When Prince Devitt signed with WWE in May 2014, he began appearing on the NXT brand under his new name Finn Balor (Bálor).
Balor is a combination of two different Irish Celtic mythological figures, Fionn mac Cumhaill, and Balor. By using Finn and Balor, he is representing the duality within himself; a shining beacon of light, and the demons and darkness that is within him.
The Origins of The Demon King and Finn Balor
Fionn mac Cumhaill is a mythical hunter-warrior in Irish Mythology originating from the stories of Fionn from the Fenian Cycle (a collection of prose based around the tales of Fionn mac Cumhaill and his band of small, semi-independent warriors.)
Balor literally translates as "Demon King" and is the last king of the Fomorians capable of killing and causing destruction with his deadly eye. Fomorians are a group of malevolent supernatural beings.
The Prince and The Demon King in New Japan Pro-Wrestling
The origins of The Demon King date back further than its first appearance in NXT. The demon first appeared in a New Japan ring after Finn Balor, known as Prince Devitt, turned heel on his Apollo 55 partner Ryusuke Taguchi, creating The Bullet Club with Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, and ‘Machine Gun’ Karl Anderson.
Finn Balor recalled how he came up with the character and a potential match in the Tokyo Dome:
“I’ve been working like Babyface, straight squeaky teen Babyface for like 6 and half years in Japan and they ask if I wanna turn heel so I figured ‘ok, I wanna take everything away from them that they recognized me as the Babyface. So like I had already worn the bodysuit and I didn’t really want to change my body too much. I thought, ’Why don’t I just cover it all in black paint?”
“The idea was that the babyface Taguchi would be wrestling this shadow on the ring. So it was at Tokyo Dome, this big building so far away it looks like the babyface is wrestling like a shadow,” explains Bálor. “That’s where like the concept of the idea came from and the more I played with it, I found a really good painter to kind of collaborate within Tokyo. We came up with the first demon character and it was supposed to be a one-solve.”
Unfortunately, the two didn't face off in the Tokyo Dome due to an injury to Taguchi. But, towards the end of Finn Balor's run in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Taguchi returned from injury and, on his last night in the company, we got the Demon King.
The Demon King was defeated by Taguchi. That same night, after telling the Young Bucks not to interfere, the pair would betray The Demon King, sending him on his way to the WWE.