There’s no denying that the WWE had some big plans for Finn Balor within his first month of being on the main roster. He earned a shot to face Seth Rollins for the new WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam after defeating Roman Reigns. Balor would also follow that up by gaining the upset victory over Rollins to be the first Universal Champion.
However, Balor’s reign as RAW’s new heavyweight champion was less than 24 hours as he had to relinquish the belt due to a shoulder injury. While many fans are upset at Rollins as the injury is being blamed on his Buckle Bomb into the barricade, the plans the WWE had for Balor as RAW’s top star are equally depressing, considering we now won't get to see them – a singles feud with Kevin Owens and a triple threat that included Chris Jericho.
The injury is reportedly going to take four to six months to heal before Balor will be back to 100 percent. This gives the creative team at WWE headquarters plenty of time to come up with a great way to book his return to the WWE main roster. However, we have some ideas of our own that the WWE is more than welcome to consider at one of their upcoming meetings.
The following are 15 ways to book Finn Balor's anticipated return.
15 Rehab Stop At NXT
Don’t panic at seeing the NXT in this return idea. This isn’t a demotion, but think about the process of players in Major League Baseball making their way off of the Disabled List (DL). After recovering from an injury, they usually make a trip to a minor league affiliate to get a bit of a tune-up before going back to the big leagues. It’s actually interesting that the WWE doesn’t take the same approach with some of their superstars.
This could provide fans a chance to see Balor have a quick dream match against someone from NXT before returning to RAW. Maybe he could have a match with someone like Bobby Roode or even Austin Aries. It wouldn’t be anything more than a special treat for the fans at Full Sail University that he would win. The storyline would be that Balor finds himself ready to make the return to the main roster after a quick stop in Florida.
14 A Royal Return
This idea would be dependent on Balor returning in about five months, which is very possible when looking at the timetable for his recovery time. Besides, one of the best things about the Royal Rumble is having someone unexpectedly make a surprise appearance. John Cena was able to do this effectively back in 2008 as he made a return from an injury of his own. With Balor, it might be a cool surprise to see him as one of the later entrants.
Imagine everyone in the ring stopping what they are doing when they see the arena go dark and Balor makes his Demon King entrance. It certainly is the right kind of entrance to play mind games with the opponents in the Royal Rumble and get the crowd extremely excited. This would have to lead to Balor getting the big win to claim a title shot for what many would assume would be the WWE Universal Championship.
13 The Demon Haunts Rollins
This doesn’t have to involve winning the 2017 Royal Rumble, per se. Let’s say Seth Rollins is in the ring one night holding the WWE Universal Championship in an especially confident mood. It could be the first night after a big pay-per-view win over some of RAW’s top contenders and Rollins makes the typical “there’s no one who can beat me on the RAW roster” comments. It might seem like a cliché script, but imagine something somewhat similar to when Balor debuted the Demon King gimmick on RAW.
The slight difference could be that this could be drawn out over a few weeks in an effort to make Rollins watch where he goes both behind the scenes and in the ring. Fans might enjoy seeing a paranoid and uncomfortable Rollins as Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley announce that Balor gets a championship at the very next pay-per-view event for the WWE Universal Championship. It could be something similar to when Sting began haunting Hulk Hogan upon his WCW return back in 1997.
12 Reclaiming What He Never Lost
Whether it’s because of winning the Royal Rumble or the management decides to cut right to the chase, one of the likely popular ideas would be to have Balor claim the title that he never lost officially. It might not have been a very long reign as the WWE Universal Champion, but it was an official reign that does include a rematch clause – which pretty much any champion at any level has in professional wrestling.
Fans in the WWE Universe would also love to see a rematch between Rollins and Balor. It’s a smart booking if the company wants to have a guaranteed five-star match to help boost subscription rates for the WWE Network. The one thing we would all hope is for Rollins to not utilize that Buckle Bomb on Balor. However, it could be a teased move to get the fans to really boo Rollins to get him over as the heel.
