Finn Balor spent the better part of two years in NXT before returning to the main roster in July 2021. He showed up on SmackDown and was inserted right into the SummerSlam storyline between Roman Reigns and John Cena.
On paper it sounds like a pretty sweet gig, but Finn didn’t want to go to SmackDown. During an interview on Mark Andrews: My Love Letter to Wrestling, Balor explained that he knew it was time to leave NXT, but he countered WWE’s offer to bring him back to the main roster.
First, Finn discussed why he wanted to go from the main roster to NXT in 2019:
“I had got a little bit stale...I was tired. I was exhausted. I was worn out by dealing with the politics, and the office, and the writers, and everything that goes with it, and I just had enough. When I returned to NXT, I really feel like that rejuvenated me in the ring.”
When his time in NXT was up in mid-2021, Finn wanted to move on to NXT UK instead of SmackDown:
“Believe it or not I actually pitched to go to NXT UK when they asked me to go to Smackdown...’cause I knew the time at NXT was coming to an end. It had been 2 years and I worked with everyone. There was not really much more I could do there, I felt. The idea came to go to Smackdown, and I counter pitched with NXT UK, and they said well maybe in a couple of years, but we need you on Smackdown right now.
For me, a move to NXT UK would have been the move. There’s so many great guys there. Obviously [it’s] closer to home. I’ve been stuck in America for the last two years with COVID. It kind of heightened the feeling of isolation, in WWE and in that bubble, away from my friends and family. So there was kind of multiple reasons why I wanted to go to NXT UK. But the main one was guys like Noam, A-Kid, all these matches that I haven’t really had a chance to put together. That was like the fresh challenge.”
You see, WWE really needed Finn to return to SmackDown so that his protected Demon gimmick could take its first loss after a goofy top rope malfunction that was never explained in kayfabe. Finn has since moved over to Raw and dropped out of the upper card.
Elsewhere in the interview, Balor stated that his prime years are still to come, and he admitted that he wants to turn heel in WWE:
“I really really want to work on the heel aspect of Finn, at like Raw/SmackDown level. Because I’ve kind of done it in Japan. We tried to do it in NXT, but it kind of went a different direction. I would really love to have a real heel run.”
Do you think Finn will get what he wants this time, or is he destined to be a smiling filler babyface for the rest of his time on the WWE main roster?