For months, WWE fans wondered when Finn Balor was going to be promoted to the main roster. The former NXT champion stayed in developmental long past the necessary timeframe and had nothing left to prove.
Bálor was as deserving as any other NXT callup before him, yet he remained on NXT for months. Granted, he was the brand’s top babyface and most successful Superstar during its growing success, so perhaps it was to continue building NXT, rather than saving the Irish superstar.
Or was it actually to give him the best possible debut in WWE history? Bálor made more of an impact in one night than any former NXT Superstar before him. He defeated five of Raw’s biggest stars – including Roman Reigns clean – and became No. 1 contender during his first appearance.
So after months of trolling and disappointment, was WWE actually brilliant to delay Bálor’s debut? It seems that way.
Your author was one of the skeptics who was worried about how WWE would use Bálor once he was promoted. Sure, I wanted it to happen and didn’t understand what the delay was, but that was always a cause of concern.
There was also skepticism that delaying his debut would make it less exciting. At one point, the whole “Bálor may or may not appear” discussion resembled “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”
But after seeing him drafted fifth overall, any pessimism of who WWE would use Bálor vanished. The draft alone proved he was a main event quality Superstar.
But his perfect debut came at just the right time. There was an opportunity for a new Superstar to challenge uber heel Seth Rollins for a vacant title.
Clearly, Reigns is in the dog house after losing clean in three consecutive big matches following years of demi-god booking. There’s no way Bálor would have defeated him several months ago, rather would’ve been the one showing his respect to the victor.
It’s hard to say whether WWE had this all planned or not, but it seems like delaying Bálor’s call-up made him more of a legitimate threat on the main roster. NXT grew with the Irish grappler’s success and there was no doubt that he should’ve been the first Superstar selected from the brand.
No one is questioning his push. The excitement was still there even after months of rumors and speculation.
WWE made the right decision to extend Bálor’s run in NXT in order to give him the perfect debut. There’s no way Bálor could’ve made a bigger impact than he did on Monday.
Similarly, the company did the same thing with Bayley at Battleground. Everything said previously about Bálor in this article goes double for her. Bayley was the undisputed face of NXT’s women’s division. But she was kept in developmental for months after others were promoted to the main roster.
Then finally, Bayley appeared at Battleground as Sasha Banks’ mystery partner. Fans showered her with arguably one of the loudest reactions of 2016.
That’s what happens when you successfully create a legitimate star in NXT and delay the callup. Bálor and Bayley are two of the brand’s most popular stars. Perhaps seeing others promoted ahead of them created frustration, but no one else made as quick of an impact.
Maybe that’s why the company is delaying her full-time role, like it did with Bálor. Months later, it seems like WWE knew exactly how to manipulate the Irish star’s role in the company.
You don’t want to admit they were right, but you know they were in hindsight.