Top NXT superstar Sami Zayn is expected to receive his permanent WWE main roster spot at Wrestlemania 32 and is being advertised for the annual post-WrestleMania tour of Europe, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via Wrestlezone).
The report states that Zayn is expected compete at Wrestlemania 32. With WWE making the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal one of Wrestlemania’s focal points in recent years, it’s possible that Zayn is a part of that match. Last year, oft-injured NXT superstar Hideo Itami won the right to compete in the battle royal but was eliminated by The Big Show.
In a one-on-one scenario, it has been rumored that WWE Intercontinental champion Kevin Owens could be Zayn’s opponent. At the end of January, Zayn confronted Owens in the Royal Rumble after entering the match as a surprise entrant. Owens and Zayn have a storied rivalry that dates back to their early days on the independent circuit, all the way to their rivalry for the NXT championship.
Whatever Zayn’s Wrestlemania role is, he is confirmed to wrestle at NXT Takeover: Dallas that weekend, facing New Japan Pro Wrestling legend, Shinsuke Nakamura, in his NXT debut match.
Zayn making his permanent residency on the main roster would likely make a lot of fans happy. It has been teased several times in the past, but nothing ever came of it. On September 8, 2014, Zayn took part in an NXT Takeover tag team match on RAW, teaming with Adrian Neville to face Tyson Kidd and Tyler Breeze.
That match was a preview for NXT Takeover: Fatal 4-Way days later. All four men competed in a fatal four-way bout for the NXT championship, a match that was won by Neville. Outside of Kidd, the rest of those NXT superstars were not seen on WWE television until mid-to-late 2015.
On May 4, 2015, Zayn, introduced by WWE Hall of Famer Bret “The Hitman” Hart, answered John Cena’s open challenge for a WWE United States championship match. In front of his hometown crowd in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Zayn came up just short in defeating Cena for the championship.
However, in the early stages of the match, Zayn suffered a shoulder injury. He was able to finish the match against Cena — while in obvious discomfort — and face Owens in the main event of NXT Takeover: Unstoppable just days later. After those two matches, Zayn underwent shoulder surgery, putting him out of action for nearly the rest of 2015.
Zayn spoke with Noelle Foley of Ringside Collectibles at the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) about the injury, sharing some painful details in the process. Zayn revealed that he first experienced “a pop” in his shoulder on the steel steps before entering the ring but he didn’t think much of it.
“I was like ‘uh oh.’ Then I moved it around a little and it was fine. A minute or two into the match, I took this back suplex and my whole shoulder kind of popped out. As the doctor was talking to me, I asked him if he could pop it back in.”
After being out of action for seven months, Zayn returned on the December 23 edition of NXT last year, defeating Tye Dillinger. A month later, Zayn made his aforementioned Royal Rumble debut as the 20th entrant, eliminating Owens from the match.
In addition to Zayn’s impending debut, fellow NXT superstars Samoa Joe and NXT champion Finn Balor are rumored to be making their main roster debuts soon. With the debuts of Paige, Neville, and The Lucha Dragons on the RAW after Wrestlemania in recent years, NXT is slowly beefing up the WWE’s main roster.
[Featured Image via WWE]