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IT STARTED AT the age of “about four or five”.

A young Fergal Devitt would spend afternoons watching wrestling with his grandfather.

The Bray native worshipped stars such as The Ultimate Warrior and Shawn Michaels, but he didn’t dare dream that he would be emulating their incredible feats of athleticism some day.

“Growing up in Bray, being 5 foot 11 and 180 pounds, you never really think you’re going to work for WWE,” he tells TheScore.ie.

Indeed, save for the occasional exception, wrestling was scarcely a viable career option for an Irish person until recently.

With no wrestling schools set up in his country at the time, as a youngster Devitt had to make do with competing in sports such as soccer and Gaelic football, before eventually getting the chance to pursue his dream aged 18.
Once he finished school, he travelled to Kent in England and joined the Hammerlock wrestling company, training under the late Andre Baker. His subsequent exploits would later lead him to be considered the school’s most successful graduate.

And after six years spent honing his catch-as-catch-can style of wrestling, Devitt began what would turn out to be an eight-year career in Japan.

He eventually made the move to Asia for what was initially intended to be a three-month apprenticeship, but Devitt took little time to adapt to his surroundings, despite initially feeling somewhat intimidated by this unique experience.

“I was 24 when I arrived in Japan, which I guess is pretty young and it was a huge culture shock,” he recalls. “But at that age, I was willing to welcome any change in my life to pursue this dream. I was a proverbial sponge, willing to soak up the culture and all the different techniques that I’d learn.”

The young Irishman soon made his debut with New Japan Pro Wrestling in October 2006 under the moniker ‘Prince Devitt,’ primarily refraining from using his first name because the locals had such difficulty pronouncing it.

“After six weeks, they chucked me in the ring with El Samurai for my first match in Tokyo,” he adds.
Devitt seldom looked back from there, winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship three times and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship six times among other notable achievements.

Consequently, when WWE eventually came calling earlier this year, it was hardly a surprise. Devitt had established himself as a world-renowned star, occasionally delighting crowds on tours of Europe and Mexico as well as in Japan, and garnering acclaim for his acrobatic style.

At the relatively late age of 33 (10 years older than his hero Shawn Michaels was when he began with the company), Devitt officially joined WWE last July and despite its ostensible inevitability, he is in no way blasé about becoming part of the world’s biggest and most famous wrestling promotion.

“It’s kind of like the culmination of 14 years hard work,” he says.
“At the beginning, I just wanted to have a wrestling match, and I did that in England. I just took it step by step and to be here in WWE — it’s a real feeling of achievement. But now that I’m here, I want to achieve more. So this is the beginning of a whole new chapter for me.

“It’s been an incredible experience so far and I’m just looking forward to seeing what happens in the future.
“WWE is the biggest wrestling company in the world, and it is that for a reason.”

Devitt has signed with NXT, WWE’s developmental branch, located in Winter Park, Florida and the Irish athlete has been highly impressed by the company in the short time that he’s spent there.

“The coaches here include Billy Gunn, Matt Bloom, Norman Smiley and Terry Taylor… So there’s just a wealth of experience to learn from.

“It’s really been like the floodgates have opened for me. The amount I’ve learned in the last three or four months here has surpassed what I learned in the past three or four years before that.”

– Source (more…)

File under: Finn Bálor News Interview
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y2j_ic

Jason Albert: I am absolutely, 100 percent taking Itami & Bálor here. I know them well. I think, with all due respect to The Ascension, desperate times call for desperate measures, which is a recipe for making a mistake. WINNERS: Finn Bálor & Hideo Itami

Sara Amato: I’ll go with Hideo & Finn, because they’re both guys I’ve been watching for a very long time. I know what they’re capable of. I wouldn’t want to be The Ascension. They’ve just been needling them, like two tigers in a cage. That’s not a team I’d want to mess with. WINNERS: Finn Bálor & Hideo Itami

Norman Smiley: Up until a couple of months ago, I thought The Ascension was the big dog on the block. However, with them losing the titles to The Lucha Dragons, I see a crack in their armor. I’m going to have to give the nod to Hideo & Finn. WINNERS: Finn Bálor & Hideo Itami

