They say a change of scenery can help give you a boost. By mixing things up, it can be a huge motivating factor. That has never felt truer when you look at what Finn Balor has done since returning to NXT.
The first-ever WWE Universal Champion recently defended the NXT Championship against Pete Dunne. It was a technical affair that saw neither competitor exit the ring. The two put on a masterful performance, which isn’t new when it comes to Balor. At one point, he was stuck, and now, he is untouchable. The Prince is truly back and better than ever.
During Balor’s initial run in NXT from 2014-2016, he was the guy. A leader, as NXT Champion he elevated the title. Balor’s first feud back on the black and gold brand was with Matt Riddle. Their battle showed that he was fully committed to his change of scenery. Over time, Balor smiled less, and he performed moves that felt fresh. It has been quite a scene to see his character develop, even if there isn’t much of a change.
Speaking to Bleacher Report, Balor ended up discussing the plan to move back to NXT, and what it meant to him.
“The initial thought process was we’ll go to NXT, see how it works out, and it might be three months, it might be six months, there’s no real plan,” Balor stated. “I know there’s been discussion back and forth a couple of times about whether I should go back to Raw or SmackDown, but for me, I’m very happy in NXT and I’m willing to give my heart and soul in NXT as long as there’s a position there for me.”
“Nothing’s been concrete and there’s been no set time frame on anything. It was more like, ‘Finn, would you like to be a part of NXT?’ ‘Absolutely.’ NXT is a part of me and I want to be there. As long as there’s a position there for me, I’m very grateful for it.”
Balor would then face Johnny Gargano in another classic, which has become routine for the latter at TakeOver’s. While he lost a bout to NXT Champion Adam Cole for the title, Balor didn’t lose any momentum from it. After all, initially, we didn’t know what kind of Balor we would get. He then brought himself back up by beating Cameron Grimes, Damian Priest, and Timothy Thatcher. Balor’s promos were short and sweet and the matches kept on getting better.
When the NXT Title became vacant, Balor and Cole fought one more time for it. Balor used his drive to compete to win the title for a second time and hasn’t looked back.
Now holding gold once again, Balor would face Kyle O’Reilly in a match many considered Match of the Year. It was as much of a throwback as one would expect from the two. Balor came out of the fight with a broken jaw, but that is the price of war.
We really should be thanking “The Fiend” for this rejuvenated version of Balor, as he beat Balor at SummerSlam in decisive fashion. Like most that have faced Bray Wyatt’s twisted character, Balor innovated how we see him. He came across as Prince Devitt-like, embracing the darkness.
It is unknown how long he will be with NXT, or what is next for him post-title, whenever that is. With a talented pool of stars and nothing but time, Balor has the world in the palm of his hands. For now, all we can do is admire the art that Balor has and will continue to make.