Five Months Later, Finn Bálor Return Has Failed to Take Off

Finn Bálor return has so far failed to take off
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The entire run of Finn Bálor on the WWE main roster has been one negatively impacted by a number of factors and it has failed to meet the immense potential demonstrated on a weekly basis during the glory days of NXT. Flashback to 2016 and Bálor’s initial call-up from NXT – where Bálor was most successful as the face (alongside Bayley) of the entire Triple H fronted promotion – was off to immediate success. Big wins over top guys Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins meant that, at SummerSlam 2016, Bálor got to secure the unique distinction of being the first ever WWE Universal Champion. That title has gone on to be regularly and prominently displayed as the company’s biggest prize, with Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar having both captured it in recent memory and Bálor will forever be etched in WWE folklore as the first ever holder of the title.

WWE Creative Has Failed Finn Bálor

Finn Balor vs Roman Reigns SmackDown Card
Photo: WWE

Ever since that big 2016 title win, though, Bálor has suffered woe after woe on the main roster. From the labrum tear in the aftermath of the SummerSlam win – resulting in the vacation of the Universal Championship (which he would never get back) and months of momentum-derailing time away from TV – to the bizarre feud with Bray Wyatt/Bray Wyatt dressed up as Sister Abigail, to then eventually having to put over The Fiend in dominant fashion and to then, in 2021, being humiliated by having to vacate his Universal Championship opportunity to John Cena after being attacked by the then-broken Baron Corbin. For someone as gifted in the ring as Bálor – with so much acclaim in the wrestling industry for not only his NXT work but his time in Japan, which was synonymous for the founding of the BULLET Club – to be so deeply integrated into mid-card obscurity is almost criminal.

Since returning to the WWE main roster in July of this year after yet another successful, title winning stint in NXT, Bálor has been just that: mid-card obscurity. Though initially re-debuting to a hot reception – complete with the more serious, angry persona honed during his second NXT tenure – by attacking Sami Zayn and making his case for a run at the WWE Universal Championship, things very quickly began to go wrong. As mentioned earlier, his title opportunity was robbed by Baron Corbin and though he would eventually get one in a losing effort, it would do him no favors. Being robbed yet again (this time by The Usos), we would be gifted with the return of The Demon King version of Bálor, but even this version of Finn – long dubbed the “final form” – would be no match for the Tribal Chief and would also lose, thus ending Bálor’s title contention.

Soon after, he would be drafted to Monday Night Raw and things would only get worse. Even though he was seen regularly seen as the failed contender for the Universal title on SmackDown, Finn Bálor was still prominently featured as a big named competitor. On Raw, however, he has been relegated to nothingness – his only achievement to date being a semi-final appearance in the King of the Ring Tournament, where he lost to Xavier Woods – now crowned as King Woods. No memorable feuds, nothing of significance and just a flurry of strange, misplaced matches to fill time on the show. A victory over T-BAR, a losing effort (alongside Damien Priest) against The Dirty Dawgs (Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode) and defeats against Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins to further their own feud has been Finn Bálor’s time on Raw over the past couple of months. A profound waste of talent and yet another complete squandering of NXT generated momentum. What WWE’s plans are for the Irishman remain to be seen but if recent memory informs us of one thing, it’s that even they don’t know. We may only hope that Finn Bálor secures one final opportunity to show the main roster that all the potential of the initial 2016 main roster run can be met and though the current run has failed to take off, things can change for the better.

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