NXT Champion Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
NXT TakeOver: Rival’s main event grudge match just got bigger.
Following a volatile match contract signing, the hotly anticipated Feb. 11 showdown between NXT Champion Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, originally a non-title match, will now be contested for Zayn’s NXT Championship. Enraged, and focused on settling the score with Owens, Zayn agreed to defend his title after NXT’s most controversial prizefighter scoffed at the original terms of the match and demanded higher stakes.
Former friends, Zayn’s and Owens’ careers have been intertwined from almost the very start, and with Owens’ much-ballyhooed arrival to NXT in December came big expectations that the two warriors would end up in the same ring eventually, either as partners or opponents.
What nobody could have expected, however, was the vicious and unforgiving manner in which Owens betrayed his longtime ally at NXT TakeOver: R Evolution, powerbombing Zayn onto the ring apron moments after Zayn’s hard-fought NXT Championship win. The scary attack sidelined the newly crowned champion for weeks, and when Zayn finally did return, he was again attacked by the dangerous Owens.
This all set the stage for Zayn’s plea to NXT General Manager William Regal for a match against Owens on Feb. 11, a fight that now also has NXT’s top prize on the line.
With the usually affable champion now seething and seeking payback, there is no telling what’s in store at TakeOver. Will the NXT Universe see a new and even more intense side of their champion? Or will Owens capture the NXT Title less than three months after his debut, tearing down his onetime friend in the process? Watch the deeply personal rivalry play out live when NXT TakeOver: Rival airs Wednesday, Feb. 11, on WWE Network.