The day of SummerSlam, Vince McMahon made up his mind that Finn Balor was getting the full, straight-to-the-moon, monster push by becoming the inaugural WWE Universal Champion. Vince, Triple H and other top WWE officials are still extremely high on Seth Rollins, which is why it was a difficult decision deciding who would become the first to wear the new belt.
In the end, Vince went all-in with Finn Balor and the Demon King, and also decided during the day Sunday that Balor and Rollins would be afforded ample time to tell their story in what was the 11th match of the night, out of 13. The Balor-Rollins showdown lasted nearly 20 minutes, second only on the card to the classic that was AJ Styles and John Cena, who wrestled for more than 23 minutes.
The Barclays Center crowd came back to life after nearly falling asleep during the Dean Ambrose Dolph Ziggler bout and the multi-woman tag match that preceded Balor and Rollins. Finn’s theatrical entrance, the match itself and the championship coronation were highlights on a show that exceeded six hours, an immense amount of time for any crowd to stay invested throughout an entire show.
However, despite having the opportunity to celebrate with his family sitting in the front row, things weren’t all smooth-sailing for Finn Balor. According to Daily Wrestling News, Balor was injured during his match with Rollins and was seen wearing a sling on his right arm after the pay-per-view. The feeling backstage is that the injury may even be so severe that it could require surgery, derailing Balor’s momentum right in its tracks.
It should be noted that Balor (and new WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte) appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America Monday morning the day after SummerSlam, and was not sporting the sling. Finn is scheduled to visit with doctors Monday to further determine the extent of the injury, but the sling was likely kept off to diffuse any speculation from the WWE Universe. A decision will have to be made, however, and that decision could come as early as today (Monday), even before RAW goes on the air.
It is not known at this time what caused Finn Balor’s injury, if anything specifically. Rollins did execute a Triangle Lock submission hold and a small package driver, but it’s purely speculative as to whether or not those moves were directly responsible for the injury to Balor’s right arm.
In all likelihood, WWE officials were planning on continuing the Balor Rollins rivalry for at least another month, with the rematch set for the first RAW-exclusive pay-per-view of the new brand extension era, Clash of Champions. That show is more than a month away, but without knowing the extent of the damage, it’s difficult to predict whether that’s enough time to recover while still appearing for the build to that event.
Wellness Policy violations have been the most recent thorn in the side of WWE management, with suspensions being handed down to Alberto Del Rio, Paige, and Eva Marie last week, as well as Roman Reigns back in July. But the latter part of 2015 and beginning of 2016, injuries were the company’s primary problem. The WWE was without top stars like John Cena, Seth Rollins, Sting, Randy Orton, Cesaro and Bray Wyatt at one point or another, with none of those mentioned above able to wrestle an advertised match at the biggest WrestleMania of all time.
Finn Balor was viewed as the crown jewel of NXT, so the promotion was ill-equipped to lose him to the main roster even though the WWE was in dire need of suitable reinforcements. And now, less than a month into his tenure in the big leagues, Balor suffers an injury during the match designed to elevate him to the premier position in the company. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.
[Image via WWE]