11 Balor Forced To Prove Himself
It was a tough break for Balor to be forced to give up the WWE Universal Championship that he had won less than a month after his debut on RAW. It would be somewhat understandable if the management on RAW would feel that it might be hard to want to rush Balor back into that kind of title right away. Let’s remember that the management team of the red brand includes the fan-favorite Foley and a McMahon who has had a history of being able to play the heel authority figure very well on television.
Professional athletes in other sports are often not rushed when they come off of a major injury and that could be the focus of this angle. Putting Balor through a series of trials to get a championship rematch would accomplish two goals – a unique storyline for Balor and a secondary storyline creating tension between the Billion Dollar Princess and the Hardcore Legend.
10 Brand Switch With A Title Shot
Let’s go back to the idea of having Balor win the 2017 Royal Rumble. Remember how the match used to give superstars the choice of challenging for another brand’s championship during the original brand split? While it might not be the most likely option that many fans would like to see, this would be somewhat of a surprise for them to see. Let’s say that Balor goes into the 2017 Royal Rumble and gets the big win over the other 29 WWE Superstars. He’ll return to RAW with a celebration of sorts that is thrown by Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley on the very next night.
Balor could make fans believe that he is going to challenge Rollins for the WWE Universal Champion, but then announces he has a different plan. It would be cool if he then reveals a SmackDown T-shirt underneath a suit jacket he wears into the arena. Fans often complain that the creative staff’s direction is somewhat too predictable. Having Balor make the move to SmackDown would certainly shake things up a bit.
9 Balor vs. Ambrose
Now if Balor makes the brand switch from RAW to SmackDown, one would start to think about whom Balor would be challenging for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The current champion would likely provide a very good match that would help boost the blue brand. It certainly needs the help with somewhat of a lack of top-level talent. It would also help if the WWE decides to have Ambrose become a heel.
Honestly, Ambrose might benefit from being turned into a heel. While he might be a likable superstar in regards to the WWE Universe, Ambrose could be built into an anti-hero type character like Austin was. It would allow Ambrose to have different challengers and not be limited to either all faces or all heels. The two would be able to provide good buildup for the match with their promo skills and then execute a five-star match deserving of the hype.
8 Balor vs. Styles
There seems to be some who believe that AJ Styles is going to defeat Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Honestly, it would make a lot of sense if the WWE did decide to have Balor make the switch to SmackDown. The fans are already behind the Demon King as a face, while Styles seems to have found his groove as the villain who just recently beat up John Cena.
The two have a bit of history from their time in New Japan Pro Wrestling and a potential match at WrestleMania would be a good way for the two to settle the score. Not only would this be a good way to boost the blue brand, but it would give fans something to really enjoy. For one, it would be Balor and Rollins in the main event. It would also mean fans watching at home would likely hear SmackDown play-by-play man Mauro Ranallo calling the match.
7 The Club Reforms?
This is more of a chance to do some fantasy booking that was teased during a backstage vignette involving The Club and Balor at SummerSlam. How interesting would it be if Balor decided to go towards the dark side in a double turn involving Rollins for the WWE Universal Championship? The two could be having a quality match with fans cheering for both until there is a spot when the referee is knocked down, making some fans worry what the villainous Rollins might pull out of his sleeve.
But to everyone’s surprise, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson show up and double team Rollins in a beat down. This would set up Balor for his Coup de Grace as the referee starts to wake up to count the pin fall on Rollins. Maybe this could be teased for a few weeks with Balor denying any involvement, or maybe they come together in the ring with the signature “Too Sweet” hand gesture. Either way, fans would likely leave the event happy with the result.
6 Or, The Club Takes Out Balor
While some fans would be happy with the Club reuniting, there might be something different in plan for the future of the WWE Universal Championship. If the WWE doesn’t feel like Balor should immediately win the title back, they would have to come up with a plan for how Balor would lose the match with Rollins that would put the Demon King over as the face and the Architect as the heel.
