There’s no mistaking it, Finn Balor is poised to become one of the biggest stars in WWE. Of course, he will have to be put in the correct positions, as well as the right creative environment to further his development. Fortunately, as of late, WWE’s track record has become much more reliable. The Shield and Kevin Owens are prime examples of this. Four men that were given consistent time to grow and put in advantageous spots on weekly television. Seems pretty obvious, right? So, with that said, out of all those four men mentioned, none were given the documentary treatment before they had ever been presented on a Monday Night Raw. It’s more than safe to say that Finn Balor has started out on the right foot in his quickly blooming WWE career.
When I initially watched “Finn Balor: The Demon Revealed” in increments as it aired on NXT, I didn’t think much of it. I had already seen a fantastic documentary on Balor that aired on Irish television earlier this year (try to find this somewhere if you can, as I’m probably not allowed to post the link here), and expected something much less interesting, truthful, and engaging in WWE’s stab at the subject matter. How would WWE work around the real story of Finn Balor with their–what was sure to be– thirty minute fluff piece focusing on their new favorite toy. But WWE took an uncharacteristic turn, going so far as to include the decorated past of Balor in his time with New Japan Pro Wrestling. Who got Vince drunk enough to give this the green light? WWE was showing New Japan footage and mentioning it by name on their network! Showing these aspects of Balor’s career highlight a much-needed change in WWE’s mindset as it pertains to what occurs outside of their ill-conceived bubble. These kinds of nods to outside promotions do absolutely no damage to WWE’s core brand. In fact, the mention of these outside brands only serves to strengthen who WWE truly is–the #1 wrestling promotion in the entire world. Low self-esteem can sure be a bummer.
WWE acknowledging the space that extends outside of the self-constructed bubble doesn’t only build the credibility of Balor, but wrestling as unique subject matter, as well.
While the mention of NJPW and independent success pre WWE were major points of interest in “Finn Balor: The Demon Revealed”, the biggest take away from the production was that it made me care more about Finn Balor as a person. Balor has been on my radar through the biggest parts of his Japan run, and if that were the case for me, what would it do for someone who was just introduced to him through his work on NXT?
WWE appears to really know what they have on their hands. A potential mega star that could fill a role that is sorely missing on their core television product, and a merchandising gold mine with more crossover appeal than any wrestler on the main roster could ever hope for. Balor appeals to men, women, and children alike. He is cool. He is what WWE wanted Roman Reigns to be, but authentic. His success happened before his WWE career began, and their embracing of this aspect—as well as global wrestling’s existence in general–highlights a core change in management’s mindset.
If you haven’t checked out “Finn Balor: The Demon Revealed” (though something tells me anyone that is reading this has most likely watched it at least twice by now), go out of your way to check it out on the WWE network.