WWE NXT: Ranking the 10 best wrestlers in the Black and Gold brand’s history

WWE, Asuka (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
WWE, Asuka (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /
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3. Finn Balor

Finn Balor has become almost synonymous with the NXT brand. Although he had success on Raw and SmackDown as the first-ever Universal Champion and an Intercontinental Champion with a memorable feud against Seth Rollins, his accomplishments on the “main roster” can’t even hold a candle to the impact he’s made on NXT.

Like Sasha Banks and Bayley, Balor played a vital role in putting NXT on the map. Before Adam Cole destroyed the record book, Balor had the longest NXT Men’s Title reign in history at 292 days. His consistency was remarkable as the face of the brand, putting on great matches with anyone and everyone.

Seriously, look at the resume. Balor had great matches with Shinsuke Nakamura, Samoa Joe, Kevin Owens, and Apollo Crews in his first run as champion. He even competed in tag team matches in the Dusty Rhodes Classic. The man basically did it all, and pushed a LOT of merchandise with his ingenious “Demon King” character.

Now in 2020, Balor is a completely different player in WWE NXT, though he remains just as influential. He’s boosting the next generation of wrestlers in NXT, though he’s still doing very well for himself, looking like the favorite to pick up the NXT Title on Sept. 8 against Cole.

Balor’s second run in NXT has been all about quality. Whether it’s Matt Riddle, Keith Lee, Adam Cole, Damian Priest, Cameron Grimes, or Timothy Thatcher, Balor is working with wrestlers up and down the card and putting on good-to-great matches with all of them.

His promos and character work? Arguably getting better with age, as he now has an opportunity to show his skills as something more mirroring his legendary character in NJPW. NXT has been a place where Balor can feel comfortable in his shoes as a wrestler, and he’s given a lot back to the Black and Gold brand.