Finn Balor is the next huge WWE superstar. He was poised to be the current huge WWE superstar, but after during crowning moment last August at Summerslam – where he became the first WWE Universal Champion– he was injured in the process.
'The Demon King' is soon set to return to Raw, just in time for a big match at Wrestlemania 33 on Sunday, 2 April. Before long, he'll have his eyes set on reclaiming the Universal Championship, currently held by Goldberg.
Finn Balor Fact File
Real Name: Fergal Devitt
Date of birth: 25 July 1981
Home town: Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland
Billed Height: 5 ft 11 in
Billed Weight: 86kg
Current theme tune: "Catch Your Breath"- CFO$
Balor's time on Raw was fleeting last summer, so grappling fans didn't get much of a chance to learn much about him. Here's what you need to know.
Who is 'The Demon King' Finn Balor?
Born Fergal Devitt in County Wicklow, Ireland, the man who'd later adopt the name Finn Balor began his career with NWA UK in 2000 at the age of 18.
He wrestled with NWA for the next seven years, starting in sister promotion NWA Ireland in 2002, where he trained current Smackdown star and former Smackdown Women's Champion Becky Lynch.
In 2005 he began branching out to other promotions, competing for Millennium Wrestling Federation where he impressed enough to be invited to train with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW).
In early 2006 he signed a contract with the prestigious puro organisation, debuting against El Samurai in April. In New Japan he largely wrestled under the name Prince Devitt, as he would come to be known right up until his time in WWE.
In his first two years with NJPW he was a member of two factions: the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) and RISE, where he formed a tag team with "Black Prince" Minoru Tanaka. In January 2008, Devitt and Minoru (called Prince Prince in reference to both their ring names) won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.
He would remain a tag team wrestler for the next two years, but had successful runs as a singles competitor in the 2009 Best of the Super Juniors and 2009 Super J-Cup, where he was runner-up on both occasions.
In the 2010 Best of the Super Juniors tournament Devitt finally won a singles tournament, besting Kota Ibushi in the finals to earn a shot at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship – which he won in June.
In January 2011 at Wrestle Kingdom 5 (New Japan's equivalent of Wrestlemania) Devitt successfully defended the title against Kota Ibushi, who would eventually dethrone him in June – ending a 364-day reign.
Skip forward to 3 May 2013, where Devitt aligned himself with Karl Anderson and Tama Tonga in a group that came to be known as Bullet Club. The Club went on to aid Devitt through much of the 2013 Best of the Super Juniors tournament, which he won, beating Alex Shelley in the finals.
Following this tournament win, Devitt challenged and defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi – making him the first wrestler to hold the IWGP Junior Heavyweight and IWGP Heavyweight Championships simultaneously.
In January 2014, Devitt lost the Junior Heavyweight title to Kota Ibushi. More significantly, this was the match in which Devitt first wrestled in full face and body paint. This would become a signature of his.
In April 2014, Devitt challenged rival Ryusuke Taguchi, who defeated him after members of Bullet Club turned on their leader. After the loss, NJPW announced Devitt had left the company. Rumours Devitt had signed with WWE soon started, which were confirmed in July. Competing under the name Finn Balor for the first time, he debuted for developmental brand NXT in September.
By March of the following year, Balor was challenging for the NXT title after winning a tournament. However, he was defeated in this title fight by Kevin Owens on a weekly episode of NXT. On 4 July Balor challenged again at a WWE live event in Tokyo, winning his first NXT title. In August, while champion, Finn entered the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament with Samoa Joe.
The pair won the tournament, but soon after Joe turned on him, igniting a feud. Retaining the title in London and later Dallas, Balor became the longest-reigning NXT champion ever before losing the title to Joe at a non-televised event. At NXT TakeOver: The End, Samoa Joe retained the title – becoming the first person to defeat Balor in his "Demon King" make-up.
What are Finn Balor's career highlights?
- Six-time IWGP Junior Tag Team Champion.
- First wrestler to hold the IWGP Junior Heavyweight and IWGP Heavyweight Championships simultaneously.
- Two-time Best of the Super Juniors tournament winner (2010, 2013).
- Current longest-reigning NXT Champion.
- First ever WWE Universal Champion.
Balor's final NXT match took place on 30 July 2016, where he and Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Bobby Roode and Samoa Joe. Shortly before that match, Balor was named in the first round of the post-brand split WWE Draft, joining Monday Night Raw.
After the brand split, Raw was in need of a title, so the WWE Universal Championship was created and a tournament set up to determine the challenger. Balor won the tournament, defeating Rusev, Cesaro and Kevin Owens in a Fatal Four-Way, then Roman Reigns in the final.
At SummerSlam in August he took on former WWE Champion Seth Rollins, winning the match to become the first Universal Champion. However, in the match Balor injured his shoulder. The injury required surgery so he was forced to relinquish the title and take time off to recover.
It's now March, and Balor is set to soon make his return to Raw, just in time for Wrestlemania.
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