Unlike many of his peers such as Tyler Breeze, Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin and Sami Zayn, Finn Balor served an immediate purpose upon his promotion to WWE’s main roster. You could argue that he was most deserving, because, after all, his call-up was long overdue when it finally came this past July.
Balor’s debut may be one of the most memorable of all time. Just six days after the brand extension draft, and his first night on RAW, Finn won a fatal four-way qualifying match and then followed that up by defeating Roman Reigns clean in the main event to advance to SummerSlam to face Seth Rollins for the newly created WWE Universal Championship. There aren’t many other superstars who can claim to such accomplishments on their first night on the job.
Balor, of course, would go on to win the match against Rollins to become the first ever Universal champ, but that honor came with a price. Finn suffered a devastating shoulder injury early on during the bout and was forced to relinquish his title less than 24 hours later on RAW.
The WWE creative staff had already mapped out Balor’s next two months on top. He was slated to defend his title against Kevin Owens on RAW‘s first brand-exclusive pay-per-view in September, Clash Of Champions, and follow that up with a triple threat encounter at Hell In A Cell along with Owens and Chris Jericho. In fact, the plan was to keep the belt around Finn Balor’s waist for an extended period of time, likely though the end of 2016 and perhaps as far as the Royal Rumble. But that’s all moot now.
Roughly a week after he suffered the injury, Balor appeared on The Ross Report, Jim Ross’ podcast to update everyone on the extent of the injury, the diagnosis and when he expected to be back in the ring.
“The original diagnosis was four to six 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 before six months, I’m going to make sure that when the time comes I am going to be better than ever.”
Two weeks after that, Finn granted WWE.com an exclusive update to which he reiterated the time table and stressed that he hoped he’d be back in time for WrestleMania season. Secretly, WWE officials were hoping that he’d be back sooner than that.
Management was holding out hope that Balor would return as a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble and had been saving a spot just for him. Now, however, that doesn’t appear likely, as reported by Sportskeeda. Initially, the short end of the diagnosis could have had Finn back in a WWE ring by the end of December, but if he were out the full six months, that meant sometime in Feburary.
Not only was a spot being reserved in the Rumble for Balor, but he was considered to be on the short list of potential winners as well. It’s been noted that WWE officials are doing everything they can to stack the event due to the size of the venue and the anniversary. They have been courting legends, and fellow Texas residents, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker, and Balor’s presence would only have added even more star-power.
Because Finn was likely slotted to enter the Royal Rumble pay-per-view as the Universal Champion, initial plans wouldn’t have seen him win it. His injury certainly shuffled the deck quite a bit, but the winner of the Rumble shouldn’t have been affected. It will be interesting to see where he’s placed when he does come back, but unless a miracle occurs in his recovery, don’t expect The Demon King back before February.
[Featured Image by WWE]