This week’s edition of Friday Night SmackDown was poised to be one of the most important episodes to date. World Wrestling Entertainment‘s Friday night show marked the return of a live TV audience, following months of empty arena shows and events held within the confines of the ThunderDome. It was fair to expect that WWE would have a few tricks up its sleeve to catch the fans in attendance, as well as those watching from home, by surprise. Enter Finn Bálor, who made his main roster return, making a statement by interrupting Sami Zayn and his crusade for “justice,” Zayn believing he was purposely excluded from the Men’s Money in the Bank ladder match.
In full ring gear, Finn Bálor confronted Sami Zayn in the center of the ring. Zayn attempted to attack Bálor, only for “The Prince” to quickly retaliate. Bálor followed up with the Coup de Grâce, leaving Zayn writhing in the center of the ring. In only a few moments, the 2x NXT Champion made a statement in front of the capacity crowd.
— WWE (@WWE) July 17, 2021
Tonight’s SmackDown marks the first main roster appearance of Finn Bálor since SummerSlam 2019, where he lost to “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt in the latter character’s first match. He would return to his old stomping grounds, NXT, the following October. From there, he adopted a more villainous persona as “The Prince,” picking up victories over the likes of Tommaso Ciampa and Riddle. This past September, at the NXT Super Tuesday event, Bálor bested Adam Cole for the vacant NXT Championship, beginning his second reign with the title in question. Bálor successfully defended it against Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, and Pete Dunne before losing the title to Karrion Kross at NXT TakeOver: Stand and Deliver this past April.
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