We finally have our answer, Royal Rumble winner Edge will face Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. Most fans were debating the obvious choices of WWE Champion Drew McIntyre or the Universal Champion Roman Reigns. One name that seemed to slip through the cracks is that of reigning NXT Champion Finn Balor.
Here’s why the Rated R Superstar should have challenged the Prince at WrestleMania 37.
A Chance To Make History
A few years ago, the concept of the Royal Rumble winner choosing to face the NXT Champion at the grandest stage of them all would have been a ridiculous one. Fast forward to present day WWE and the concept really becomes a prospect.
From its early days as a developmental territory, NXT has rapidly become WWE’s third brand joining the ranks of Raw and SmackDown. The black and gold brand has however mostly kept insular, only mixing with the red and blue shows on special occasions – namely the Royal Rumble and Survivor Series events.
Never has this been more potent than at WrestleMania which had, until last year, been an NXT free zone.
WrestleMania 36 saw Women’s Rumble victor Charlotte Flair defeat the then NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley for the NXT Women’s Championship – the first and only time NXT gold has been defended at Mania. The scarcity of NXT matches is likely a direct result of the annual TakeOver events held during WrestleMania weekend.
For the men of NXT, their top prize has never been defended at WrestleMania. What could be a better way to assert the black and gold brand as a force in WWE than by having Rumble winner Edge challenge Finn Balor at the show of shows. A chance for both men to make history which, in modern-day wrestling, is no small feat.
A Match Made In Heaven
So why would Edge challenge Balor? We shouldn’t pretend that there’s a ready-made story between the two men because frankly, there isn’t. Having said that, I see some parallels that WWE would do well to mention if they were to go down this route.
Firstly, this would be a first-time match-up. In my last article for TWM, I wrote about how the first-time meeting between Balor and Pete Dunne at Vengeance Day could be a Match of the Year candidate and, without sounding arrogant, my prediction was right.
I believe I’d be right again in saying that a match between Balor and Edge is a far more exciting prospect than Edge vs McIntyre. No disrespect to the Scotsman who is on the run of a lifetime but I feel the current Balor, a man with heel and face tendencies, would take it to Edge far better.
Think about it, the grizzled veteran Edge coming into Balor’s world to win a championship that he’s never held. Don’t forget the fact that Edge is coming after the world title crown that he NEVER lost back in 2011.
This story would fit perfectly with Balor who, in 2016, had to relinquish his Universal Championship and never truly received another proper shot to regain it. The dynamic of both men knowing how it feels to relinquish a world title, with one of them looking to take it off the other, would make for engaging television.
The bookies have Roman Reigns as Edge’s likeliest opponent at WrestleMania and in fairness, the Tribal Chief vs the Ultimate Opportunist would certainly be a welcomed addition to the card.
With Reigns’ current character being someone hellbent on taking down anyone who attempts to usurp him as the big dog, I can see the resurgent Edge being a perfect foil. However, this writer has his heart set on one last hurrah for Daniel Bryan which leaves Edge open.
Logistically speaking, placing Edge prominently on NXT would be a smart choice for WWE as they battle AEW for rating supremacy every week. One of wrestling’s most recognisable stars, Edge would undoubtedly bring traction to the black and gold brand that has clearly been missing on Wednesday nights.
If they want NXT to be considered on par with Raw and SmackDown, WWE must bite the bullet and go all-in with putting one of their biggest names on the show.
We saw a brief glimpse of Edge vs Balor when they encountered each other on NXT a few weeks back, with Edge referring to Balor’s title as “intriguing”. That’s exactly what this proposition is, intriguing. We’d see a man introduced in the Attitude Era and perfected in the Ruthless Aggression Era, going toe to toe with a man who honed his craft in Europe and Japan before making a huge impact in WWE.
Balor himself has said that he would relish the opportunity to work with Edge. This means that we would see the very best of the Irishman who would want to make the most out of the chance.
A clash of generations that would smash expectations and make history, what more could you want from a World Championship match at WrestleMania 37?