DGS Main Event Pro Wrestling Match of the Year – Shinsuke Nakamura v. Sami Zayn at NXT TakeOver: Dallas
In 2016, fans got to witness some phenomenal matches from various promotions. From Kenny Omega v. Tetsuya Naito at the G1 Climax, any John Cena v. A.J. Styles match and even The Revival v. #DIY from NXT TakeOver: Toronto. There is one match however that stands out above all of the rest. A match from the great NXT TakeOver: Dallas event earned the DGS Main Event Award for Match of the Year, and that’s Shinsuke Nakamura v. Sami Zayn.
It was “The King of Strong Style” v. “The Heart and Soul of NXT”. Just by hearing nicknames like that, you knew you were in for one wild ride.
Some backstory: NXT was going through an interesting transition. New talent were debuting as old talent were heading up to the main roster. Zayn, coming back from an injury suffered in his previous debut on Raw (and Kevin Owens feud), came back during the Royal Rumble. He also made appearances in NXT, showing his love for the brand that gave him a chance. He wanted to prove he still got it (it wasn’t that hard). After matches with Samoa Joe, Tye Dillinger, etc, Zayn realized he didn’t have a match at the TakeOver show before WrestleMania 32. Around this time, it was reported that WWE signed the legendary Japanese wrestler Nakamura. NXT GM William Regal came out and announced Zayn would face someone NXT recently signed, and when Nakamura’s face showed up, the crowd went wild.
When these two faced off in Dallas, it was quite a sight to see. First of all, seeing Shinsuke Nakamura’s entrance for the first time gave me chills. When they both entered the ring, they had the crowd in the palm of their hands. Before they even did anything the crowd chanted for their favorite before sticking with “These two guys!” Now that is a moment to remember.
What went on during the next 20 minutes and 7 seconds could only be described as a work of art. These two put on a clinic, trading near fall after near fall, hard hit after hard hit. It was a battle to see who wanted it more. For Nakamura, it was about putting on a great debut match for his new employer. For Zayn, it was to provide one last swan song to the faithful NXT Universe.
Doing some research, it was hard to see if these two ever faced off against one another before. If they haven’t they could have fooled me. They looked perfectly in sync, like they were doing this together for years. That is tough to do for some opponents. The best part of the match was when both collapsed in the middle of the ring, and the crowd chanted “fight forever” for several minutes. Knowing these two delivered in a big way brought a smile to my face, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.
In the end, Nakamura won, and he then embraced a beaten Zayn. The former left the ring to allow Zayn to have one final moment in front of the NXT fans. It was as emotional as it could get, and they hooked everyone in from the get go.
Arguably the show of the year, NXT TakeOver: Dallas gave us a true Match of the Year, maybe of the decade. If these two were to cross paths again on the main roster, I know I’ll be the first one to put my remote down, take a seat, quiet down and enjoy. Thank you NXT, Triple H, Nakamura and Zayn.
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