Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn
The heart and soul of NXT may be bidding the brand goodbye, but first, he has to welcome an international superstar in Texas.
The Road to TakeOver
After being betrayed by his long-time friend and colleague Kevin Owens, losing the NXT title, getting injured (in kayfabe by Owens; in reality while pumping up the crowd during his Raw debut in Montreal against John Cena) and rehabbing his shoulder, Sami Zayn announced his intention to become the first two-time champion of the brand.
That quest lead him into a months long feud with Samoa Joe that - to the surprise of many, including Zayn himself - did not go Sami's way. It took three different bouts with three different stipulations, but Joe bested the Likeable One, so it will be him going to for the top prize in Dallas, not the former champ.
General Manager William Regal didn't want to leave a guy who has been integral to the rise of the brand sitting on the bench for NXT's biggest show, so he came up with a plan for Zayn. It seems WWE had just signed a charismatic Japanese wrestler with a shoot fighting background. This former IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental champion was ready to debut WrestleMania weekend, and needed an opponent.
Since the announcement, Zayn was called up to the main roster, and will actually work double duty this weekend. In addition to this bout, he'll also compete at Mania itself on Sunday when he tries to take the WWE Intercontinental title from Owens in a ladder match (which also features five other guys, but that's another subject all together).
The Likeable One doesn't want to be overlooked, or have Nakamura or the fans think he's looking past this match because of his recent call-up. He warned on the last episode of NXT that the King of Strong Style would not make his name off of Sami Zayn.
What's at Stake?
Your pants, which are definitely flying off and might spontaneously combust - hopefully while in the air.
This is a dream match-up with nothing but bragging rights at stake, and even those will be diminished somewhat by Sami's call-up and the belief that Nakamura isn't long for NXT either. Still, Zayn will be motivated to show why he's considered by many the most important male wrestler in the brand's brief history, and Swagsuke has been waiting a long time for his WWE debut.
Both men have a history of stealing the show when the spotlight is bright... so look out.