Finn Bálor & Hideo Itami: 3, The Ascension: 0

File under: Finn Bálor News WWE NXT WWE.com
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Finn Bálor

y2j_ic

Seth Rollins likes to call himself “the living, breathing future of WWE.” Even if he only got that moniker thanks to a glowing endorsement from his benefactor, Triple H (who, ahem, must have heard it first on WWE.com), the claim has some legs. Mr. Money in the Bank is nothing if not one of the most dynamic, versatile and physically gifted Superstars the WWE Universe has seen in years: A Jeff Hardy-style daredevil with a well-earned dash of megalomania to go with it, Rollins really does have it all.

Still, he’s certainly not the only guy in contention to be “the future.” Rollins has blinders on, as well he must, but there’s an astounding crop of talent sprouting around him even as he continues to reach both literal and figurative heights in his very young career. Just as we predicted Rollins as a future main-eventer all those months ago, WWE.com editors again regroup to select the Superstars (and Diva) we’ve pegged as the future of WWE. Plan accordingly.

Finn Bálor is going to be a massive star for WWE, because the guy already is a star. He looks like one, he carries himself like one and he is capable of communicating the fact that he is one. It’s not just the blistering offense or the angular European soccer star aesthetic that make him such a sure thing. It’s the “I belong in the main event” self-confidence that really translates. It’s the same poise that runs the tightrope between arrogance and assuredness that has made Seth Rollins such a commodity. Bálor can morph from underdog highflier to arrogant jerk with ease. And, like Rollins, he’ll have the same mass appeal as Jeff Hardy without any of his unfortunate faults.

It remains to be seen if Bálor is going to be able to sell himself on the microphone — always the biggest question with an international talent entering WWE. But he already proved himself to be a wildly charismatic figure during his stint as the head of Bullet Club in New Japan Pro Wrestling. If he can recreate that craze in WWE — and, believe me, he can — the Bálor era may await. — RYAN MURPHY

File under: Finn Bálor News WWE.com
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Seth Rollins recently took Twitter fan questions in a recent interview with “The Sun”, in the interview he’s asked who from NXT would he like to work with in which Finn is mentioned, hear what he has to say below. Video courtesy of The Seth Rollins Network.



Finn mention around 1:20 and again at 4:10

File under: Finn Bálor News Video
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Fergal Devitt is one of the brightest young talents in wrestling today; having spent most of his career in Japan with NJPW he has now signed with WWE and is a part of the NXT roster.

The 33-year-old from Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland known as Prince Devitt during his time in NJPW where he is a former three-time IWPG Junior Heavyweight Champion and he has also held the IWPG Junior Heavyweight Tag Team titles on six occasions.

On July 28th 2014 the Irish grappler signed with WWE and is part of the NXT roster where he has been given the ring name Finn Bálor.

We caught up with Devitt to talk about his influences growing up, his time in Japan and wrestling Daniel Bryan plus much more.

– Source
(more…)

File under: Finn Bálor News Interview
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WWE has signed international Superstar Fergal Devitt to its NXT division. He will report to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, today, WWE.com has confirmed.

“This is something I’ve been looking forward to since I was maybe four or five years old,” Devitt told WWE.com last week, while preparing for the trip in his home country of Ireland. “I grew up watching wrestling my whole life, so to get the chance to step in the ring that I’ve watched on TV so many times is a dream come true.”

Prior to signing with WWE, Devitt was widely considered one of the most highly touted free agents in sports-entertainment. Hailing from Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland, his path to NXT and WWE has been circuitous: Initially trained in England, Devitt honed his craft in the U.K. and U.S. independent scenes before entering the notoriously disciplined dojos of New Japan Pro Wrestling. He also competed in Mexico, though it was in New Japan that he rose to greatest prominence, under the name Prince Devitt.

During his eight-year tenure there, Devitt captured the group’s prestigious IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship three times, and he won New Japan’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament — the same tournament won by the likes of WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero — twice, in 2010 and 2013. Devitt went undefeated in last year’s edition of the round-robin tournament.

(more…)

File under: Finn Bálor News WWE.com