While the main event itself was a disappointing affair, it's impossible to complain about the black and white outcome. Yes, there were shenanigans, but the record books will show that on January 2nd, 2018, Sami Zayn pinned WWE Champion AJ Styles in a SmackDown main event, scoring himself and Kevin Owens a Royal Rumble title shot in the process.
This was a big moment for Sami and his character. So often booked like a jobber to the stars, his heel run has finally positioned him in the spotlight him and his talents deserve. The circumstances of his victory don't really matter: he beat AJ Styles, the consensus best wrestler in the company, and that's a massive step forward from where he was even a couple of months ago.
The angle has its ups and downs, but we shouldn't let Zayn's recent upturn get lost amidst the justifiable complaints towards Bryan and McMahon's invasiveness. The former 'Underdog From The Underground' is flying at the moment. He's gloriously detestable as Owens' partner-in-crime, and while a WWE Title run still feels beyond him at the moment, there's no doubt that he's in a far stronger position today than he was as a babyface.