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Finn Balor appeared on Ryan Satin’s Out of Character with Ryan Satin podcast ahead of his NXT Championship match against reigning champion Karrion Kross on tonight’s episode of NXT in a wide-ranging interview.
When asked about how much of the real person he imbues into his character, Balor said this is the closest he’s been to performing as himself. He said the initial years in NXT, becoming a babyface after being such a successful heel in New Japan, was a learning process that made him a better performer.
Satin pressed Balor specifically on the “Demon” character Balor employed for marquee matches in the past. Balor said he was able to develop a character for the Demon and though it’s been a while, he said the Demon will be seen again. He also said the process to become the Demon, body paint and all, is a “taxing” four to five hours.
Satin mentioned Kevin Owens as one of Balor’s best opponents during his first NXT run, and Balor added Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe to the list. He credited Joe with teaching him how to have a different style of match and not to have to be smooth all of the time. He also said the most memorable moment of his career was losing the NXT Championship to Joe at a house show in Lowell Mass.
Moving to his time on Raw, Balor said he had no idea he was going to be “shot to the top.” He also dismissed the “what if” regarding his injury that caused him to relinquish the Universal Championship, saying he debuted at SummerSlam and beat Seth Rollins to become the first Universal Champion and he wouldn’t have thought that was possible as a child. He said that time was a learning experience.
Balor said his injury time was the first time he allowed himself to “digest the whole journey.” He also said that not having to defend the title led to “not having to lose any integrity because of that,” and really sees the whole thing as a net positive.
In terms of recovery, Balor his return from the injury was the most difficult time of his career. He attributed this to not only having to relearn how his “shoulder worked and my body moved,” but he only had a few matches on Raw and now had to learn how to wrestle for live television on Monday nights as opposed to the then-taped structure of NXT. With the added pressure he put on himself, he said he only felt like he found his footing after a house show match at Madison Square Garden with Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre.
In possibly the biggest news, when Satin asked about the “allure of returning to the main roster,” Balor said it “absolutely” interests him. He said he’s “definitely hopeful” to return to either Raw or Smackdown and listed off Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, and A.J. Styles as who he wanted to face.
He said he also wants another go at Brock Lesnar, saying their match was one of those matches where he just wanted to “bottle that feeling.” When asked about the rumor that Lesnar requested the match, Balor said he wasn’t sure. He did indicate they had a brief encounter when he was a Young Boy in New Japan when Lesnar was the IWGP Heavyweight Champion and said the same feeling and aura he felt with some of his big matches in New Japan he felt in his match with Lesnar.
Other topics included his match with The Fiend at SummerSlam 2019, the meaning of his space tattoo on his hand and his fascination with outer space, his “100 percent” belief in aliens, the office coming to him to shift back to NXT (including pitching being barefoot “for a little while), being the “Prince” character as a tweener instead of a face or heel, NXT then vs. NXT now, the brutality of the first match with Kyle O’Reilly and the broken jaw he suffered, the uncertainty of the timeline regarding the broken jaw recovery, the intensity of Kross, building a relationship based off of the mutual experience of injured shoulders, his opinion of if Kross has “it,” his most memorable and favorite person to hit with the Coup de Grace, and which Coup de Grace he would take back.
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