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Superstar Breakdown: Finn Balor

SENIOR ANALYST
Feature
563   //    25 Sep 2017, 14:18 IST

This man has the potential to print money for WWE if used properly and marketed like a true top guy.
This man has the potential to print money for WWE if used properly and marketed like a true top guy.

Overview

Finn Balor is one of the most beloved wrestlers in WWE. Ever since he debuted, it was clear that WWE had big plans for the man once known as Prince Devitt. While his booking on the main roster thus far has left a lot to be desired, there are many people that still believe that big things are in Balor’s future.

Today, we look at the things that make Finn Balor such a popular wrestler on WWE’s roster.

Look

There are three elements to Balor’s physical appearance as a wrestler. The first is his general appearance. Despite standing at a meagre 5’11 and weighing only 180 pounds (making him a perfect member of the Cruiserweight division), Balor has several attributes that work for him.

His physique, face and overall appearance make him an appealing figure to women and other wrestling fans that go for looks over everything else. He fits the archetype of ‘tall, dark and handsome’ that causes many fans to gravitate towards him. This works for him, in spite of his lack of physical height.

The second element is Balor’s entrance. Entrance music is critical for a WWE superstar, as it helps fans get a feel for a wrestler’s persona and star power. Balor has a fantastic entrance theme, which features strong metal chords and ominous music. These musical undertones help present Balor as a powerful and dangerous force despite his small stature.

Thirdly, Balor has an ‘alter ego’ that he brings out on rare occasions called ‘the Demon’. This alter ego features Balor covering most if not his entire body in intimidating body paint while also walking in an animalistic way.

This unusual presentation makes Finn Balor look otherworldly and supernatural, which acts as a sort of throwback to WWE’s more colourful and ‘out-of-this-world’ past. Balor’s previous appearances under his Demon alter-ego have all been met with overwhelming approval, which has only fueled Balor’s growing fan support. The body paint also makes him unique among RAW wrestlers, as he is the only one that does this on a regular enough basis.

Indeed, Balor is without a doubt one of WWE’s most aesthetically-pleasing wrestlers.


Wrestling Ability

Finn Balor is one of WWE’s best grapplers. Years of toiling away in Japan have turned him into a standout grappler and high-intensity striker, both of which can be seen in his matches. He executes moves with crisp perfection, especially the high-speed Slingblade, which isn’t easy to pull off.

Balor has put on several great matches since debuting for WWE. His contests in NXT were stand-out matches and were instrumental in elevating NXT from just a ‘developmental third brand’ into genuine competition for RAW. Balor’s main roster matches have been likewise highly entertaining, which has led to him having a solid place carved out for himself on WWE’s upper mid-card.

The only real knock against Balor’s in-ring action is his finisher, the Coup de Grâce diving foot stomp. There’s simply something off-putting with that move, especially given that it’s highly situational and requires a considerable amount of set-up for it to be pulled off.

This is the opposite of a more ‘unpredictable’ move like John Cena’s Attitude Adjustment or Randy Orton’s RKO, which can be executed from a multitude of positions and situations. As a result, this makes Balor’s regular matches far more predictable and repetitive than they could be had he used a different finisher.


Promo Skills & Charisma

Despite having one of the things that usually acts as a death knell for a WWE superstar’s career – having a pronounced foreign accent – Finn Balor has no trouble cutting a promo.

Balor, like A.J. Styles, does not cut promos very often, preferring to have his wrestling to his speaking for him. But when Balor does speak, he does so well and with little difficulty. So if WWE ever decided to give Balor a serious, top guy push, they wouldn’t have to worry about his promo abilities.

As for charisma, one need only look at the crowds’ reactions during his entrances, promos, matches and post-match segments. He has the audience in the palm of his hand all the time. Even when he doesn’t do any trademark gestures, audiences everywhere raise their hands and roar in approval at everything he does.

Balor is clearly a top-tier star in this regard.


Booking

This is where Balor has faltered over the past year. His initial run on RAW saw him catapulted to the main event, and that run culminated in him becoming the first-ever WWE Universal Champion.

Sadly, this was a case of too much too soon, as Balor suffered a devastating injury that put him on the shelf for almost an entire year. While he was cleared to wrestle again sometime mid-March, it was too late to put him on the WrestleMania card by that point.

Since then, Balor has remained on RAW’s upper mid-card, floating aimlessly for months. This stemmed from him suffering a concussion at the hands of Jinder Mahal shortly after WrestleMania.

Since then, Balor has only been in the main event in multi-man matches and has spent the majority of the past few months feuding with fellow supernatural star Bray Wyatt. That feud has been interesting, to say the least, with both men playing up the ‘mythological’ aspects of their characters to elevate themselves.

However, there appears to be continued interest in keeping Balor on WWE’s main card. He is considered the first true graduate of the NXT system to become a WWE-style star through and through. One can expect Balor to continue to be booked in a positive way for the coming months for sure, as WWE seeks hopes that he regains the momentum he lost from his surgery.

The only downside to Balor’s booking is that everything with his WWE booking seems to need to be 100% original. It appears that WWE don’t have interest in recreating any elements of the Bullet Club as it was when Balor founded it, which is an immense disappointment, given that group’s international success.

They did flirt with this idea with A.J. Styles last year, but that project failed once Gallows & Anderson became glorified jobbers to the stars.


Conclusion

Finn Balor will continue to be an asset for WWE as long as he remains healthy. He has a sizable fan following already, and that’s going to keep growing while he remains active, wrestles regularly, and maintains positive booking.

However, he already suffered two injuries in short succession. If he gets hurt one more time, he risks being labelled as ‘fragile’ by the WWE office and won’t benefit from good booking in any way should that happen.

Maybe that’s why WWE are trying to play it safe with him: they know how valuable he is and they don’t want to risk it too much with him.

Final Grade: A



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SENIOR ANALYST
Alex is a lifelong professional wrestling fan that loves to write about it just as much as he enjoys watching it.
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