Finn Balor has become one of the most popular superstars in WWE currently. Over the past few years he has been part of an NXT roster that has become essentially the third WWE brand.
Matches against Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe while he was down in NXT were some of the stand-out matches of his career before he went on to become the longest reigning NXT Champion of all time. Finn was called up to the main roster as part of the WWE Draft last summer and managed to pin Roman Reigns on his first night to guarantee himself a place in the main event of SummerSlam, where he would fight for the newly unveiled Universal Championship.
This was the biggest match of Finn’s career. He took on former NXT Champion Seth Rollins at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York, but even though Balor went on to win the match and become the inaugural Universal Champion, this would become a memorable night for Finn for all the wrong reasons, and finally now all of the facts of that night have become clear.
Here are 15 facts that the WWE Universe perhaps didn’t know about Finn Balor’s untimely injury.
15. The Injury Occurred Just Five Minutes Into The Match
It was well known that the injury occurred part way through the match, but it wasn’t as well known that Finn was actually injured five minutes into the match and somehow still managed to not only finish the match but win it.
Balor stated in the recent documentary that he knew how much pain he was in, but he didn’t want to be the guy people remembered for bottling his big chance, he decided to fight through the pain and live each minute as it came. He said he wasn’t thinking about the next Raw or even the next day, at that point he was only thinking of finishing the match and then he would figure out how bad the damage was when he got back through the curtain.
14. Finn Felt Like He Let Everyone Down When He Won
Finn knew he was injured and he knew that when he finished the match it was going to become a problem that he had won the Championship. But it was the feeling that he thought he had let everyone down that had believed in him and given him the opportunity to be in such a huge main event.
Finn finished the match, but he knew that he could have further injured his arm by deciding to continue the match, which meant that there could be something really wrong that could keep him out of action. Finn technically made the right choice, because it is unknown how much worse he actually made the injury by continuing.
13. He Didn’t Want To Celebrate His Win
The footage from after the match as Finn celebrates becoming the first ever Universal Champion shows that Finn was in some sort of discomfort. He obviously was unable to raise his right arm at this point, so he held the title in his injured arm and raised his other hand.
He stated that he didn’t really want to celebrate and doesn’t remember if he did, he just wanted to get out of there and find out how bad his injury actually was. Finn was told by the cameraman to raise the Championship at the top of the ramp though, and somehow he managed to, but he did say that he found this quite painful, he just wanted it to be part of the moment.
12. Neville And Sami Zayn Looked After Him That Night
Finn is best friends with fellow former NXT Champions Sami Zayn and Neville and it seems that following that match, Finn was taken into the back and assessed by the doctors. Finn was then strapped up with ice and both Sami Zayn and Neville decided that they would stay with him and look after him all night.
He said that the duo got food and kept him company before it was decided that he would have to relinquish the Championship the following night on Raw. He said that he doesn’t know how he would have gotten through the night if Sami and Neville were not there to keep his mind off his injury and to make him feel better.
11. Finn Underwent Surgery Merely Hours After He Vacated The Title
Balor left Raw after he was forced to hand the Championship back to Mick Foley and was checked into the hospital at 5:20 am the next morning. Finn then went through a whole manner of tests before his surgery was scheduled to take place at 1 pm later that day.
It seems WWE wanted Finn to get the surgery done as soon as possible because shelf time would be affected if he waited before he had the surgery. All of the tests looked positive for Finn but it seems that all of the positivity changed when Finn finally went under the knife and the true extent of his injury was finally revealed.
10. His Parent’s Remained In America With Him For Two Weeks
Finn has appeared in the WWE series My Son is a WWE Superstar where it was shown just how close Finn was to his parents. Finn is a huge family man and because he needed the support after the surgery, his parents made the decision to remain with him in America for two weeks after his surgery to help him to get used to life with one arm.
His parents would have also helped to keep his spirits up because it’s so hard to stay positive just after surgery when you’re looking at a long time on the shelf and a long road back through rehab. Finn had also just found out that his injury was much worse than first feared, so it’s nice that he had his family to lean on and to help him through one of the hardest times of his career.
9. Finn Was Able To Return Home For The First Time In 12 Years
When Finn was injured and he underwent surgery, it seems that WWE allowed him to recover and rehab at his own pace, which included being able to properly return home for the first time in 12 years, when Finn made the decision to move to Japan, something that he said was one of the best decisions he ever made, because his time in Japan shaped his career and allowed him to attract WWE’s attention.
Finn returned home for the holidays and was able to appreciate the small village that he grew up in after spending so much time in cities. He was also able to catch up with all of the people he grew up with and head to the pub like a normal person for a few days, which was essentially exactly what Finn needed at that point to help to boost his recovery time.
8. He Appeared At Over The Top Wrestling Just Before Christmas
There are many wrestling promotions in Ireland, but OTT is one that will always stand out. Finn was able to return to the promotion for the first time in more than a decade as a surprise guest in order to wish the fans a Merry Christmas.
