Sami Zayn‘s last match in NXT was against Shinsuke Nakamura at NXT Takeover: Dallas on April 1st, 2015. The match one night before he made his Wrestlemania debut, as part of the seven man ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania 32.
The match had very little build to it, considering the two big stars who were competing. Sami Zayn had just returned from year-long injury, suffered at the hands of Kevin Owens when he took the NXT Championship from him (in reality, he was injured before a match with John Cena on Raw in 2014).
After coming back from injury, Zayn demanded a big match at the next big NXT event, before he ascended to the main roster.
As the face of NXT in his prime and one of the best wrestlers the brand had – he even wrestled in the first ever NXT Takeover match – NXT General Manager William Regal accepted his requested and gave him a huge match against one of the biggest stars in the world of wrestling – NJPW’s Shinsuke Nakamura.
When Nakamura appeared on the screen on NXT, the wrestling world changed. NXT had gone from a developmental system to one that could attract the top stars from the world’s largest promotions.
Nakamura had main evented Wrestle Kingdom just a couple of years prior to this. He was one of the best wrestlers in the promotion and the perfect person to be adorned with the name “King of Strong Style”.
This was the extent of the build for their match. No personal animosity or convoluted storylines – just two great wrestlers in different parts of their journey in the WWE. The bout was incredibly hyped even without the attached storyline, with the Dallas fans electric from the first minute of the match.
The bout was incredible. It was a simple story with clear and concise psychology. They hit hard, hit all their spots and put on some incredible counters that fans hadn’t seen before (a mid-air Kinshasa as Zayn jumped through the ropes being the highlight of the bout).
The highlight of the match came toward the end of it. The pair traded strikes in the ring, hitting vicious forearm after forearm with as much might as they could muster. They refused to let up until either man collapsed as the crowd chanted the now-legendary cry of “Fight Forever” – the first time the chant had been heard in the WWE.
In the end, Sami Zayn went out on his back in his final NXT match. His last NXT match ended with him taking a Kinsasha knee to the face, counting the lights as he was pinned by Shinsuke Nakamura, ending his debut with a victory. It was one of, if not the greatest NXT match in history and will be high on the list of either man’s best matches of their career.
However, some people don’t agree and think that Zayn has had one better match in his career so far…
Some People Don’t Consider Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura His Best
While many consider Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura as one of the greatest matches in WWE history, the users of cagematch.net beg to differ. Cagematch is a site where fans can provide ratings and reviews for wrestling matches and events, giving the bouts a score out of 10, with the average user rating then being displayed to the public.
Sami Zayn’s match with the King of Strong Style is not his highest rated match, shockingly. It’s not even his highest rated NXT match. That honor goes to the match where he finally won the NXT Championship from Adrian Neville (PAC in AEW) at NXT Takeover R:Evolution. That match was awarded a 9.51 rating by fans, being as close to a perfect score as most matches can get. In comparison, the Nakamura match gets an impressive, yet slightly lower 9.45 rating.
Which match do you think is better out of the two? Tell us what you think in the comments, or click below to read more
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.