Finn Balor’s title reign with the WWE Universal Championship may have been brief, but that doesn’t change its significance for him and WWE programming. Balor was the first man to defeat Seth Rollins in a clean match at WWE Summerslam since Rollins won the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 31, which is a huge indicator that WWE views Finn Balor as a major player.
In less than a month, Balor defeated Cesaro, Rusev, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Kevin Owens in only three matches. Balor would have been the future of Raw’s main event scene for the immediate future. He’ll always go down in history as WWE’s first Universal Champion, but his injury also presented the opportunity of a lifetime to Kevin Owens, who became the second holder of the title on Raw this week in one of the matches of the year.
The fact is that Finn Balor held the WWE Universal Championship for not even a full twenty-four hours, but he made history and changed the course of events on WWE programming. His return to WWE television is going to be a major shot in the arm next year, but the biggest question after his surgery is when Finn Balor will return to WWE?
Recently, Finn Balor made an appearance on Jim Ross’ podcast “The Ross Report” to discuss his WWE Universal Championship win at WWE Summerslam, his injury, the surgery, and the current timetable for his return to WWE programming. When the latter came up, Finn revealed the following to JR about his mentality going into his recovery and the timetable for his return:
“The original diagnosis was 4 to 6 months, but when they found the extra problems in there, they said it was going to be a hard fix now. You know, I can try to shave some extra time off but I’m not going to. If I am ready in 6 months, I’m going to make sure that when the time 6 months is there I am going to be better than ever.”
As Balor said, the original timeline for his recovery would be between four to six months, but he’s expecting it to be at least six months, which would bring him back to WWE in February or March. If that’s the case, he’ll make Wrestlemania 33. However, there are some new reports that are claiming that a torn labrum can sideline an athlete for as much as eight to nine months.
There is some merit to the idea that Finn Balor could potentially miss Wrestlemania 33 in Orlando after the latest reports, but it is still extremely early in his recovery, so a lot can happen over the next six to nine months. Balor seems to be going into his recovery with the mentality of getting one hundred percent healthy before stepping back in the WWE ring, which is great.
Raw has become the “Kevin Owens Show” in light of WWE having to change their creative plans once Balor went down with his injury, but the bright side is WWE officials obviously wanted to push someone new in Raw’s main event scene. Balor was the first man in line for obvious reasons, but Owens is the one who will end up benefiting from Balor’s injury in the short term.
The truth is that six months of WWE programming is a very long time to be away. There is no doubt that Finn Balor has a place on Raw when he returns to WWE television. In his case, his absence will make the heart grow fonder since his injury came at the same time as his coronation as “the next big thing” in WWE. The question is what will WWE television be like in six months?
Six months ago, WWE was on the road to Wrestlemania 32. After all the changes that WWE programming has undergone over the past six months, including the WWE Draft and brand extension. That seems like a lot longer than just six months. The point is that by the time Finn Balor comes back, the WWE product will have undergone a lot more change and setting up scenarios for his return now will provide nothing to the WWE Universe besides false hope.
The hope is that Finn Balor is able to return at WWE Royal Rumble. The Royal Rumble match has a rich history of having WWE Superstars make huge returns from injuries and insert themselves into the main event picture. If Finn were to enter the 2017 Rumble match as the number 20 entrant along with “The Demon King” entrance, he’d be back on top in WWE overnight. Unfortunately, the majority of reports going out as of this writing seem to make that scenario nothing more than a fantasy.
Balor is focused on his recovery, the when, where, and how he returns to WWE programming can be worked out towards the end of 2016. Finn Balor won the top WWE Championship and made history in his first month on WWE’s main roster, but he’s only scratched the surface of what he can accomplish in WWE. Finn Balor is here to stay, everything has just been derailed for a little bit longer than anyone in the WWE Universe or in WWE expected.
[Image via WWE.com]