It wouldn't be a stretch to say that Finn Balor is one of the most influential wrestlers of the last decade. The Irishman was at the forefront of the global rise of two different companies. First, as a founding member of the Bullet Club, Prince Devitt announced his arrival on the big stage.
While his stint as the kingpin of Bullet Club was a short one, Devitt's impact on the group was indelible. His transition from being a cheerful babyface to portraying a suave heel wasn't an easy one for the Irishman. But he played the role to perfection.
With Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, and The Good Brothers by his side, Devitt and the Bullet Club dominated New Japan Pro-Wrestling. The future Finn Balor ultimately left the company at the height of his popularity. This decision shocked many fans. But Devitt's arrival in WWE was only the beginning of another chapter in his illustrious career.
Finn Balor signed with WWE in May 2014, and he made his NXT debut in September. The former Bullet Club leader became one of the driving forces behind NXT's global rise. When Balor left NXT for the main roster in 2016, there was a sense of emptiness among hardcore NXT fans. "The Demon King" personified the black-and-gold brand. It was hard to imagine NXT without Balor.
Much like his run in NXT, Finn Balor had a meteoric rise on the main roster. He defeated Roman Reigns on his first night on WWE RAW. He then faced Seth Rollins at WWE SummerSlam 2016. Balor defeated Rollins at The Biggest Party of the Summer to become the inaugural WWE Universal Champion.
But an event that should have been the pinnacle of Finn Balor's professional career quickly turned into a nightmare. During his win at WWE SummerSlam, Balor suffered a devastating shoulder injury. The following night on RAW, Balor relinquished the WWE Universal Championship.
Balor returned to in-ring action on the red brand after an eight-month hiatus. But for more than two years, Balor languished in the mid-card. Though "The Prince" won the WWE Intercontinental Championship twice, the Balor fans saw during this period was a shell of his former self. Unfortunately, a lack of creative direction turned Balor into another bland face on the WWE roster.
Finn Balor suffered one of the most humiliating losses of his career at WWE SummerSlam 2019 against The Fiend. In a departure from the usual pro wrestling formula, the crowd cheered as the heel (Wyatt) destroyed the babyface (Balor.) After this defeat, Balor disappeared from WWE programming.
During Balor's hiatus from WWE, NXT moved to USA Network. NXT had already earned the reputation of being one of the hottest brands in the business. But it needed a renowned face who could pull in the casual viewer. Naturally, Triple H turned to one of his most loyal soldiers, Finn Balor, to fill this role.
The move to the black-and-gold brand has been a blessing in disguise for Balor. It has revived his stagnant career, and it has also allowed him to play a more edgy character. "The Prince" has thrived with this new personality.
Like all good things, Finn Balor's time in NXT must come to an end
As someone who was already an established star on the main roster, Finn Balor's arrival in NXT indicated that WWE wanted to get more eyes on the brand. It's been more than a year since he returned to NXT. His career was in a precarious position when he arrived in NXT in 2019. Balor's run on NXT has greatly helped both parties.
But now, NXT and Balor are strong enough to head separate ways. NXT has been thriving for a while now, as it has an impressive pool of talent. Names like Kushida, Bronson Reed, Dexter Lumis, Cameron Grimes, and Timothy Thatcher are waiting for an opportunity to become main event players. If Balor left NXT, the brand already has a dozen Superstars who are ready to take his place.
On the other hand, there has been a void in RAW's main event scene since the 2020 Draft. There are only a handful of Superstars at that level, such as Drew McIntyre and Randy Orton.
One of the main reasons why the company decided to have Goldberg challenge McIntyre for the Royal Rumble was the lack of credible opponents in the division. McIntyre has already feuded with AJ Styles and Randy Orton. Otherwise, The Fiend and Braun Strowman have been inconsistent as world champions.
There are stars like Jeff Hardy, Matt Riddle, and Sheamus, but these competitors don't have the main-event pedigree at the moment. There is a severe lack of credible opponents for McIntyre heading into WWE WrestleMania 37.
With his current run in NXT, Finn Balor has proven that he belongs in the main event scene. He isn't the same man that he was a few years ago. "The Prince" looks more motivated than ever. Additionally, given the schedule the main roster currently follows, Balor's body wouldn't have to go through the same wear and tear it experienced during his first run on WWE RAW.
NXT recently announced a Takeover special for Valentine's Day. Balor will probably defend his NXT Championship at the event. There, "The Prince" could drop the title to someone like Karrion Kross. Then, Balor could move to the red brand and enter a big WrestleMania feud.
Many fans would like to see a rivalry between McIntyre and Finn Balor. Likewise, "The Prince" could take on Randy Orton or his old foe, Bobby Lashley. "The Demon King" vs. The Fiend has also been a dream match for the WWE Universe. Regardless, Balor would add a lot of star power to the red brand.
At this point, Finn Balor doesn't necessarily need to move to WWE RAW. But the red brand needs a dynamic star like Balor to add even more electricity to the show.Published 11 Jan 2021, 04:41 IST