It has been a sad few hours in the WWE Universe. Only one day removed from becoming the first ever WWE Universal Champion, Finn Balor had to forfeit his title due to injury. The injury, according to Mick Foley, can keep him out for six-to-nine months (though, it is worth noting that real life recovery can be done in as little as four).
On the surface, this appears to put an immediate halt to the mega-push Balor has received since coming to the main roster. Considering that Vince McMahon has a habit of deeming newcomers injury prone if they get hurt too quickly when coming to the main roster, it is also likely concerning to some fans that the superstar will come back in a diminished role.
That can very well be true, but there are some silver linings in this otherwise gloomy cloud.
The Universal Championship has its pitfalls this early in its debut. Whoever was going to be holding this belt from day-one had a monumental task of pioneering the belt into credibility. While Balor was more than capable to do such a thing, he now doesn’t need to worry about convincing the WWE Universe that the title is a “world” championship level belt.
There’s more to it than that.
The situation at the top — save for Seth Rollins and the Demon King himself — appeared a bit murky. However long Balor is out for, when he returns the company should have enough time to sift through all of the Raw roster, peg certain guys in certain slots, and a more structured tier of wrestlers will be in place.
As of right now, as highlighted by Big Cass being put in the Fatal Four Way for the title next week, it is just a bunch of guys — from mid-card guys to tag team talent — fighting for the championship.
The above is worth pointing out, because whoever ends up being the next Universal Champion will have to deal with having a top of a division without clear cut challengers. The sort of issue that can result in some iffy feuds, matches, and angles — all of which can kill momentum.
How this can become a true blessing in disguise for our favorite face-painted demon is that absence often makes the heart grow founder. Without being there, to be booed or cheered, the fan base will start to yearn for the first ever WWE Universal Champion.
Since he already established himself as a top dog prior to his injury, an insane amount of hype will likely be built prior to his return. This gets multiplied ten-fold if a heel is trotting about the squared circle as the champion. Hell, it would be multiplied by all-the-folds if it is Roman Reigns running around as the man with the belt.
The people are going to miss Balor almost immediately because the casual audience barely got to know him, but did get to know just enough to realize — or be told via title win — he is an incredibly big deal.
With whomever winning the title on the next Monday Night Raw essentially taking “what is still his,” Balor has an angle to come back to no matter the circumstances, and in a main event division that should be more settled down.
Balor will actually be coming back to less pressure, a more stable environment, and a chance to be refreshed. Yes, he will have to rehab, but time off is time off and wrestlers certainly need more time off during the calendar year.
Can the opposite hold true? Can the WWE Universe forget all about the sometimes Demon King, but always my wife’s favorite wrestler to ogle at? Of course. But the WWE won’t allow that to happen. If the company even feels the slightest sense of amnesia from its fan base, it will begin to air video packages hyping his return.
Considering his multiple-layered gimmick, those can be Undertaker level vignettes, too. Those can help him reach yet ANOTHER level of stardom and fan base.
This isn’t the perfect string of events for Finn Balor. Still, good talent can often turn a negative into a positive. Since there are some very real tangible positives that can be taken away from the wrestler missing time, coupled with who he is as a talent, this can sneakily be the best thing that ever happened to his career.
Or, maybe, I am being naive — but whatever with those semantics.