WWE is in a strange place nowadays. As AEW continues to rise, the McMahon empire has another wrestling promotion to contend with and, for the first time since the Monday Night Wars, a worthy foe in the battle for viewership.
Finn Balor's return to NXT was a momentous occasion that elevated developmental during a crucial period as it transitions to the USA Network, but it presents a crossroads in The Demon's career. All wrestlers face these sorts of decisions on their road to stardom, but has the Irish icon made the right move? Here are five reasons why Finn Balor's return to NXT is a good idea, and five why it's not.
10 Good: Top Guy Status
Finn Balor immediately inserted himself into the main event by confronting current NXT Champion Adam Cole and is, once again, one of the top wrestlers in his brand.
Balor has an impressive list of accolades behind him, being the inaugural Universal Champion and the longest-reigning NXT Champion in history. These achievements make him a natural main event Superstar, and fans are already familiar with the in-ring prowess he can deliver.
9 Bad: What Now?
The downside to Balor's established achievements is that there isn't much left for the Irish Superstar to achieve in developmental. He already holds the record for the longest reign with the NXT Championship, and though it remains possible for him to regain the title, it would not be anything new for fans to witness.
There are additional championships now in NXT that were introduced after Balor's main roster debut, such as the North American Championship. Hopefully, then, The Demon can capture a different title in the future.
8 Good: Avoid Main Roster Controversy
WWE's creative decisions from Hell In A Cell were controversial. The ending of the main event between Seth Rollins and The Fiend has been poorly received by fans, and luckily for Balor, he is safely in NXT away from the dissension of the main roster.
As NXT is primarily the responsibility of Triple H, it has existed outside of the scrutiny WWE faces and maintains a more credible reputation with many fans.
7 Bad: Fall From Grace
Finn Balor is an exceptional wrestler who paved his career in New Japan Pro Wrestling, putting on stellar matches with other talented Superstars. It is a shame that the main roster had no idea what to do with him and has essentially demoted him back down to developmental.
This is not all bad, due to NXT's acclaimed reputation with fans, but it is still a fall from grace for The Demon King; WWE has all but admitted they don't know what to do with him.
6 Good: Elevate NXT's Status
Now that NXT is going head-to-head with AEW on Wednesday nights in a battle for ratings, the developmental brand needs to stand out. Not only can the brand do wonders for Balor's career currently, but Balor's star power can elevate NXT and make it stand out in a world where wrestling fans have more alternatives when it comes to wrestling content.
The brand requires fresh, compelling storylines and stellar performances from some of the top talents in the business. Balor may be just the man for the job.
5 Bad: Limited To NXT
So far, the Superstars of NXT have been restricted to developmental instead of flitting between brands like their counterparts performing on the Raw and SmackDown brands. This limits championship opportunities and competition, and Balor will have to fight to remain relevant in a brand that has moved past him since his main roster ascension.
The scope of NXT is impressive, as Triple H is known to look globally for new talent for his brand. Hopefully, a fresh influx of new competition will rectify the new limitations on The Demon's career.
4 Good: New Competition
The landscape of NXT has changed since Balor's departure in 2016, with new Superstars rising to take the place of The Demon at the top of the hierarchy. This means new competition for Balor and a new dynamic for the current Superstars in the NXT locker room.
Adam Cole and the Undisputed Era currently reign atop the developmental brand, though Balor appears to have already set his sights on the NXT Champion, with an intense showdown between the two competitors occurring on Balor's return to NXT.
3 Bad: A Second Main Roster Debut?
Though NXT has prospered since it was rebranded in 2012, becoming a legitimate brand in its own right in the eyes of many fans, some still see it as a platform eventually leading to the main roster. The brand was originally conceived as a developmental farm system for WWE, and though many NXT alumni have been misused after moving to Raw and SmackDown, it is a move that seems ultimately inevitable.
Balor has already performed extensively on the main roster, and a second call-up would lack the momentum of his initial debut.
2 Good: Establish NXT As A Brand
To rectify this, NXT needs to be presented as WWE's third brand, as opposed to a training ground for Superstars. Finn Balor's addition to the roster is a great way of establishing this due to his credibility as a main event star, and NXT provides a natural environment for Balor to showcase his in-ring abilities.
Now that NXT is directly competing with AEW, it needs to be established as a credible brand that can stand alone without the support of Raw and SmackDown. The inclusion of a fan-favorite Superstar such as Balor is a step in the right direction.
1 Bad: Less Money
Balor's return to NXT presents a financial disadvantage for the Irish Superstar. The Demon will be missing out on house shows and pay-per-views, limiting his in-ring appearances and his salary.
Nevertheless, the lighter work schedule that NXT offers is certainly an attractive prospect, as opposed to the consistent chaos of the main roster. It's a trade many talents would surely take.