It appears that Finn Balor is all set to take time off from WWE following his loss to “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt on Sunday night at SummerSlam. However, reports suggest that the erstwhile SmackDown Live performer might have hinted at what fans could expect when he returns from his supposed hiatus – his first-ever heel turn on the main roster as he joins his former New Japan Pro Wrestling colleagues in the faction known as The OC.
According to WrestlingNews.co, the possible tease of a heel turn took place during the SummerSlam kickoff show, as Balor was talking about his then-upcoming match against Wyatt. This segment, as noted, will feature OC members AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows stepping in and offering their assistance to Balor if he needs it.
While Balor did not verbally accept or reject The OC’s offer onscreen, WrestingNews.co observed that the former WWE Intercontinental Champion was “looking into the distance with a conflicted look on his face.” Meanwhile, The OC was nowhere to be seen when Balor faced off against “The Fiend” later that night and was quickly defeated by Wyatt’s sinister new character.
Rumors of Finn Balor’s plans to go on hiatus first swirled in July when Pro Wrestling Sheet reported that the Irishman asked WWE officials for a two-month break away from the ring. At that time, it wasn’t clear why Balor needed the rest, but the outlet cited an unnamed source who said the SmackDown Live star was simply looking to “recharge.” It was also noted that the break would likely start “sometime in August” and possibly at some point after SummerSlam.
Shortly after the aforementioned report was published, Balor kicked off his most recent feud heading into SummerSlam. Per Newsweek, this started when Bray Wyatt, while dressed as “The Fiend,” hit the ring to attack Balor just minutes after he lost a quick match to Samoa Joe on the July 15 edition of Monday Night Raw.
In a report that noted how there have been multiple rumors suggesting Balor is due to turn heel and join The OC, Forbes opined that WWE’s inaugural Universal Champion has become “one of the stalest” superstars in the company since his impressive main roster debut in the summer of 2016. The publication added that Balor’s loss to Wyatt should be the perfect prelude for a “much needed” break that would ideally allow him to re-energize and possibly reinvent himself after three years as a babyface with “remarkably little” character development.