As seen on Monday Night Raw this week, the ordinary man who does extraordinary things earned the bout he’s been dreaming of for nearly two years: a match against Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship. Finn Bálor is no stranger to the Universal Title being the first WWE superstar to hold the strap, but he’s struggled to regain any real traction in WWE since vacating Raw’s top title the night after SummerSlam 2016 due to injury. Now Bálor is back in championship contention, is the “Demon” finally getting the push fate cruelly snatched from him back in 2016?
Towards the end of 2018, rumours hit the internet saying Vince McMahon was going to give Finn Bálor a big push at some point in 2019. Wrestling fans around the world dismissed these claims, declaring they’d believe it when they see it. Turns out we’re starting to see it but has anyone started believing it yet? According to Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the plan was always to have Finn Bálor face Brock Lesnar even though Lesnar’s advertised opponent for the Royal Rumble event has been Braun Strowman for nearly a month. In Meltzer’s own words, he said:
“A major angle is expected to be shot… that will change one of the main events at the Royal Rumble show… It will be reported that it is due to an injury by others. It is not. It was always the plan.”
Braun Strowman had been the No.1 contender to the Universal Title since winning a TLC match against Baron Corbin during WWE’s TLC event in December 2018, but a legitimate arm injury that required surgery has seen the “Monster Among Men” work a schedule befitting someone who isn’t at 100%. According to Strowman’s promo on Monday’s Raw, he is cleared to compete. Taking into account the words of both Dave Meltzer and Braun Strowman, it’s becoming more likely the reports surrounding Vince McMahon’s desire to push Finn Bálor weren’t just the hopeful wishes of the Bálor Club’s most loyal members.
To win a shot at Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship, Finn Bálor had to state his case to Vince McMahon before pulling double duty on Raw in a singles match against Jinder Mahal and then in a fatal four way bout against Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre and John Cena. Bálor picked up the victory in both matches with pinfalls on Mahal and John Cena (which is surprising in of itself as Corbin is usually the fall guy in multi-man bouts). In an attempt to give the “Demon” even more credibility going into the Royal Rumble event, Cena took to the mic to tell everyone Finn Bálor truly is the next top guy in WWE.
All the evidence is pointing towards the Irish superstar finally being seen for the incredible wrestler he is. Vince McMahon has already said change is coming to WWE with the fans becoming The Authority, and this looks like things are taking a step the right direction. What’s more, Vinny Mac has shown a greater appreciation for the smaller guys on his roster as of late with Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles fighting for the WWE Championship on SmackDown and with Mustafa Ali’s ascension to the blue brand from 205 Live. If there was ever a time to believe Finn Bálor is getting a main event push in WWE, it’d be right now.
What do you think of Finn Bálor’s shift to the main event? Is this the start of something big in WWE or is it simply Vince McMahon’s plan to placate the more vocal members of the WWE Universe for a short while?