When Finn Balor made his return to NXT last year, big things were expected out of him. He was a popular superstar on RAW and SmackDown with fans always on his side. Despite an upward trajectory, Balor always remained in the mid-card. He took a break in mid-2019 and his return surprised everyone. He left from SmackDown and returned at NXT.
It did not take long for Balor to embrace his new personality as for the first time in his WWE career, he turned heel as he attacked Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. He continued to fight several superstars in the NXT as fans hoped for another championship run. But as it is said- cream always rises to the top.
Balor won the NXT championship less than a year after his return by beating Adam Cole last week. It showed that Balor was again the face of the NXT and someone who will head the brand in its ratings fight against AEW. In an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times, Balor talked about his NXT title win, Bullet Club reunion, and Triple H’s influence on his WWE career.
Finn how special was it to win the NXT title back only a year after making your comeback to the brand?
It was a big night. I returned to NXT 10 months ago. I had said my future will be my past. And that’s what I did. You never know what to expect in pro-wrestling. Originally I wasn’t expecting to return to NXT at all. Eventually, the opportunity arose and I jumped on it. NXt has some of the best wrestlers in the world like Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Adam Cole, all these guys are proven NXT stars and I wanted to prove myself against them. This opportunity to become champion arose at the last minute due to Karrion Kross’s injury. We had the Ironman match and then the sudden death. I have to say Adam Cole is one of the best wrestlers I have ever been in the ring with in 20 years.
Your match with Adam Cole was hard-hitting and one of the best in recent times. You have had several great matches in the past also. If you had to pick your best three matches in WWE then what will those be?
I like to challenge myself against different styles and different techniques. I really enjoyed my match with Brock Lesnar. I was looking to get in the ring with him for a long time. It had the big-match feel. I also enjoyed my matches with Samoa Joe. I feel I learned a lot from him. I was very much a technical wrestler before I met Joe. He brought out a different side of me. With Joe, it’s pretty much a fight. Another one would be unexpected but I really like the Takeover match with Timothy Thatcher. He is one someone who is absolutely incredible. Being in the ring with him really pushed me to my limits
What is the role that Triple H has played in your WWE career? NXT He has always seen you as a top superstar and you were one of the first major stars to be brought back to NXT last year.
He has been instrumental in a lot of people’s careers. He is a great motivator. Backstage people want to perform for Triple H, they want to perform and make him proud. The way he has the confidence of the lockerroom is something I feel makes NXT different. On a personal level, I have had a great working relationship with him. When the opportunity came from Triple H to come to NXT, I jumped on it. Sometimes we have a good relationship and sometimes like anything else we don’t see eye to eye on many things. As long as I am there in the ring, I’ll go out there and perform every night.
AJ Styles took note of the ‘too sweet’ moment with Adam Cole. All are former club members. Do you see a reunion in the foreseeable future? Something the fans have been clamouring for some time.
It is something that people have been talking about for almost 6 years. I feel like all the pieces haven’t been in place yet. You need that perfect moment. It wasn’t right for AJ at the time, wasn’t right for me or Adam at the time. But there will come a point in time all the stars align where we would able to get a club moment with me AJ and Adam included.
One of the criticisms that WWE has faced is the workload of main roster superstars. Working for more than 200 days in a year with extensive travel takes a load on the body. You also commented recently that you wanted to rejuvenate yourself when you took a break. Do you feel an off-season would be a good idea for WWE wrestlers?
It’s something that has been spoken off a lot among wrestlers. For me personally, an off-season is something I wouldn’t want. As performers, we are very very selfish and addicted to being in the ring. Addicted to proving that we are the best in the world. If that opportunity is taken away from us with an off-season, then there is going to be a lot of upset talent. Obviously, there comes a point in someone’s career where they need a break and focus on themselves for a while and not what they are doing in the ring. I was 19 years wrestling non-stop when I reached that threshold. I definitely don’t need an off-season every year.
Survivor Series is the next big PPV coming up where all WWE superstars come under a single roof. Is there someone you would specifically want to face from either brand? Maybe rekindle the rivalry with ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt?
There’s a lot of people I would like to face. Before he got injured I would have loved to step in the ring with Edge. If he gets healthy and fit that would be a match I would love to face. Randy Orton is also someone I would love to challenge myself with. Bray Wyatt or ‘The Fiend’ also. We have a lot of history and that’s something we need to revisit. The big one for me would Drew McIntyre. We have got a lot of history together from the independent level, both NXT champions had rivalries on Raw and Smackdown. He is someone I would love to get in therewith.
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