After WWE began the brand extension back in July, they announced that they would be adding a second world title, which they called the Universal Championship, and instead of showing off the new belt as soon as they announced it was coming, they decided to keep it a mystery for several weeks.
In his WWE main roster debut, Finn Balor earned the right to wrestle Seth Rollins at SummerSlam, in a match that would decide the company’s first ever Universal Champion. It was a match that wrestling fans had wanted to see for several years, and they were finally getting it at WWE’s biggest event of the summer. However, the match was almost ruined by what came beforehand.
Shortly before Balor and Rollins entered the ring, Raw general manager Mick Foley joined Stephanie McMahon in the ring, as they were going to reveal the new Universal Championship belt, and they couldn’t have expected the reaction they got from the live crowd in Brooklyn, New York.
As soon as Foley and Stephanie pulled the protective black sheet off of the new championship belt, the live crowd erupted, but not in a positive way, as they booed as loud as they possibly could. The booing continued throughout the match, and the crowd even began a “THIS BELT SUCKS!” chant during a point in the match where Balor had the upper hand.
In a recent interview with Sirius XM’s Sam Roberts, Finn Balor talked about his experience in the Universal Championship match at SummerSlam, and he talked about the fans’ reaction to the new championship belt.
“When the crowd was saying, I think, ‘THAT BELT SUCKS!’ I was working over Seth and I thought they were saying ‘BALOR SUCKS!’ So, I was like, ‘they turned on me fast.’ I knew they were booing the belt, but I thought most of it was aimed at me.”
Of course, none of the hatred was aimed at Balor, and the booing of the Universal Championship continued the next night on Raw, when The Demon King was forced to relinquish the title because of an injury he suffered in his match with Seth Rollins.
The WWE fans haven’t booed the Universal Championship belt since Balor relinquished it, so they may have accepted the fact that it’s going to be Raw‘s main title, no matter what. However, for one night in Brooklyn, the fans in attendance expressed their discontent with the big red belt.
The question that’s on everyone’s mind now is when Finn Balor will make his return to WWE? When he was injured, the original prognosis for his return was six to eight months, which, if he was able to recover on schedule, would mean that he’d return shortly before WrestleMania 33 in April.
In the very same interview with Sam Roberts, Balor said that his target date for his return is WrestleMania 33, but he’s hoping to return sooner than that, as he hinted that he might be ready to go in time for the Royal Rumble on January 29.
It’s hard to predict where Balor will be on the WrestleMania 33 card if he’s able to return in time for the event. All the top stars on Raw seem to be heading in directions that won’t involve The Demon King, as Kevin Owens will likely face Chris Jericho, Seth Rollins will likely face Triple H, and, believe it or not, Roman Reigns will likely face Braun Strowman at WWE’s biggest event of the year. So, unless something changes, it doesn’t look like the first ever Universal Champion will be in one of the top matches next spring.
[Featured Image by WWE]