WRESTLING star Finn Balor is on his way back to the top of World Wrestling Entertainment and he wants what was cruelly taken from him last September.
Balor became the first ever WWE Universal Champion in his first main brand pay-per-view main event at Summerslam 2016.
But it was all stripped away just hours later, after the wrestler received a devastating shoulder injury during his title match with Seth Rollins. Scans showed the injury was severe and he was immediately made to vacate the title on the following night’s Monday Night Raw program and spent the next six months recovering, only returning in April this year.
Now he’s back and firing, he wants his crown returned.
Former UFC champion Brock Lesnar currently wears the Universal Title around his waist, but that does not concern Balor.
“Perhaps considering the fact I never actually lost the Universal Title, maybe at some point I’ll be granted a rematch — maybe against Samoa Joe or Brock Lesnar,” Balor told news.com.au
Ahead of the WWE Live Singapore show on 28 June, WWE Superstar Finn Balor visited Singapore to meet fans and answer some questions from the media.
Known for his intimidating in-ring persona “The Demon King”, the 35-year-old wrestling star shared some tips on how to intimidate opponents, for educational purposes, of course.
“There are plenty of ways. I can stare right into their eyes without blinking (or) cut a sweet flex and show off your muscles, but I think the best way is by showing no fear to your opponent,” Balor told Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore in an exclusive interview.
“Once I show that I’m not intimidated by the opponent, then that in turn intimidates them because they will think, ‘He’s not scared at all. He clearly thinks he can beat me’. “, he added.
Balor shared that it was “knowing that opponent I’m facing is calm and he’s not scared” that intimidated him the most.
Outside of the squared circle, Balor makes sure people feel less intimidated by him by simply just “smiling and greeting them with a handshake”.
“I want to let people know that although on screen I may be the WWE superstar Finn Balor, ‘The Demon King’, I’m really just a regular dude like everyone else,” he said.
When asked about his plans in Singapore, he said he hopes to do some sight-seeing and wishes to try the famous chilli crab dish as well.
Speaking about his time wrestling in Japan, Balor said, “It definitely moulded me into the person I am, both inside and outside of the ring. The Japanese fighting spirit and ‘never give up’ attitude was something I adopted when I was there, and it still carries me forward long after I left Japan.”
On 28 June at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, Balor will appear alongside other top WWE Superstars such as Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Samoa Joe for the WWE Live Singapore show.
Then the Universal Champion, Balor suffered a devastating shoulder injury at SummerSlam back in August in his match against Seth Rollins and was forced to relinquish the strap.
Speaking at the o2 in London last week to announce the new WWE United Kingdom belt, Balor said: “Myself and Neville have been friends since 2002 and had similar journeys so it has not just been injuries that have encouraged us to lean on each other.
“It’s been the adjusting to dojos in Japan or upping sticks and moving to America, the adjustment of working for WWE. So me and Neville have leaned on each other for everything over the last couple of years.
“It was unfortunate what happened to both of us but I try to look at the positive situations from everything and for me timing was bad but I have the chance to step back and assess where I am and maybe come back a little bit rejuvenated.
“This is the first bit of time off I have had in about 10 years so to have this unfortunate break – which I wish didn’t happen – you have to make a positive out of a negative and I have learnt a lot of the last couple of months.
“I think being able to not worry about everything around me has helped. If I cannot affect a situation I take myself out of it.
“I don’t pay much attention to the news or what’s happening in politics and I applied that to wrestling because it is not important to me right now. What is important to me is getting my shoulder 100 percent right. So I took myself out of the WWE performance centre and took myself down to Birmingham, Alabama where they are one of the leading specialists in shoulder rehabilitation and working seven hours a day down there to try to make it back for WrestleMania.
“It’s nice to have a little break, I have been doing this for 14 years. You learn a lot more about yourself and I’m excited about the new Finn Balor that is coming back and not worried about the one I left behind. The target was six months and to be back for WrestleMania.”
Recently on Sam Roberts’ Wrestling Podcast, the inaugural WWE Universal Champion Finn Bálor discussed why he did not raise the championship when he defeated Seth Rollins at SummerSlam 2016 and whether reuniting with Luke Gallows and Carl Anderson is being considered for Bálor’s return to WWE.
According to Bálor, the reason he did not hoist his newly won WWE Universal Championship was because his shoulder was injured during the match, even though Sami Zayn thought ‘The Demon King’ did not hold up the title because the fans in attendance were extremely vocal in their displeasure over the red and gold strap.
“[Zayn] goes, ‘God, that guy’s a genius!‘ Yet in reality, when the crowd were saying, I think, ‘that belt sucks,’ I was working over Seth and thought they were saying ‘Bálor sucks,’ and I said, ‘God, they turned on me fast!’”
Bálor continued, “I couldn’t lift it up. And there’s one shot, I don’t know if it aired on TV, but right when I got back up on the stage, the cameraman’s right in my face and he’s saying, ‘raise the belt up, raise the belt up, I need a shot with the belt up,’ I was like, ‘oh, no… ‘ and I was like, ‘argh…’ and hear crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, and I got it up. And the doctor has no idea how I’d done that or how I finished the match.”
