Since returning to NXT in 2019, Finn Balor has enjoyed something of a renaissance on the black and gold brand.
Yes, Balor had his share of bright spots during his tenure on Raw and SmackDown, most notably becoming the inaugural WWE Universal Champion at SummerSlam 2016, but this most recent run in NXT has helped him recapture some of the aura he lost while floating about in the main roster midcard.
As such, it’s pretty wild to imagine a scenario where this extended stay in NXT wouldn’t have been as, well, extended.
Finn Balor talks about how his second run in NXT was supposed to go.
Appearing on Corey Graves’ After The Bell, Balor revealed that his return to NXT was only supposed to last a few months (h/t, as always, to Fightful’s Jeremy Lambert for the transcription):
“I didn’t know what to expect. I was under the impression that it was going to be a three-month deal and reboot Finn and reset and then go back to Raw or SmackDown. It’s evolved into something that I don’t think anyone expected. It speaks to how NXT is evolving and is truly its own brand. I don’t know what to expect going forward and don’t know how long it’s going to last, but I have to say I’m super happy in NXT and there is no reason for me to move anywhere in my career. I’m still growing. It’s one of the best things I’ve done in my career, I’ve known when to move and when to change. That was the case in Europe, Japan, and Raw and SmackDown. I’m sure I’ll get to a point where I’ll know NXT has run its course and we’ll need to make a change, but I don’t see that coming anytime soon.”
Balor returned to NXT on the October 2, 2019 episode of the brand’s eponymous show and not long after, established a darker persona more in line with his run as the founder/leader of Bullet Club in New Japan Pro Wrestling than anything he did in WWE prior.
He spent his first few months as a heel — primarily feuding with a then-babyface Johnny Gargano — but thanks to a combination of injuries, call-ups, heel turns from other members of the NXT roster, and people liking his cool loner persona, he has become the de-facto top babyface of the brand (even though he doesn’t always sound like one) and has parlayed that into a second NXT Championship run.
Balor has also crafted some stellar matches against the likes of Gargano, Damian Priest, Adam Cole, and Kyle O’Reilly. His most recent classic came against Pete Dunne at NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day on Feb. 14, where he pinned Dunne to retain his NXT Title.
Hear more of Balor’s appearance on After The Bell here.