By Haydn Gleed
I hate when wrestlers get injured. I know it’s a physical sport, and it’s something that comes along with the profession, but when you see someone achieve a life’s ambition while at the same time picking up an injury, the human side of me feels for Finn. However, in time I believe the injury can not only be a positive for WWE but can long term be a positive for Finn Balor.
Two weeks ago, I doubt it was even crossing the minds of the powers that be to put the new Universal Championship on Kevin Owens at any point between now and this time next year. Yet because of the injury to Finn, they have obviously had to rethink their strategy and they have come up with what could potentially be a fascinating reign from Owens. He has proven time and time again to be not only entertaining in the ring, but he is incredibly charismatic and entertaining outside of the ring. Look at the promo work he has done in the last couple of weeks with Chris Jericho. He has been funny, charming, a stereotypical heel in a good way, but at the same time it hasn’t put him down a notch in that you still believe he is a bad-ass.
I’ve always felt that Owens was one step away from becoming the antagonistic heel champion like we saw when he was the NXT Champion tormenting Sami Zayn at every opportunity (or in Ring of Honor as Kevin Steen), and I hope we get back to that character. It will boost business, and it will allow babyfaces to face a strong heel champion, which is a benefit to the roster all round. Despite the negative of the Finn injury, it could have forced WWE’s hand in elevating Owens quicker or indeed higher than they had planned too previously. I’m fully aware that what I’ve said above could be pie in the sky thinking, and it could be that Owens is relegated to an afterthought behind an authority explodes storyline, but I am only talking positives here.
As for Finn, I can’t stress enough that seeing somebody injured literally just as they were about to fulfill a life’s ambition is heartbreaking, but ultimately it could be of benefit to him. Let’s be fair, Finn is not the greatest promo guy in the world. The Demon King gimmick is fascinating and well done, but put yourself in the shoes of a casual fan who had never heard of Balor until a month ago, they don’t know who this person is. They don’t know the amazing body of work that he has on the independent scene and in Japan. Let’s face it, WWE didn’t do a great job of promoting who or what Finn Balor is to the casual fans leading up to SummerSlam, and most importantly why they should get behind him for a reason other than that he’s not Seth Rollins.
Without having to cut a promo, when Finn returns he is going to be over big, and everybody loves a heartwarming story of overcoming injury and fighting back to the top. This will bring the casual fans on board more than they potentially were before this happened, so when he does return, WWE has an opportunity to have another top level performer whose story sells itself. In an ironic twist, WWE will be able to tell the story they should have told with Seth Rollins when he returned from injury, only now with Finn Balor.
It may not feel all that comforting at this time for Balor to know that when he returns it will set him up in a big way, but from the perspective of WWE management’s perspective, they now have a chance to create two main event stars who could remain at that level for years to come.
I’m back!!! After a stressful two months of moving and changing jobs etc, you are now stuck with me again! As always, if you want to get in touch you can via email firstname.lastname@example.org or via twitter @haydngleed