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How should WWE use Finn Balor?

Shinsuke Nakamura sent Finn Balor to the main roster in an excellent match on Wednesday night, but now that the time is almost upon us, what should WWE do with the Irishman?

Finn Balor has been an Internet darling for years, dating well before his NXT debut, though the fervor has grown since that point. His run at Full Sail and on the road for the promotion has been a good one, and at times a great one. The rivalry with Samoa Joe may have ended on a fairly dull note, but the matches that preceded it were strong. He worked hard, learned the WWE style, and also educated himself on how Vince does television and where he fits into that model.

The signing has been a smashing success, but the stakes are about to rise significantly.

Now what?

He's not a big man, and he'll look small next to some of the larger superstars on the main roster. He's shredded and has the look of a real player, however, from facial expressions to the body language that's come to define his entrance. As we approach the WWE Draft, Finn Balor will be playing on a different field than he might have expected, had he picked up the bat six months ago. He's going to a roster that, quite frankly, will be thinner than the one many of his NXT brethren have experienced. It's a split crew, which will enable him to take on a larger role with rapidity, not having to wait quite as long for relevance. He can step in and be a star rather quickly, but it's far from a sure thing.

If there's one thing I noticed during Balor's NXT run, it was the propensity for Finn to channel what I never liked about Bret Hart in the ring. Yes, the Hitman is one of the greatest technicians of all-time, no debate there. He's also one of the most patterned performers in WWE history. I could tell you where he was headed in virtually every match he ever had, as the sequence of moves never wavered. He'd throw some different things in between, but it was often paint by numbers watching Bret work. He found a match that worked, just like Ric Flair did, and he used it to make himself famous. He's not alone, but there's a difference between a Bret Hart match and a Dean Malenko match.

Finn, in nine out of ten bouts, did exactly the same thing, win or lose. You could script it before the bell rang. He had the same match over and over and over again. I wanted more variety from what I saw from him, but it never came. On the main roster, it may not matter, because as with Bret, his match is a pretty good one. That said, he could be the next AJ Styles (or Seth Rollins), or he could be the next Neville.

Nothing against Neville, but he's never been given the proper opportunity to gain a foothold in WWE. He's a wizard in the ring, looks like a million bucks (save your rat family jokes), and has a wonderful attitude. But, he too is a little short, and he has kind of found himself in a cruiserweight division that doesn't exist. By that I mean, he lost to bigger guys and was often just a dude on a booking sheet.

Finn's charisma often came from the amount of paint on his body, and while he worked hard to improve on the mic, he wasn't a compelling babyface as a character. As he gets to the main roster, the first question that needs to be answered is whether to use him as a fan favorite or to turn him into a villain. My vote is for the latter, and the immediate conclusion would be The Club, but that's not necessarily the right answer.

AJ is working with John Cena, and unless plans have changed, per Wrestling Observer, that's the match for SummerSlam. What would Finn do as the number two? If he worked Rollins, that would be a showcase spot, but it feels too soon to pair those two up. Seth is still likely to be hovering around one of the two top titles in August.

There's no natural feud out there for Balor, at least not right now. There's money to be made in a program with Styles, but it requires the mythology of the Bullet Club to work, and a brand split may make it impossible. It's tough to say exactly where he goes and what he does, but Finn's debut has been so hyped for such a long time that it had better be good or he could fade into the midcard with an Usain Bolt-like quickness.

Bear in mind, he won't be wearing paint as his Venom form all that often. He'll be Eddie Brock most of the time, and it's THAT Finn Balor that is going to have to find his sea legs. I'm a proponent of the demon form only appearing at the four biggest shows of the year, so he's got a few potential obstacles waiting in the wings, because I'm not sure I've ever seen that guy fully over in NXT on a main event level. He's popular and likable, but it's an unfinished product. This is a completely different ballgame, and that Full Sail crowd won't be the one populating a half-filled arena in Memphis that wouldn't pop for a Shawn Michaels-Undertaker match, much less some guy they don't know very well.

Balor is extremely important for the brand split. Vince needs him to hit and hit big. The potential is enormous, but creative needs to work in synergy with Finn and find the correct path to stardom. It can't be a false start. It can't be trial and error. It can't be Apollo Crews or Baron Corbin or Tyler Breeze, brought up without even the outline of a plan. The fans expect better, and in this case, I believe they'll be rewarded. WWE knows how much the hardcores want Finn Balor on Monday or Tuesday nights.

Who should he work with? If he's a babyface, I'd probably try to find a way to make sure he and Kevin Owens are on the same show and let that be a SummerSlam feud. If he's a heel, maybe he's with Zayn, perhaps Cesaro, or possibly with someone like Ambrose, should Dean drop the title in the next two weeks. Because of the timing, his first program must be a home run. Not inside the park, not barely over the fence, but a no-doubter. The ball needs to end up in another zip code.

The most intriguing aspect of the Draft and what comes from it is the NXT call-ups and how well they work in the new system. Finn Balor has been waiting for months to stop with the Twitter trolling and actually walk down a WWE rampway. He's earned his way to the show. I'm happy for him, as hard work has paid off. The debut is now visible on the horizon. Hopefully it's everything he's dreamed it would be, because if so, it's going to be one entertaining ride.

We'll know soon enough.

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