It has been almost a year since Finn Balor was a top draft pick for Monday Night Raw in the original brand split. The former NXT Champion showed up on Raw and made a huge name for himself. He beat Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins in single's matches and became the first Monday Night Raw WWE Universal Champion. He also tore his labrum in that match and missed the next eight months of action.
On Monday Night Raw this week, Finn Balor was put into a three-way match against Samoa Joe and Bray Wyatt, the two heels that are in the five-way he will compete in this Sunday at Extreme Rules. The winner of that match on Sunday will get a shot at Brock Lesnar at Great Balls of Fire for the WWE Universal Championship - a title that Finn Balor never lost.
Bray Wyatt has been a world champion and he actually fought The Undertaker at WrestleMania 32. Samoa Joe vs. Brock Lesnar is a dream match for many who love hard hitting action and while WWE fans might not appreciate it, this is a match that could be a slobber knocker, to steal one from Jin Ross.
Roman Reigns beat The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33 this year and met Brock Lesnar in a match at WrestleMania 31. There is also the fact that the WWE plans on having Roman Reigns battle Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 34.
Seth Rollins won the WWE World Championship from Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31, although it was in a match where he cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase and pinned Roman Reigns to win the match and the title. With that said, arguments could be made for Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, and on one level, Samoa Joe to be a legitimate contender to Brock Lesnar.
That brings up the problem. The WWE wants Finn Balor to be seen as a legitimate contender to Brock Lesnar and plans on having the two fight between now and WrestleMania 34. That brought up the moment last week when Paul Heyman came out to the ring and spoke to Finn Balor.
Last week on Monday Night Raw, Samoa Joe and Bray Wyatt battled Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns while Finn Balor sat on the sidelines and watched his opponents for Extreme Rules. Samoa Joe won the match when Roman Reigns accidentally hit Seth Rollins and Samoa Joe locked in the clutch to win the match.
Finn Balor was made to look like an afterthought on Monday Night Raw and demanded a match this week. Before that could happen, Paul Heyman told Finn Balor that he saw him as the man that he thought was most likely to win at Extreme Rules and he thought Finn Balor could give Brock Lesnar the best match.
Some could consider this Paul Heyman messing with Finn Balor but Heyman rarely lies when telling a superstar they are talented and deserving a shot. With Paul Heyman putting over Finn Balor huge in the promo, it was clear that the WWE wants fans to understand that size and former success on the main roster doesn't mean much when a person is as talented as Finn Balor.
That lead to this week's Monday Night Raw where Finn Balor took on Samoa Joe and Bray Wyatt, a battle that had all three men fighting each other but Finn Balor being the only face in the match making it a disadvantage for him. Finn Balor was also the smallest wrestler in the match and held his own, at one point taking the offense to both big men at the same time.
For the second week in a row, Samoa Joe won the match but the way he won is telling. Finn Balor held his own against two bigger heels and he hit Bray Wyatt with the Coup de Grace only to have Samoa Joe toss him and pin Wyatt. Finn Balor hit the winning move and Joe stole the pin.
This Sunday, five men will fight at Extreme Rules for a shot at Brock Lesnar at Great Balls of Fire. Three of the men are former world champions and one has won two weeks in a row in matches between the five men. However, Finn Balor is the smallest of the five but the WWE is doing everything it can to make him look like one of the biggest stars in the company right now.
[Featured Image by WWE]