NXT Takeover Rival Preview: Sami Zayn set to star

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In just under a week, NXT Champion Sami Zayn will defend his title against Kevin Owens at the first NXT Takeover of the year, Rival.

So far five matches have been announced to take place on the night, with Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens headlining the event we will also see Adrian Neville and Finn Balor battling it out to become the number one contender to the NXT Championship.

Baron Corbin and Bull Dempsey will go at it once again, this time in a no disqualification match as Charlotte puts her NXT Women’s Championship on the line in a Fatal 4 Way match against Bayley, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch.

The Lucha Dragons also get their championship rematch, attempting to dethrone the new champions in Blake and Murphy.


A number of rumors have been circulating online surrounding Kalisto and his potential gimmick change - including the masked luchador to a gay hairdresser - but it looks as if the WWE have no plans of doing that. Blake and Murphy have the potential to be a successful tag team on NXT for the majority of 2015 and really assert their dominance in the tag team division as a whole.

Sin Cara is also competing on the main roster and his stint on NXT looks to be coming to an end, which also signals that Kalisto could well be the next superstar to make the move to the main roster, effectively replacing Rey Mysterio. I don’t think the writers will have Blake and Murphy capture the championship titles to drop them weeks later, another victory over The Lucha Dragons will be a big plus for them, and I expect them to put on a great show with Kalisto and Sin Cara to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships.


This match is now a little bit more interesting than their previous encounters. Bull Dempsey’s unbeaten reign came to an end a few weeks ago at the hands of Baron Corbin whilst Corbin finally lost to Adrian Neville this week after a Bull Dempsey interference. With both men no longer unbeaten, it’s difficult to pick out a winner especially in a no disqualification match.

The two have yet to compete in a lengthy match, this week Corbin competed in a match that lasted just over five minutes with Adrian Neville so weapons would play a big part in this match and the fans will want the two to put on a longer and more impressive match, which can be done. I do believe there is a possibility of the match somehow ending in a no contest, but I do think Baron Corbin will defeat Bull Dempsey once again.


This is one of the matches the fans are eagerly awaiting to see, the first time Neville and Balor will clash on NXT after the two put on a great performance back in 2012 in NJPW where Pac defeated Prince Devitt. Adrian Neville has enjoyed an incredible 2014 where he was NXT Champion for the majority of the year before dropping the gold to Sami Zayn whilst Finn Balor has continued to impress since his debut.

There were reports earlier in the year suggesting that Adrian Neville is set to remain on NXT for the majority of 2015 and is set to be included in the feud with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn so there’s a chance he could walk out the victory, especially since Finn Balor isn’t expected to stay on NXT for too long. I still believe Finn Balor will hold the NXT Championship before he does make the jump to the main roster, and he will defeat Adrian Neville in what could be the match of the night.


The divas always step it up when it comes to Takeover and fans will expect nothing less from the four. Bayley has started to show a more aggressive side and it could finally be her time to shine by becoming the NXT Women’s Champion especially since Charlotte has been rumoured to make the jump to the main roster for quite a while now so perhaps this Takeover will be her final one as champion.

It’s not fair to rule out Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch who I believe will be the dark horse in this match, she’s been helping Sasha Banks become a bigger threat to the championship so I won’t be surprised to see her snatch the victory. I do believe we will see a new champion being crowned which rules out Charlotte, Bayley plays the role of a challenger very well so I think it will be between Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch.

We’ve seen tension building between Banks and Lynch, and even though Sasha Banks has been a favourite to become the new champion I do think Becky Lynch will shock the NXT fans to walk out the new NXT Women’s Champion.


What a journey it has been for Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, after tearing each other up and teaming up as Kevin Steen and El Generico, they are now two of the most talked about superstars in the whole of WWE and deservedly so. Kevin Owens was always going to be a huge star and he’s showing that every single week and the fans can clearly see the great chemistry between Zayn and Owens which will translate into the ring at last, in a match which will compete with Neville and Balor as the match of the night.

Usually you wouldn’t expect a champion to drop the gold two months after capturing it, but the journey Sami Zayn has had plus the dominance Kevin Owens has shown since his explosive debut, you never know what the outcome may be. Sami enjoyed a tough but entertaining 2014 as he tried to become the NXT Champion and we might just see that in 2015 if Kevin Owens can become two months after his debut.

The fact that Owens and Zayn have a long history, it’s difficult to call this one down the middle and you can’t rule out a new champion being crowned. The WWE will look to kick NXT off in explosive and unpredictable fashion, so I’m going with the bold prediction of Kevin Owens defeating Sami Zayn to become the new NXT Champion.


As always we probably will be treated to a couple of impromptu matches on the night, there’s a chance we could see Hideo Itami take on Tyler Breeze after the two continue to tease a match on social media.

All eyes will also be on another NXT superstar after two weeks of teasers have aired, Solomon Crowe could also make his presence be felt on Takeover if they decide to have him make an appearance.

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