It may not always seem that way because of how he hasn't truly been in the main event picture since his first few weeks on the main roster, but Finn Balor actually has a pretty good winning percentage on both NXT (82 percent) and WWE (76 percent), per his ProFightDB wrestler page. That means he's defeated more WWE superstars than you may realize, and while the company doesn't always make those wins mean something, he is, at least, seemingly on the way back to relevance on SmackDown Live. He currently holds the Intercontinental Championship and is one of the eight competitors in Sunday's men's Money in the Bank match.
Though Balor has certainly beaten many of the top names in WWE, including the likes of John Cena, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns, there are some wrestlers whom he has yet to conquer in the ring in singles competition. Here are 10 wrestlers that Finn Balor has yet to defeat in singles (or pin in a tag team match) on WWE television or pay-per-view.
10 Brock Lesnar
“The Beast” is probably the most obvious example on this list. For quite some time, Balor had been rumored to be next in line to challenge Lesnar for the Universal Championship he once held hostage, only for Vince McMahon to reportedly nix the idea because of Balor’s size, or lack thereof.
At this year’s Royal Rumble, Balor finally got his chance against Lesnar and the big red belt. While this David vs. Goliath matchup ended with the proverbial David counting the lights, Balor didn’t look like a complete pushover. It was the most that fans could have hoped for at the time, and it’s arguably helped Balor’s cause to be taken more seriously by WWE’s powers that be in creative.
9 Shinsuke Nakamura
Now technically, Balor does have one victory over Nakamura, but that was during the last Mixed Match Challenge, and it was the female member who ended up winning the match for the team. Nakamura has one victory over Balor in one-on-one competition, having defeated the Irishman way back in 2016 over at NXT, but as far as the main roster goes, both men have yet to face off in singles.
With Balor having moved to SmackDown Live during this year’s Superstar Shake-Up, a rematch of that 2016 NXT encounter is finally possible on the main roster. But given the way Nakamura has been booked for most of his main roster run, especially in recent months, he’ll likely be fodder for his fellow New Japan alumnus.
8 Lars Sullivan
As Sullivan had just recently been introduced as a main roster performer through multiple beatdowns on SmackDown Live superstars, this entry may seem like a bit of a cop-out. But it’s not inconceivable that WWE will give Sullivan a huge push on the blue brand, even with the recent controversies surrounding his past online behavior in mind. (And the fact that WWE legitimately fined him 100 grand for those online comments.)
That said, there’s a chance Sullivan will find himself buried in the mid-card as further punishment. But if WWE pushes “The Freak” as originally expected, one good way is to have him feud with Balor over the Intercontinental Championship.
7 Daniel Bryan
The very reason why Finn Balor has never beaten Daniel Bryan is simple: they’ve never had a match against each other, what with the “Yes!” man-turned eco-friendly heel having been retired for two whole years from early 2016 to early 2018. However, both men are now close to the top of the SmackDown Live card, and it would be a surprise if they don’t get to face each other at least once before the year ends.
On the other hand, such a matchup may have to wait, as WWE is now giving Bryan and Rowan a run with the SmackDown Tag Team titles, most likely in an attempt to protect the former WWE Champion from further injuries.
6 Kofi Kingston
Due to both men being babyfaces, as well as the fact that they’ve been on separate brands for most of the past two years, Balor and Kingston have yet to face each other one-on-one in a WWE ring. But if Balor becomes this year’s Mr. Money in the Bank and Kingston retains versus Kevin Owens, a quick cash-in on the New Day mainstay wouldn’t be out of the question.
At the very least, it would be interesting if these two get to face each other due to their contrasting on-air personalities, what with Finn always being the more serious type and Kofi being, well, a member of a consistently goofy and entertaining faction.
5 Aleister Black
Like Lars Sullivan, Aleister Black is another recent call-up from NXT who has yet to cross paths with Balor but could theoretically do so due to his brand affiliation. As a former NXT Champion and an extremely talented in-ring performer, Black would make a great rival to Balor if WWE wants to make the Intercontinental Championship feel relevant again.
For some reason, Black hasn’t wrestled a match since he was sent back to SmackDown after the Superstar Shake-Up proper. But then again, it may be because he’s teasing a new gimmick, and maybe a heel turn, as some speculate. Who knows — this could also mean the start of a big push, and a potential battle of dark gimmicks with Balor in full Demon mode.
Interesting fact: per ProFightDB, Finn Balor defeated Sheamus in a series of live events in November 2015, months before his official call-up to the main roster. But since house shows aren’t part of WWE canon, this qualifies the Celtic Warrior for this list, as the two Irishmen have not faced each other since then, what with Sheamus having spent most of the past two years as one-half of The Bar.
As The Bar was officially disbanded following the 2019 Superstar Shake-Up, Sheamus is another possibility as a potential rival for Balor on SmackDown Live. But that is provided his health holds up. Recent rumors suggested that Sheamus may be close to calling it a career, but Drew McIntyre and Rusev have claimed otherwise in separate interviews earlier since then.
How’s this for a wild card? Despite his recent (and head-scratching) run with the United States Championship, R-Truth is nowhere near the same level as Balor as far as SmackDown Live’s pecking order is concerned. He’s mainly there for the comedy segments, including the wildly popular Seven-Second Dance Breaks with Carmella, and at 47, he’s clearly on the homestretch of a long and successful wrestling career.
However, you never know with the wildly unpredictable R-Truth — part of his gimmick is his tendency to show up at random and find himself in unexpected matches. Perhaps that would include a surprise Intercontinental Championship match against the Demon, where Truth jobs out in a matter of seconds? Stranger things have happened.
2 Dean Ambrose
Balor certainly had a chance to be booked against Dean Ambrose during the Lunatic Fringe’s ill-conceived heel turn late last year. Instead, all we got was a six-man tag in January, where Seth Rollins (who was on Balor’s team) pinned Ambrose, thus qualifying the man currently known as Jon Moxley for this list.
If Balor gets fed up with WWE’s start-stop booking and somehow ends up in AEW (where Ambrose/Moxley is likely to sign, per rumors), then we may finally get to see both men face each other in one-on-one competition. But for now, Balor vs. Ambrose is a potentially good matchup that the WWE Universe never got to see.
1 Randy Orton
When figuring tag team matches into the equation, Balor does have one win over Orton on SmackDown Live, though that was thanks to Ali pinning Andrade in a two-on-two match featuring men’s Money in the Bank competitors. Otherwise, the Viper has yet to face Balor in one-on-one action — the latter’s move to SmackDown Live now makes this possible.
Judging by how Orton hit one of his signature RKOs out of nowhere on Balor after the aforementioned tag match, it won’t surprise anyone if the grizzled veteran (who’s just a year and a few months older than Balor) becomes the Irishman’s next Intercontinental Championship rival, in a battle of WWE lifer versus longtime indie darling.