Monday Night Raw has started a new era. And with that new era, there needed to be some new faces that fans had not seen before. There needed to be some new stars to cheer for, and buy t-shirts from.
Usually when someone debuts in WWE, they have to “earn” their spot. They have to work their way up from the midcard into the main event. Some guys are never able to get past that spot. They have the ability, but maybe not the backing of the people who matter.
On Raw Monday night, WWE finally set an objective to create a new star and actually achieved it. Finn Balor showed up on the main roster and pinned the current United States champion, and a three-time WWE Champion. Balor was who the fans wanted and WWE did not disappoint.
The impact of Balor’s win is tremendous. His win has an impact on the entire world of professional wrestling.
Not only did Balor beat the WWE’s (former?) golden boy Roman Reigns clean, he beat him to put into a title match at the second-biggest pay-per-view of the year. The confidence WWE is showing in Balor is incredible, but it is also showing that this new era is about showing fans what they plan to do and not telling.
Balor’s win also has impact beyond himself. It sends a message to the other WWE Superstars that it is possible to break through that glass ceiling. In the recent past, guys like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan were exceptions to the rule. Those kind of wrestlers couldn’t make it to the top of WWE, and the argument could even be made that Punk never really did.
The implications of Balor being the No. 1 contender to the WWE Universal Championship are historic. As far as “billed weight” is concerned, there has only been one man in history to hold any variation of a WWE world championship that was billed at less than 200 pounds. Rey Mysterio was billed at 175 as a world champion in WWE. Daniel Bryan was billed at 210. Finn Balor is billed at 190. The perception that only big men can draw has changed everywhere else in professional wrestling, and is now starting to change in WWE.
Men on the roster like Xavier Woods, Enzo Amore and Sami Zayn can look at Balor’s win and see hope for themselves to one day be at the top of the card.
The NXT roster can see hope for themselves too. The wrestlers that didn’t start in the performance center have a goal that is achievable now. Finn Balor was the first international star to flock to NXT. He took a huge risk leaving Japan for a developmental brand and no main roster promises. He earned the right to get this win over Reigns. Now Samoa Joe and Austin Aries can see that there may be a chance to get to the top of the card. Shinsuke Nakamura would have probably gotten that opportunity, but it was never a sure thing. Now that Balor has done it, Nakamura seems like a lock to main event a major pay-per-view in the future.
The impact reaches farther than WWE as well. If the perception in WWE is that you have to be big and powerful to be successful, then a lot of talented wrestlers may not want to sign there. If the perception in WWE is that you have to be a homegrown talent to be successful, then people will not want to sign. All that changes now.
It will be interesting to see how Balor can go in the WWE, but it has already been great so far.