Finn Balor was last seen on WWE television back in August, where he was forced to relinquish the Universal Championship less than 24 hours after winning it. Then, about a week later, he underwent shoulder surgery, and the original prognosis for his return was six months. But during a recent interview with ESPN, Balor hinted that he might be a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble match on January 29.
If Balor does return at the Royal Rumble, he’ll be returning to action two months ahead of schedule. WWE superstars returning from injury earlier than expected isn’t a rare thing, but, according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, we won’t see The Demon King return ahead of schedule.
On the latest edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, Meltzer tackled the “Balor at the Royal Rumble” issue by saying the following.
“I had heard early-March. A lot of people when I say that go ‘they always lie,’ and usually when you’re given a date on when a guy is gonna come back in WWE, it’s usually early. The only thing is everyone remembers John Cena, because John Cena’s a freak and everything like that. John Cena always comes back early, but if they say a guy is gonna be out for like five months, it’s usually six or seven. It’s almost always longer, and I’m not saying this will be, but we’ll see. I just know the last thing he said was early-March.”
When Finn Balor relinquished the Universal Championship, WWE teased a future match between The Demon King and Seth Rollins. But now that Rollins is a babyface, and he’s scheduled to begin a feud with Triple H at anytime, it doesn’t look like we’ll see the two of them fight anytime soon.
If Balor does make his triumphant return on January 29, he’ll likely win the Royal Rumble, and go on to face either Kevin Owens or Roman Reigns for the title that he never lost. As of right now though, Balor is not listed as the favorite in the latest Royal Rumble odds, as Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe are the top two favorites to win WWE’s annual 30-man match.
Not too long ago, Balor told Sirius XM’s Sam Roberts that his target return date is WrestleMania, and it does look like he’ll be back in action in time for WWE’s biggest show of the year.
As of this writing, WWE has three matches for WrestleMania booked: Shaquille O’Neal vs. Big Show, Triple H vs. Seth Rollins, and Brock Lesnar vs. Bill Goldberg, which is reportedly going to be the show’s main event. Everything else appears to be up in the air, so it’s a little difficult to predict who Balor will be in the ring with on April 2.
If Balor doesn’t return at the Royal Rumble, WWE fans will probably still be happy if all of the rumored surprise entrants — Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, and Kenny Omega — show up. Of course, Omega probably won’t be able to participate in the Rumble match because his contract with New Japan Pro Wrestling doesn’t expire until two days after the event, so unless WWE is able to work something out with NJPW, we won’t see Omega on January 29.
Unless something goes horribly wrong during his recovery, we’ll see Finn Balor within the next month or two. It’ll be interesting to see exactly how they bring him back, and who they put him in the ring with at WrestleMania 33, because at the moment, there aren’t any obvious opponents for him.
The 2017 Royal Rumble has the potential to be one of the best, and one of the most newsworthy shows in WWE history, even if Balor doesn’t end up returning. But the event will be significantly more memorable if he does.
[Featured Image by WWE]