Finn Bálor, the first ever WWE Universal Champion, has been out of action since the day after winning his maiden WWE title. The Irishman suffered a shoulder injury in the championship match and has been working to get back to full health since August.
But it seems the return of The Demon might be only a few weeks away, with Bálor refusing to dismiss rumors that he will make an unannounced return at WWE Royal Rumble 2017 in January.
Though Finn Bálor noted that he is still on target for his projected return to action in time for WrestleMania 33 in April, plenty of wrestlers have gone back to the ring before the doctors initially believed they'd be ready.In an interview with ESPN to promote the WWE United Kingdom Championship tournament, Bálor dropped some hints that fans shouldn't be completely surprised if he turns up in the annual 30-man battle royal to determine who has the right to face the top champion on either Raw or SmackDown at WrestleMania 33.
"You know, that's obviously a huge rumor, and I would never be one to fuel the rumor mills. But to be a surprise entrant in the Rumble would be a huge moment for me. I'm sure it would create quite a buzz."Naturally, Finn Bálor said this with a smile and the suggestion of a wink.
"But right now, with the condition my shoulder is in, I'm not willing to risk sustaining any more long-term injury, just for the sake of two or three weeks. Since I got hurt, it was six months [out]. The target was to be back for WrestleMania. Everything's on plan, everything's on schedule."Finn Bálor did suggest he might appear in the Royal Rumble match if Vince McMahon asked him on the day of the show if he had his wrestling attire with him. However, he claimed that he would not want to risk anything "unless I'm 100 percent confident that this [his shoulder] is 100 percent."
Bálor has a history of trolling fans with his teases. Towards the end of his hugely successful run in NXT, Finn Bálor constantly suggested to fans that he was about to imminently make the leap to the main roster. That finally happened in July, when he was the third pick and fifth overall in the WWE brand draft for Raw.
Finn Bálor injured his shoulder during the match in which he won his WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam 2016. Towards the end of the contest, his opponent Seth Rollins delivered a running toss powerbomb into the barricade, which dislodged Bálor's shoulder.
Bálor was able to pop his shoulder back into place, finishing the match and making history as the first titleholder, but it soon became evident that he would require surgery and so relinquished his championship the next night on Raw, ending his title reign at just one day.Logic dictates that Finn Bálor will look to leap straight back into the championship picture when he returns. He and current WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens have had their wars in the past over the NXT Championship, but there's no guarantee that Owens will still be champion when Bálor returns.
It's ultimately a little unlikely that Bálor will reemerge at Royal Rumble, especially since Chris Jericho, Owens' on-screen best friend, is rumored to win the match and challenge for the Universal Championship, continuing the storyline between the pair. Were that the case, it seems strange WWE would use up Bálor's impactful return in a big match he won't win, especially since he's undefeated on the main roster thus far.
However, when Finn Bálor does actually reappear, the popular wrestler should inject a little more life into Raw's main event scene.
[Featured Image by WWE]