WWE Announces Tournament To Crown New Intercontinental Champion As Sami Zayn Is Stripped of Title

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.

Sami Zayn has been absent from WWE programming ever since Night One of WrestleMania 36, where he defended his Intercontinental Championship against Daniel Bryan. On last night’s episode of WWE Backstage, it was announced that Zayn will be stripped of the title as he is unable to compete in the ring.

The title has been vacated and WWE will be organizing a tournament on the blue brand to determine the new IC champion. No further details regarding the bracket were announced, but the tourney will immediately begin this week on SmackDown.

This was Zayn’s first-ever title reign in WWE, ever since his move to the main roster in 2015. He held the NXT Championship during his time on Wednesday nights but went without a title for a significant duration on the main roster.

With some help from Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro, Zayn defeated Braun Strowman at Elimination Chamber to capture the historic title but had a total of one defense.

Ever since returning from injury last year, Zayn hasn’t competed in the ring much, due to his reported shoulder issues. Zayn’s match at WrestleMania was his first singles match in quite some time, and it didn’t have much action from Zayn’s part.

It was noted that Zayn had chosen to remain off WWE programming, similar to Roman Reigns, and would not appear until the pandemic resolves and situation restores to normal. It was also reported that Zayn has received heat for his behavior.

Zayn had sent out a tweet a few weeks ago explaining his absence from WWE programming where he said he had taken time off due to a dental procedure.