Since signing with WWE in 2014, Finn Balor has been on the rollercoaster of a lifetime.
During his initial run with NXT, Balor won the 2015 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic alongside Samoa Joe before holding the NXT Championship for over 290 days.
The Prince was drafted to RAW in July 2016, before being crowned the first ever Universal Champion after beating Seth Rollins at SummerSlam. So far so good. Then disaster struck.
Just as Balor reached the top of the WWE mountain he was quickly knocked back to ground zero as it was revealed that suffered a severe shoulder injury while winning the title, and now had to relinquish his newly won belt.
While ‘The Demon’ returned the following year and went on to win two Intercontinental Titles, he failed to recapture the heights he had initially hit. This resulted in the Irishman returning to NXT in October 2019 in an effort to freshen up his character.
After another impressive run with the NXT Championship, a rejuvenated Balor recently returned SmackDown on July 16th beating down Sami Zayn.
Appearing on WWE’s The Bump, Balor said that his return couldn’t have worked out any better.
“Obviously, it’s always incredible to return to any brand. To do it for the first time with the fans back, it couldn’t have worked out any better. I’m really happy with how the night went,” Finn Balor explained about his SmackDown return. “Little nugget of information, there were sending me from gorilla saying, ‘Go, go, go.’ I was like, ‘I can’t hear my music.’ They said, ‘No, it’s playing!’ It was a pretty surreal moment. I was kind of walking out and looking out behind the curtain, making sure that my banners were up on the Tron, you know. I was like, ok, the banners are up at least, so something’s happening. Yeah, it was a cool night.”
The former Bullet Club member then opened up about his return to NXT in 2019. Balor said that his second stint with the black and gold brand accomplished everything that it was supposed to and more.
“[If he accomplished everything he wanted to during his second run in NXT] Everything and more,” Balor answered. “The idea of going back to NXT was to give Finn Balor a break from RAW and a break from SmackDown. It was to reset the character. It wasn’t supposed to be anything more than three months. It was to give me a little rest off TV, rest off the road and to kind of give me a reboot and revamp. Obviously, things folded a lot differently than we expected; it turned into a two-year run almost in NXT.”
The former Universal Champion continued, revealing that he believes his most recent run on NXT was the best of his career.
“For me, personally, I feel like it’s the best work that I’ve put into my career. To do that at 19 – 20 years into your career is quite strange. I really feel like I’ve just started to come into my best stride in NXT in recent months. I’m so grateful, obviously, for the opportunity to be in NXT and to be part of a new NXT landscape that’s completely changed. The guys there have completely changed the boundaries of what NXT is. To be in the ring with guys like Kyle [O’Reilly], guys like Pete [Dunne], it’s impossible to not have a good time.”
Touching on Balor’s longer than imagined stay in NXT, Andrew Zarian of the Mat Men Podcast, noted that the pre-pandemic plan was for Balor to return to the main roster for SummerSlam last year.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.