Finn was also able to go back to The Fight Factory, which was the gym that he once helped to run and the one where he trained the likes of Becky Lynch while he was there. He was able to sit down and talk to many up and coming wrestlers in the training school and talk to them about aspirations, which included WWE UK Tournament star Jordan Devlin, who many of the WWE Universe are calling Finn Balor version 2.0.
7. The Injury Happened At Finn’s First Ever Main Event Pay-per-View
It was a long road for Finn from his WWE debut as the partner of Hideo Itami all the way through to leaving NXT and making his main roster debut on Monday Night Raw. Balor stated that he needed those two and half years and he doesn’t regret a single minute of it.
He helped NXT grow into the phenomenon it deserved to be at that time, but it was his time to leave. He then went on to main event his first ever pay-per-view when it was decided that he would face Seth Rollins to crown the first ever Universal Championship. This was Finn’s big chance, WWE had pushed him as soon as he had debuted on Raw and allowed him to main event one of the biggest pay-per-views of the year, which was one of the saddest parts because Finn actually thought that he had let people down.
6. Finn Should Have Been Cleared To Return At The Royal Rumble
Finn obviously wasn’t able to make his return to WWE until after WrestleMania 33, despite the doctors clearing him to return much sooner. His surgeon was seen on WWE 24 telling him that he would be cleared in time for The Royal Rumble, but then WWE doctors would have to test him and clear him for competition.
It seems that these doctors were the ones dragging their feet and decided not to clear him. Finn was then able to attend WrestleMania Axxess and WrestleMania itself and was actually cleared for competition but was instead forced to watch from the sidelines until it was decided that he could make his return on the Raw After WrestleMania instead.
5. Balor Popped His Own Shoulder Back Into Its Socket
Finn has always been seen as a wrestler who is too small to make it as one of the main event type stars in WWE. But even though he’s small and he weighs just 195 pounds, Finn proved at SummerSlam last year that he is as tough as the best of them.
When Finn took the buckle bomb onto the barricade outside the ring, he lay there for a while and made the decision to continue the match despite being in a lot of pain, he also made the decision to pop his own shoulder back into its socket so that he could continue the match properly. Being able to do something like this takes a huge amount of bravery and a certain amount of strength and it seems that Balor had a large amount of both as his split second decision is one of the bravest that any superstar has ever made.
4. Finn And Seth Rollins Rehabbed Together At The Same Time
It was Seth Rollins that threw Finn Balor into the barricade that night and forced him out of action for more than six months. A few months later in February 2017 both Finn Balor and Seth Rollins were at the same rehab centre in Birmingham, Alabama.
Seth had been injured by Samoa Joe in the build up to WrestleMania 33 and was sent to rehab for his torn MCL. This gave the duo time to hang out and get to know each other for the first time, and they even spent Valentine’s Day together and tweeted about it. It was a strange thing for both men, but it allowed them to bond and since Finn made his return to WWE, it seems that he is on the same page with Rollins, for now.
3. Finn’s Surgery Should Have Only Taken 40 Minutes
When Finn went into surgery for his torn labrum, it was thought that the maximum amount of time that the surgery would take would be an hour. When Finn actually got into the operating room, it seems that the MRI didn’t show the surgeon the full extent of the damage.
Finn had suffered three different injuries: he had a torn labrum, a torn bicep, a torn pectoral muscle, cartilage damage, and a fracture to the glenoid neck socket. The surgery actually took around six and a half hours to complete and Finn’s recovery time was then reset to almost six months. It was hard for Finn to accept and he stated that six months sounded so much longer than it actually was, but luckily the surgeon knew what he was doing and managed to fix Finn’s arm despite the full extent of the injuries not actually being known.
2. His Parents Were In Attendance To See Him Get Injured
Finn’s parents are unable to attend a lot of his shows because they live in Ireland and he performs much of the time in America, but when Finn found out that he was main eventing his first ever main roster pay-per-view, he decided to invite his parents to come and see the match.
His parents didn’t realize that he was injured at the time but it was good that they were there because they later decided to stay in the states with their son. When Finn made his return to WWE on the Raw after WrestleMania last month, his parents were once again in attendance to see their son return to the one job that he believe allows him to live his dream. He stated that he was happy they were there because he feels like their attendance allows him to bookend the entire scenario.
1. Finn Doesn’t Blame Seth For His Injury
Probably one of the biggest facts to come out of the entire affair was that Bret Hart decided to share around social media that Seth Rollins was a dangerous worker. Finn stated that he didn’t blame Rollins for his injury at all; he said that he actually felt worse for Seth than he did for himself, he knew that The Architect would feel horrible about the entire thing, and that made him feel worse.
Finn and Seth have managed to become much closer because of the injury and the fact that they were able to spend time together in rehab. Balor knows that in the WWE sometimes injuries happen and regardless of who it is that is delivering the move at the time, it is a side effect of the job that he does and he knows that it’s not something he can actually blame anyone for.