXT is attempting to crown an interim champion through a unique round-robin tournament. WWE could have very well done the same, but they vacated Zayn instead. That is a difficult look, as when this is all over, Jordan Devlin will still be the champion, and Zayn will be left with nothing. WWE’s main roster has tended to vacate rather than go with the interim. Devlin reacted to the situation on Twitter.

The title is now vacant and a tournament will begin on Friday’s SmackDown to crown a new champion. The participants have yet to be announced but Zayn expressed his opinion on the future Intercontinental Champion a few minutes ago. Zayn’s reign lasted 65 days.

Pic courtesy of WWE and FOX

By Steph Franchomme

News, Reviews, Social Media Editor, Impact Wrestling Reviewer, Interviewer Well, call me The Boss... And French...

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