WWE Extreme Rules 2017: Finn Balor Cannot Win the Fatal 5-Way


If the WWE grants their niche audience’s wishes and crowns Finn Balor the winner of the upcoming Fatal Five-Way at Extreme Rules, it would be a monumental mistake and just a terrible look for the WWE.

Following an injury that sidelined Braun Strowman for multiple weeks, due to elbow surgery, the WWE and their creative team were forced to scramble as to how to make the Universal championship relevant (considering the actual champ is never on the show).

As a result, they booked a Fatal Five-Way match at the upcoming Extreme Rules “pay-per-view” featuring Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, and Balor in which the winner will become the new No. 1 contender for the Universal title held by Brock Lesnar.

Without much rhyme or reason, these are the five superstars chosen for the match.

We can sit and deliberate who should win, but let’s go over who should absolutely not win: Balor.

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Before we examine why this is the case, there are some compliments in order for Balor. In the ring, Balor has a solid move set and is an OK worker, but not the best in my eyes. Balor also has an incredibly interactive entrance that not only makes the house pop, but I’m sure little kids (and probably some grown men) across the globe stand up and throw their arms to the side along with Balor. And, as it was mentioned, Balor hasn’t gotten a shot at the title that was once his.

However, there are issues with the Balor character, gimmick, how WWE has booked him, and the overall believability of a Balor vs. Lesnar matchup.

Let’s start with the booking.

Since Balor made his return on Mar. 4, he has competed in nine matches ranging from a random tag-team partner of Rollins to Jinder Mahal and Curt Hawkins jobbing to him. In addition to these, he was a participant in a No. 1 contender match for the Intercontinental Championship with The Miz and Rollins which resulted in Miz winning after interference from Wyatt that cost Balor the match.

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Now, unless we’re missing something here, that whole incident was never addressed again on RAW—you know, Wyatt messing up the match for Balor and costing him a shot at the Intercontinental title.

Since that No. 1 contender match, Balor has beaten Miz, lost to Reigns, beat Karl Anderson, and lost a triple threat match to Joe and Wyatt, sequentially—the Anderson match was pointless and the triple threat was just another one of WWE’s “we have multiple guys in the same match so let’s create a random combination just because” matches.

Since Balor has been on the main roster, the casual fan is not all that familiar with who he is. Sure, there is a core group of fans that have followed Balor forever and understand the gimmick, but the casual fan doesn’t understand what this guy is all about.

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We saw his demon alter-ego at SummerSlam against Rollins a year ago, but have not seen it since.

When we saw it at SummerSlam, it was just the same ol’ Balor, but this time without the leather jacket and being The Fonz and just a guy with paint all over his body—nothing else was different about him.

Now, look, if a character is supposed to have a demon alter-ego, it needs to be different. I’m no demon expert, but something tells me a demon would act just a little different than the same guy, but with paint all over his body.

The casual fan needs to see what makes Balor tick, what unleashes that demon alter-ego. It’s incredibly bizarre if it’s solely for “pay-per-views” and not indicative of a certain storyline—it’s just odd and forced.

Sure, the masks and the demon merchandise probably sells well, but this is not going to excite a casual fan one iota—it makes no sense.

In the same night of Balor’s defeat of Anderson (which still makes really no sense), Balor cut a promo with Paul Heyman, the advocate for Lesnar. To me, Balor lacked passion in his speech and it was clear that Heyman was doing his best to put him over and make him seem like a competent opponent for Lesnar (which he is not).

At the end of this past weeks RAW, Balor requested a match from general manager Kurt Angle and he got one—a triple threat with Wyatt and Joe.

Again, this is typical WWE: There’s a match with multiple participants, so leading up to it we’ll just mix and match them leading up to the pay-per-view because the only dedicated fan base they have are a group of people who only care about wrestling matches.

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Newsflash: This is a television show. It needs storylines. It needs a reason for people to get invested.

By the time this week’s RAW happens, we’ll finally see Wyatt and Balor competing against one another, but how many people actually remember Wyatt screwing Balor over? It will have been four weeks by that time. This is simply just a match to cater to the wrestling marks—nothing else.

If Balor wins and he is to go toe-to-toe with Brock Lesnar at Great Balls of Fire, there is no chance I could convince a friend of mine who used to watch in the Attitude Era to come back to wrestling and watch this match. It is not believable whatsoever.

Yes, believe it or not, wrestling should try to be believable.

For one, just look at Lesnar and look at Balor—the size discrepancy alone should convince you of that.

Oh sure, this could be a “David vs. Goliath” kind of match, but this should be an instance where David gets annihilated.

We have no build-up to the demon character and it is no different from Balor with the leather jacket.

Outside of Balor showcasing some moves that Lesnar hasn’t seen in a while, Brock should beat Balor in well under 10 minutes.

A loss for Balor is not a bad thing and the WWE creative team can make it great if booked correctly.

For example, we could see Balor become unhinged. Not only because he lost, but because he has been screwed out of an Intercontinental title match, he never got a legitimate rematch, and in the Fatal Five-Way match, you can have someone cost him the match in some way, shape, or form.

Balor becoming angry could tap into his demon character and show us a whole other side of Balor and make the demon character relevant again.

A heel Balor combined with his demon persona? That’s money right there.

A babyface Balor who only walks around in a leather jacket and occasionally puts paint on his body and acts no different and challenges Lesnar or god forbid even beats him? That’s just awful.

If WWE wants to continue to pull in ratings in the low-to-mid 2’s for the rest of their existence then yes, they should continue down a path of having Indy and New Japan darlings winning all of the time. But if you want to run a company and create entertaining television, do not book Balor to win this match—the dedicated two million people aren’t going anywhere regardless, but a possibility for fanbase growth could be even more stunted.

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Balor losing and tapping into his demon character is a great way to potentially draw more viewers and create compelling, entertaining television—an art WWE seems to be losing rapidly.