Will Finn Balor Ever Be Champion Again?

Written by Korey Gunz

At this time three years ago, Finn Balor had just burst onto the main roster and had the proverbial “rocket strapped to his back.” Shortly after his debut on Monday Night Raw, Balor quickly vaulted all the way to the top of the ladder, becoming the first ever Universal Champion at SummerSlam 2016. However, a shoulder injury sustained at that same event derailed what looked to be a huge planned push. Since returning from that injury in early 2017, and subsequently moving forward from that point on, it would be safe to say that Balor has yet to fully get back on a path that would lead you to believe he might ever become “The Man” again.

With reports that Balor is now set to take some time off following his loss to The Fiend at this year’s SummerSlam, and reflecting back on how far away that initial debut seems though just three years ago, it begs to question- will Balor ever reach the same heights he achieved when he first debuted on the main roster? Will he ever be Universal or WWE Champion again? In my opinion, no he will not.

First of all, the roster split that isn’t really a roster split has done him no real favors. On the Smackdown Live side of things, he would be at best considered third in the pecking order of baby faces behind Roman Reigns and Kofi Kingston. The “Wild Card Rule” helped even less when, at a moment’s notice, other top names could show up on Tuesday nights and push him even further down the scale of importance on a two hour only show. Start-and-Stop pushes and injuries or calamities to both himself and people he was currently in a feud with at the time (Bray Wyatt, Andrade, etc), all which occurred at inopportune times, have also contributed to Balor’s plateau.

Secondly, and perhaps more important in the bigger picture, is the mishandling of the “Demon King” persona. Balor’s alter ego was all the rage when he debuted. It was over huge with the NXT crowd and made him seem like a big deal when he made the main roster. It made him someone that mattered and grabbed your attention as soon as he hit the screen. For people that might slight Finn for his size, the “Demon” presentation truly made him feel like a larger than life character. However, over time the “Demon King” became a crutch. Instead of the paint and mind set being portrayed as evidence of increased stakes or a very personal issue with his adversary, the story always became one of Finn Balor not being able to get the job done as himself, so the Demon had to come to the rescue. Balor has never lost in the body paint. But Finn has lost a lot, to the point that if he’s NOT wearing the Demon make up in a big match, most fans assume (correctly) that he is going to lose. The Demon King was built up at the expense of “Finn Balor.” They were presented more so as two different people completely as opposed to a different side of the same coin. And if and when the Demon King does finally lose, what value will Balor have in the audience’s eyes? If his secret weapon is neutralized, then what? What instills hope in our hero then? The creative team has painted Balor in a corner.

Of course, with Balor off TV, his eventual return would be a great time to tweak his character. Maybe he joins the O.C.? Maybe they tweak the “Demon King” persona? What if they get rid of it all together? However, if he continues on a similar path as before, I don’t think the red leather belt is in his future. If some reports are to be believed, Vince wasn’t really sold on the Demon gimmick in the first place, and his first title reign in 2016 was mostly due to the backing of Triple H. I’m a fan of Balor, and I don’t want his entire career to be defined by waiting for the Demon to emerge for other people to care about him. Here’s hoping that Balor can recapture the momentum he once had not long ago. I’m just not optimistic.

About the author

Korey Gunz