Additionally, Bálor stated that he is sure a Bullet Club reunion with Gallows and Anderson will happen eventually; however, it does not appear to be planned for his WWE return.
“Obviously, there is that link and that history. And I think that that’s always a possibility. But I’ve kind of got my own things to handle first when I get back. I’m sure someday that will happen, we’ll get a little B.C. revival going on, but right now, right now, I’m just worried about getting healthy, man. I haven’t thought about where I’m going to be. I just want to get back.“
Go behind the curtain on the most anticipated Raw debut in years
The question was never if Finn Bálor was going to arrive on Raw; it was always when. A five-tool player who held the NXT Championship for a record 292 days, the Irish-born Superstar has been seemingly simmering just under the radar for months now, waiting for his opportunity to shine on WWE’s biggest stage. After being drafted at No. 5 overall to Raw, Bálor finally got that opportunity. His debut this past Monday (his birthday, coincidentally) was about as perfect a night as he, or anyone, could have asked for: He defeated Cesaro, Rusev, Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns all in the same night to become one of the No. 1 contenders to the new WWE Universal Championship. He’ll battle Seth Rollins to see who will earn that brand-new title at SummerSlam, but as Finn’s road to the championship match begins, WWE.com caught up with Raw’s newest sensation to get his thoughts on his epic debut.
WWE.COM: First off, a belated Happy Birthday to you, and congratulations on the debut.
FINN BÁLOR: [Laughs] Yeah, unbelievable. I can’t even try and describe the feeling of what happened Monday. It’s quite surreal, to put it mildly.
WWE.COM: Your debut was the source of a lot of speculation and rumors. Now that it has finally happened, did it live up to your own expectations of how you wanted to arrive on Raw?
BÁLOR: I guess it’s always something I’ve imagined was going to happen eventually, and I think it far exceeded any expectations that I’d ever imagined. I always had this kind of vision that I’d be turning up as a surprise, maybe an interference or jump the barrier. But the way it all happened was exactly the way it was meant to be. I’m glad my debut wasn’t left up to my imagination, because it wouldn’t have been anywhere close to being as good as it was on Monday night.
WWE.COM: What did it feel like to get that reception from the crowd in Pittsburgh?
BÁLOR: Yeah, incredible. NXT has been in Pittsburgh a lot, and to stand on that stage at the beginning of Raw and get the “Finn” chants really helped put a lot of anxiety and nerves at ease. NXT is its own kind of animal, and you’re never quite sure how much of that transfers over into WWE and into Monday Night Raw. To get that response instantly was a big reassuring pat on the back from fans saying, “We got you, dude.” I was happy about that.
WWE.COM: And you’re going to be one of the first Superstars to challenge for a new title. That has to feel pretty good, too.
BÁLOR: Yeah, man! To say it’s a fairytale is an understatement, the way everything has panned out. I spent two years at NXT and a lot of times questioned, “When is this going to happen?” or “Is this actually going to happen? Am I going to make it to Raw?” For what felt like such a long wait, now everything seems to be happening so fast. It has made literally every minute of that two-year wait worth it. I’d wait two years again just for that opportunity to walk out on Raw and have the same kind of feeling I had last Monday.
WWE.COM: Pivoting to NXT for a second, you had said for a long time you wanted to be a leader in that locker room and help guide it for as long as you could. Now that you’re transitioning to Raw, looking back, how do you think you left NXT versus how you found it?
BÁLOR: You know, it’s a very bittersweet moment. Going to NXT, obviously, the goal is to make it to Raw or SmackDown Live, and now that the opportunity came up to be on Raw and challenging Seth Rollins for this new WWE Universal Title, I’m kind of looking back and going, “Man, what about NXT?” I still miss the boys and I still very much feel a part of it.
Wrestling has a funny way of regenerating itself, and I’m sure in the past a lot of people have asked questions about “Who’s going to replace Sami Zayn in the locker room?” or “Who’s going to replace Kevin Owens in the locker room?” People always step in. There’s a lot of hungry up-and-coming talent in NXT that I’m sure will be more than willing to step in and fill my boots. Shinsuke Nakamura, obviously. Oney Lorcan, who I think has enormous potential to be not only an in-ring talent, but he’s a natural leader of the locker room. In the next couple of months, I think he’s going to be a real breakout star for NXT. Rich Swann is there as well; he’s a real good up-and-comer.
[There are also] the names people won’t have heard of, guys like Riddick Moss; he’s someone who started the same day as me at the Performance Center, but he was a transfer from football with no wrestling background. He has made incredible leaps and bounds, and he’s really a team player and will be a real locker room leader in the future. So, Finn will move on, but NXT is in good hands, you can rest assured.
While you might know him as Prince Devitt, “The Real Rock ‘n’ Rolla” or “The Real Shooter”, one thing’s for sure: Finn Bálor will offer the WWE Universe something they’ve never seen before. Born and raised in Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland; Finn is not your average WWE superstar as he brings the wrestling experience of a man who competed in places like Mexico, the UK and Japan. He might not be the “Prince” anymore, but that won’t stop Finn Bálor from claiming his throne in the WWE as the resident Demon King on the SmackDown brand.
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