Finn Balor hit the injured reserve as WWE Universal Champion and he’s looking to complete his nearly year-long journey of recovery by holding gold once more.
The former Prince Devitt appeared on The Miz’s WWE’s talk show, MizTV, during the preshow of WWE Payback. The Miz berated Balor during the segment, making fun of the injury he suffered at SummerSlam last year and calling him a “failure.” Miz also mocked Balor’s “Balor Club” and mockingly asked if he and his wife, Maryse, could join.
However, Balor diverted his attention to the WWE Universal Champion, telling the Miz that he is looking to reclaim the title he never lost. Miz then mentioned who the current titleholder is, the man who defeated Goldberg at WrestleMania 33, Brock Lesnar. He said Lesnar would snap Balor “in two” and that even he could beat him up. This prompted Balor to react accordingly, as despite trying to leave peacefully, Miz’s words earned him a sling blade and dropkick from the former NXT and WWE Universal champion.
It appears that WWE is setting up some type of feud between Miz and Balor, possibly a stopgap until Balor faces Lesnar — or whoever is the titleholder — for the WWE Universal Championship. It has not been an easy road for Balor, who missed upwards of seven months due to severe shoulder surgery.
— WWE (@WWE) April 30, 2017
Balor explained to ESPN after his return on the post-WrestleMania 33 RAW that he did not know how his body would react to being in the ring, but he’s prepared for it.
“I don’t think you ever know,” said Balor. “It’s one of those things that I won’t know when I’m ready until I’m actually in the ring and doing it in front of people live. You can kind of run drills and practice, rehab behind closed doors as much as you can, but there’s nothing that simulates being in front of a live audience with live TV cameras. The injury was very fitting on my career … like it was meant to be. It gave me something to overcome again. There was always an obstacle in the way, this was just another one. The challenge has been as much mental as it was physical. I feel now like I’ve come back not only physically stronger, but mentally as well.”
In a separate interview with ESPN in December, Balor had made similar remarks, nothing that he was trying to prepare himself mentally, as well as physically.
“I’ve been wrestling full-time for 10 years. It’s unfortunate. I wish it didn’t happen. But it has, and you can’t change the past. You’ve gotta make a positive out of the negative, and I think I’ve learned a lot about myself in the last couple of months, about what I value,” he said. “I’m gonna come back a lot more rounded and focused than I was before. I’m excited about the Finn Balor that’s going to come back, as opposed to the Finn Balor that I left behind.”
— WWE Network (@WWENetwork) April 30, 2017
Balor spent most of those aforementioned seven months in Birmingham, Alabama, undergoing a grueling rehab schedule, which he explained to Sam Roberts for an edition of Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast.
“Six hours of rehab every day. Three in the morning, yeah, three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon,” he said. “And the guys down in Birmingham, Alabama have been incredible. I’ve been working out with them everyday.”
With Lesnar scheduled to make limited appearances as champion, Balor will have to utilize the same patience he did in rehab before he gets an opportunity to seize the gold.
[Featured Image by WWE]