The champ is here: Finn Bálor is back

Irish-born Finn Bálor is the WWE NXT champion and he’s not planning to give up his title any time soon

Finn Bálor knows how to put on a show in the WWE NXT ring. He’s a veteran of the brand extension, and has reclaimed the championship gold after a 4-year wait. “It’s a long time, but by other accounts, it’s not long,” says the Irish wrestler (whose real name is Fergal Devitt). “Some wrestlers go a lot longer waiting for their chance at the championship belt. I am fortunate that I earned the title shot, and I wasn’t going to ignore the opportunity. I am the NXT champion and I am here to stay!”


Whether he’s strutting to the ring in his leather jacket or dressed in Gaelic warpaint as the “demon king” Bálor, one thing is for sure when Finn steps over the NXT ropes: it’s business time!


Nothing to prove

The 39-year-old wrestler has been in the business for over 20 years, and while he’s still able to perform every move with pinpoint accuracy, like fellow WWE Superstar Randy Orton, Finn says that he’s not doing anything silly in the ring. “I have nothing to prove. I’ve worn championship gold. I am wearing championship gold. I am going out there to put on a show and beat my opponents. I am direct and get the job done.”

Injuries in the WWE are common, because while the theatrics are scripted, the wrestlers really are flying through the air and putting themselves through physical stress and trauma. And while there’s always a moment of doubt performing a move that they were injured performing previously, Finn says that it’s part of the business. “Some wrestlers need a few months before they can attempt the move again, some need a few weeks. It’s a psychological hurdle that affects everyone differently. When you’re ready to do a moonsault, for example, you’ll know. I have injured myself before with elaborate manoeuvres and with basic manoeuvres in the ring. It affects you differently from the next guy and you take it in your stride.”


Fan of the nation

While the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down international travel, Finn can’t wait to hit the road again with the WWE when it finally goes on global tours. And he has one specific destination he’d love to visit again – South Africa. “Yeah man, we were there I think two or three years ago. It’s a lovely country, lovely scenery and amazing fans! We did two consecutive nights in Cape Town, and it was absolutely wonderful. The fans really do make a huge difference, especially for the live shows.”

Finn is realistic, though, admitting it will be a while before tours are planned, given how intricate they can be. But for now, he’s happy to be back in the ring. “We were forced to shut down for a while, the whole world was. It’s a very different place to what we’re used to because of the pandemic, and it’s not going away anytime soon. We are so appreciative of the support we get from our fans in the WWE Universe, they make us what we are. They give us that extra boost, and we have missed them ringside at live events.”


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