Photo Credit: WWE.com
The injury hits NXT pretty hard, although not as hard as it would have if it came this time last year. The developmental territory-slash-premium brand has benefited from the better development of its women's division and the influx of main event-ready stars on the male side of the ledger. That all being said, Zayn has been part of a marquee match for all six Network specials, and has been in the main event of the last four inclusive. He's inarguably the most important wrestler, even if his in-character decorations don't say as much, in the short history of NXT, and his loss will be felt, even if it will be blunted.
As for narrative implications, the path is now freed for Owens to take on other challenges. Even discounting his main roster dalliances and epic encounter against Cena at Elimination Chamber on Sunday, he has no fewer than three prospective main event showdowns coming up. Finn Bálor has nominal number one contendership to his NXT Championship, and will probably get the first crack. William Regal put his hands on Owens - more pointedly, put his fingers up Owens' nose - and will give him the ol' Dean Ambrose Memorial Shine-Up Match. And of course, the biggest fish to fry will be the prospective main event of NXT Takeover: September Morn We Danced Until the Night Became a Brand New Day, Owens vs. Samoa Joe. The future of NXT does have to diversify away from Zayn, since 2014 was ALL about him, but that doesn't mean anyone should be happy that he's going away completely for awhile.