How can one describe Finn Balor?
Well, to the general WWE fan, “scrawny” is probably the first adjective that comes to mind. Finn Balor started in the WWE Universe as a rumour from NXT. Word of his Demon persona spread fast, stirring up curiosity and anticipation for the day Balor would perform all “Demon-ed Out”. Yet, upon his 2016 WWE debut, many fans were faced with the reality of his normal size. Proving not an obvious threat, WWE had to make fans understand the myth that is Finn Balor. What came to light was that they had no idea how.
To understand Finn Balor, one must first look at the myth. The myth of Balor derives from Irish legend. It could very well be the inspiration for Sauron (The Eye) of Lord of the Rings. It is generally said that he was the leader of a race of dark supernatural beings. He developed a tremendous eye that when opened, annihilated all in its scope. This premise is very important. Though, Balor is a skilled and talented wrestler his run-of-the-mill frame leaves WWE fans wondering what is so special. The myth should have been the backbone of his presentation. Yet, it became clear early on that though WWE had the means to execute the concept, that didn’t necessarily mean they had the ability.
A demonic alter ego of Finn Balor’s size would have to demonstrate supernatural abilities to sell the lore. For a general audience to accept it and play along, some sort of hocus pocus should have been implemented. A common device is foresight or clairvoyance. Promos leading to a match with The Demon should have been filled with little personal nuggets about his opponents. They would be things he “couldn’t know”, unnerving them. He could have “appeared” and “disappeared” at times. When it came to the big match, WWE could have developed a stunning reveal where Balor begins in-ring gear but somehow “magically transforms” to the Demon in full makeup. All WWE was able to muster was a smoke machine and some lighting. Balor’s last WWE match was last year for Summer Slam. By then, WWE simply had the Demon mug the camera before the match. Obviously, they decided to sell him to the kids as a Halloween costume.
And so, at nearly 40, Finn Balor continues to reboot in NXT. There he can battle other wrestlers his size and skill level. He currently holds the NXT Championship; hopefully, that serves as some sort of consolation. Now, he is crafting another iteration in The Prince: same principles, less makeup. Grievously, Balor is yet another example of a larger problem. Though WWE has a creative department, it would appear they aren’t very creative. Looking at Balor’s matches, he’s not short on talent so the real problem becomes apparent again. It is startling. He’s not a big guy, so there’s no immediate spectacle. The spectacle was the Demon and WWE wasn’t willing to invest in developing the concept. They also weren’t very involved in creating a presentation strategy. They defaulted to seeing if kids bought it and left it at that. WWE wasn’t going to take the time to sell Balor to a wider audience. At this point, the question becomes why did they even bother?
The WWE Universe’s immature nature means WWE has to be very cunning when it comes to selling a wrestler. What’s coming to light is that they may not be so savvy. A wrestler has to know what to do with her/himself. Currently, WWE is willing to let a wrestler sink. That’s the benefit of having a wealth of talent to pick from. Someone else will come along and “swim”. If Finn Balor wants to get his overall gimmick to work, he’ll have to flesh it out himself. If he doesn’t, he’ll be forced to settle for what the WWE throws together.