Finn Balor explained the reason behind his absence from Raw at the beginning of the year.
On the January 17th episode of Monday Night Raw, Finn Balor took on Austin Theory to exact revenge for the young star beating him up the previous month. Theory, looking to impress his mentor Vince McMahon, thwarted Balor’s attempts at retribution when he pinned the former Universal Champion in their match.
Finn Balor wouldn’t be seen again on Monday Night Raw until he returned on the February 21st episode to team with fellow former NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa to take on the Dirty Dawgs in continuation of Ciampa’s feud with Dolph Ziggler. His absence meant that he missed being part of the 2022 Royal Rumble.
Speaking to BT Sport, Balor revealed that he didn’t want to take time off, but that he had issues with renewing his visa and needed to go home to Ireland to sort out the situation.
“I didn’t want to take any time off. I didn’t want to miss any shows. I didn’t need any time off. I wasn’t injured. I didn’t need a rest. Legally, my visa needed to be renewed and I needed to go home to Ireland and go to the US Embassy to get a new visa.”
“That’s why I wasn’t at the Royal Rumble and that’s why I wasn’t there for a month.”
Finn Balor continued, noting that he’d been putting off the visa renewal due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions, but that it was something that needed to be sorted. He said that it’s not something that will become an issue again for another ten years.
“It was strictly a legal paperwork issue that had to be rectified. It had kind of been pushed and pushed and pushed on through COVID because we couldn’t travel. A window opened up and we said, ‘Look, we are going to have to do it eventually. Let’s just do it now.'”
“The time off was taken reluctantly in January to take care of that paperwork but thank God it’s all taken care of now for the next ten years.”
A BT Sport exclusive…
"I didn't want to take any time off. I wasn't injured…"
— WWE on BT Sport (@btsportwwe) March 16, 2022
On the same night he made his return to Raw, Finn Balor answered an open challenge from then United States Champion Damian Priest, confronting the champion in the ring and telling him to be careful what he wished for when he asked to face a world champion level opponent The next week, Balor defeated Priest to become the new United States Champion.