5 must-watch matches of Finn Balor before WWE
Irishman Finn Balor (real name Fergal Devitt), is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best wrestlers in the world of Professional Wrestling today. Balor, who shortly after signing with the WWE in 2014, went on to become an instant fan favorite all thanks to his amazing run in WWE’s developmental brand, better known as NXT.
Being a former one-time and the longest reigning NXT Champion in history, Balor has already proved the WWE Universe that he is certainly one of the most standout competitors to ever step foot into the Pro Wrestling industry.
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The 36-year-old Irishman is also the first ever WWE Universal Champion in history as well.
However, prior to signing with the WWE, Finn Balor initially started working and made a name for himself under New Japan Pro Wrestling, where Balor was then billed as Prince Devitt. He subsequently became one of the biggest modern day stars in Professional Wrestling.
Devitt’s run in NJPW began with him portraying the role of The Pegasus Kid (the second ever in history) and shortly afterward, the Irish sensation went on to form one The Apollo 55 tag team along with Ryusuke Taguchi.
Despite receiving a lot of fan support during his run with Apollo 55, it was on 3rd May 2013, when Devitt changed the wrestling business forever, by turning his back on Taguchi and forming the legendary Bullet Club faction.
Being the ace of The BC, Devitt earned a vast amount of success by winning the Best of Super Juniors, 2013 and following his BOSJ win.
Devitt seemingly also targeted then-IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi in his quest to become the first wrestler to hold the IWGP Jr and Heavyweight Championship at the same time.
With that being said, there is definitely no doubt to the fact that prior to his run with the WWE, Devitt was a definite show stealer in NJPW as well as on the Independent circuit, and thus let us now take a look at Prince Devitt’s five best matches prior to him signing with the WWE:
Prince Devitt vs Kenny Omega - NJPW: Best of Super Juniors, 2013
This 2013 Best of Super Juniors match is an instant 10-minute classic and certainly remains as one of the standout matches of the entire BOSJ XX series.
Omega, who came into this tournament as a representative of DDT Pro Wrestling, was already one of the world-renowned Junior Heavyweights at that point of time. Whereas, on the other hand, Devitt was beaming with confidence with the backup of the inevitable Bullet Club.
This match began in a usual fast-paced manner, as you'd expect from every single Junior Heavyweight competitor in NJPW, and Omega for one, dominated in the early stages of the contest, when he successfully countered almost every single offense from 'The Real Rock 'n' Rolla'.
At one stage of the match, Omega looked to make things a lot more interesting and brutal when he got a grab of a table on the outside, only for Devitt's fellow BC stablemate Karl Anderson interfering at the right time in order to come to the aid of his leader.
A very solid outing to say the least with a lot of crowd heat to it, Omega despite being a DDT representative had the full support of the Korakeun crowd, whereas, Devitt and The Bullet Club were heavily booed due to their shenanigans.
The closing exchange of the match is what made it such an amazing contest, both Omega and Devitt hit each other with tremendous counters.
Omega attempted to hit the One-Winged Angel on two occasions but failed, only for Devitt to capitalize and connect with the Bloody Sunday for the win.
You can check out this classic match on NJPWWorld
Prince Devitt vs Gedo - NJPW: Kizuna Road, 2013
A hidden gem of a match, Devitt vs Gedo from 2013 Kizuna Road had everything that you'd be looking for in a wrestling match.
Gedo, who despite being the on-screen manager of Kazuchika Okada, put up a very resilient fight and outsmarted the bastardly heel Prince Devitt at every turn of the match.
The interferences from members of The Bullet Club and CHAOS were equally fun, with the addition of Okada taking care of both Fale and Anderson all by himself.
At one point, it seemed like Gedo would eventually pick up the win and capture the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship when his tag partner Jado hit 'The Real Rock 'n' Rolla' with a Steel Chair shot to the head from the outside.
But, Devitt had to dig down deep to make a comeback into the contest and pick up the win following a Bloody Sunday.
A true hidden gem in both Gedo and Prince Devitt's career and highly recommended and can be watched on NJPWWorld.
#5. Prince Devitt vs Low Ki vs Kota Ibushi - NJPW: Wrestle Kingdom VII
A solid and fast start to the match definitely heated things up between pre-Bullet Club Prince Devitt, the up and coming Kota Ibushi, and the Hitman cosplaying Low-Ki, who in my opinion, was the most underrated star in this entire match.
The three men started things off in a terrific manner and with the exclusion of Ibushi for a particular time-being, both Low-Ki and Devitt had some absolutely amazing exchange with each other.
However, Kota Ibushi once again was the standout in this match and the crowd was really hot every time either one of the three men executed a jaw-dropping spot.
Devitt eventually retained his IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship in a following the Bloody Sunday on Ibushi from the top rope.