Sami Zayn gained a measure of revenge Sunday night at Battleground, as he defeated Mike Kanellis in a grudge match via the Helluva Kick.
WWE shared an image of the winner:
Bleacher Report's Kevin Berge wasn't a fan of the match:
Kanellis made his WWE debut at Money in the Bank alongside his wife, Maria Kanellis. They talked about the power of love and could often be seen engaging in public displays of affection in the following weeks.
Zayn quickly became a thorn in their side when he accidentally interrupted an interview segment while preparing for a match.
Maria later demanded that Zayn apologize to them, but the Underdog from the Underground mocked the happy couple instead.
That led to Maria rocking Zayn with a thunderous slap before Mike broke a glass vase over his head and left him writhing in pain.
Zayn was granted a match with Kanellis on the go-home episode of SmackDown Live prior to Battleground, but the numbers game once again left him in a bad situation.
The Canadian Superstar appeared poised to beat Kanellis with a Helluva Kick, but Maria entered the ring and stood in front of her husband to prevent Zayn from executing his finisher.
That distraction was enough for Kanellis to recuperate and hit Zayn with the Power of Love and pick up a victory in his debut match.
Since the result was patently unfair, however, Zayn was granted a rematch at Battleground, which marked Kanellis' first pay-per-view bout in WWE.
While Kanellis is new to WWE, he has plenty of experience in other companies around the world. He is best known for his stints in Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling, where Maria was also a key figure to his success.
Zayn has had his moments on WWE's main roster but has yet to win a championship or be booked consistently as a top-level Superstar.
Sunday's match was an important one for both competitors in terms of progressing on a SmackDown roster that often provides opportunities for unheralded performers.
Zayn's win was somewhat surprising considering it was Kanellis' first pay-per-view match, but it could be a positive sign with regard to the popular babyface getting a significant push soon.
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