Maybe that time when Balor walked by Anderson, Gallows and Styles offering the “Too Sweet” gesture in that backstage SummerSlam segment might have rubbed them the wrong way. In a way, Anderson and Gallows could make the statement “if you’re not with us, you’re against us.” It would also help build a storyline where Balor has to recruit some help from an ally in NXT that is getting a call-up to the WWE main roster for a special surprise for the fans.
5 Owens Costs Balor The Title
Remember when it was mentioned that the WWE originally wanted to have Balor feud with Kevin Owens for the WWE Universal Championship? That would certainly be a great match for fans to see while the WWE continues to establish Balor as the main event player. It would also give the Prizefighter a good storyline in about six months, after Owens is done teaming with Chris Jericho. Let’s be honest, that tag team can’t last too long, right?
Owens could come out during the 2017 Royal Rumble after Balor eliminates him and cost the Demon King a chance to have a championship match at WrestleMania. It would also help get Owens over as a possible main event heel, which many fans would love to see anyway. Both men should be on the top-tier on RAW and this sort of feud would accomplish that goal, maybe with a future WWE Universal Championship match on the line.
4 Reigns Heel Turn Makes Balor A Casualty
There are some WWE fans who feel like Roman Reigns might be better suited to be a heel. He obviously has had some struggles in being the good guy. In fact, he had a much better performance feuding with AJ Styles for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Now, if the WWE wants to really get Reigns over with a lot of heel heat, it should have him stop the Demon King from getting a chance to reclaim the WWE Universal Championship.
The angle could show Reigns still holding a grudge over someone like Balor getting a title match and wanting to get revenge. This allows Balor to maybe not win the belt, but have a chance to take on some other big names on the RAW roster as he is built back up to being in the top tier of the match card. Two goals would be achieved by the WWE creative team with this option.
3 Samoa Joe Stops Balor At The Royal Rumble
Maybe the idea of having Kevin Owens or the team of Anderson and Gallows cost Balor the WWE Universal Championship might not be acceptable. Maybe the WWE creative team wants to go a completely different route by going with someone who has yet to make his WWE main roster debut. Maybe Balor is nearing the end of the 2017 Royal Rumble main event as the countdown to the 30th participant winds down.
The WWE Universe might be up for the unexpected debut of Samoa Joe as he walks down the ramp and then stares down Balor. The two could brawl until they both end up eliminated. The two have a lot of history between them from battling for the NXT Championship. Joe could go with the belief that he deserved to be the first NXT talent drafted instead of Balor and can fuel his heel run against the Demon King.
2 Balor And Joe Form New Power Team In WWE
One thing that the WWE has done in the past is have power teams of two singles superstars forming a tag team. For example, “Macho Man” Randy Savage teamed with Hulk Hogan. There was also the team of The Rock and Mankind to form the "Rock ‘n Sock Connection." Who is to say that the WWE couldn’t have something similar today with two recent NXT Champions?
This might need some creativity to get the fans to accept that two men who went to war when they were last in NXT together could become a tag team. However, Balor could look at a team with Samoa Joe as a chance to have backup against the potential attacks from Anderson and Gallows. It would also benefit Joe in having a strong partner in a potential effort to win the WWE Tag Team Championships. It would also help give the New Day a new set of challengers.
1 The Prince Becomes A King
Maybe the return of Balor to the WWE main roster could also provide a boost to an old classic in WWE that needs to return as well. Admittedly, this might be weird to pull off as the latter end of Balor’s recovery timetable falls around the time the creative team starts preparing for the Road to WrestleMania. However, maybe Balor’s return might be longer than the estimated six months, which would mean holding him until after the biggest show of the year. The WWE could announce the return of the King of the Ring tournament, which hasn’t had a great lineage of recent winners of the crown.
But what if the WWE went with someone who has already had experience being royalty in professional wrestling? Balor used to go by the name Prince Devitt in Japan before coming to WWE. That could be a big part of the story as Balor works his way to winning the crown. It would be a cool little victory to help boost Balor’s credibility as a main event superstar, while also providing credibility to an iconic tournament that desperately needs it.