With AJ Styles being drafted to SmackDown, but Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson sent to Monday Night Raw, The Club is a seemingly dead faction. After Battleground ends, they will head their separate ways. For the former New Japan tag team champions, however, there’s going to be a friendly face awaiting them for the first post-brand extension edition of Raw – Finn Balor.
Balor, who was actually the original leader of The Bullet Club, which The Club was modeled after, was also drafted by Raw. He was one of the six NXT performers who were selected on Tuesday, and he received one of the loudest pops of any talent drafted.
This is going to naturally lead to discussions on whether The Balor Club is now destined to happen. While it appears obvious on the surface something like that should or could happen, it is certainly a bit more complex than that.
Save for Gallows and Anderson turning face, which isn’t as insane as it sounds, Balor is probably best served portraying a face during the early portion of his main roster run.
As importantly, the WWE – primarily Vince McMahon – is going to want to milk the potential merchandise Balor can move until there is nothing left but air-money.
Balor is a weird talent. Really, he comes with a unique gimmick. For normal, ho-hum matches, the former NXT Champion is a normal guy. He comes out in a tight leather jacket, wrestles his matches, cut his promos. Then there’s that whole other gimmick he has. The ones, usually for monumental matches, in which he comes out as Demon Balor.
He is essentially two wrestlers in one. Or, as far as money is concerned, one guy who can move two different – but from the same wrestler – types of merchandise at the same time. You get the artistic Demon Balor merchandise that will move because it is hip, and the regular Balor stuff that moves because people like Finn. Hell, The Balor Club stuff has already been on sale for some time now, and there hasn’t even been a faction to work with.
There is also the fear that a forming of The Balor Club with Gallows and Anderson will feel too rehashed, especially to the casual audience. Most of the WWE Universe is unaware of The Bullet Club’s origins. To them, at least a lot of them, The Balor Club will be viewed as a The Club ripoff – which can lead to many’s original impression of Balor being less than awesome.
Those are some of the negatives. There are positives, too.
Mainly, stables – at least ones that function and form well together – are a great thing. They can not only elevate the leader (here being Balor), but help the other talent involved reach a next level of stardom. The Club’s biggest failure since forming under Styles’ leadership is that Anderson and Gallows, who have been in key moments, haven’t had a ton of important matches during this period of time.
Some of the shine, allure and international superstar aura the WWE tried to use as a reason to care about them has worn off. After all, Anderson and Gallows spent an entire two WWE Network Special storylines being walloped by Roman Reigns at the same time. It kind of kills the idea that they’re a threat.
But a new start can be made.
Regardless, the WWE likely has a plan for Balor. It can be as relatively small as being the face of the cruiserweight division to being as large as forming a version of The Balor Club and being pushed toward the main event scene from day-one.
Either way, whatever initially happens, the WWE isn’t bringing him up to get lost in the shuffle – at least we don’t think… or hope.
Balor doesn’t need The Balor Club to succeed. He simply needs an honest to goodness backing by the creative team by way of good angles and feuds. If The Balor Club needs to be implemented for that stuff to happen, so be it. But if Monday comes and goes, and there’s no signs of the faction forming, don’t sweat it. Finn Balor is too good to get lost in the madness. He doesn’t need anyone’s help.