An errant running powerbomb on the barricade at SummerSlam caused Finn Balor to tear the labrum in his right shoulder, and he relinquished the title he won minutes after the injury on Monday Night RAW. It was a huge blow to both Balor and the WWE, as the company had invested a lot in “The Demon King” being the inaugural WWE Universal Champion.
It also put a wrench in the company’s future pay-per-view plans, as Balor was set to defend the championship in at least the first two exclusive RAW pay-per-views, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via Wrestling Inc). Balor’s first title defense was scheduled to be against Kevin Owens at Clash of Champions on September 25 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
— Finn Bálor (@FinnBalor) August 24, 2016
While WON’s report doesn’t mention specifics, the ending of that match would have set up a triple threat bout for the following pay-per-view, Hell in a Cell, involving Balor, Owens, and Chris Jericho. It was recently reported that prior to Balor winning the title, his first feud on the main roster was scheduled to be against Jericho. However, WWE was interested in pushing Balor to a more prominent position from the start.
Jericho confirmed on his Talk is Jericho podcast that he was scheduled to face Balor upon his main roster arrival. He also gave his take on the former NXT Champion, calling him a “genuine and humble” guy. The former six-time WWE champion also offered a positive outlook for Balor’s return — hopefully by Wrestlemania season.
“He’s got it all,” Jericho said. “He didn’t lose the title. He has this amazing new character that we don’t know anything about and then he goes out for six months with an injury.”
WWE caught up with Balor moments after he relinquished the championship, and he called the last few days “a whirlwind.”
“I knew when the accident happened that it was a serious injury, I felt my shoulder dislocate; instinctively I pulled [and] it reset,” Balor said while mentioning that he got no sleep the following night preparing for his Good Morning America appearance. “It might have came out one more time during the match, I’m not sure.”
Balor said that he was making his GMA appearance and felt sorry for himself until he bumped into a young man without an arm. That put everything into perspective because he realized that, in six to seven months, his arm will be back at full strength while the young man will live without an arm the rest of his life.
— WWE (@WWE) August 24, 2016
Balor underwent surgery on Tuesday and WWE.com revealed that the injury was worse than initially thought.
Finn’s injury was pretty severe, more severe than normal. A really high energy injury, it did more damage than a standard shoulder dislocation where you simply tear the labrum. The prognosis is excellent, however. We were able to fix it all and put it back where it came from. I’m anticipating him getting back at full speed.
In the meantime, the WWE is poised to crown a new WWE Universal champion on next week’s episode of RAW. An eight-man tournament dwindled down to four finalists; Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Big Cass, and Kevin Owens will fight in a fatal four-way match to crown the second ever Universal champion.
However, the man who captures the championship may be a mere placeholder as Balor has indicated his intention to reclaim the title he never lost upon his return in half a year.
[Photo by WWE]