Finn Balor: The Path to the Universal Title

In regards to some of the more high profile matches, WWE officials tend to pencil in WrestleMania main events early. As a matter of fact, sometimes their matches are even penciled in before the current year’s WrestleMania even takes place. Such is the case with the upcoming WrestleMania in New Orleans.

Before the rollercoaster tracks were put in place in Orlando last April, the plan has been for Brock Lesnar to defend the Universal Championship against Roman Reigns. All roads appear to still be leading in that general direction. For the sake of this article, I’m not going to act blind to that fact that WWE wants Reigns and Lesnar at WrestleMania. Like it or not, unless the Undertaker returns, Reigns will be in the title mix.

For the potential challenger, much to the chagrin of his biggest critics, Roman Reigns has had one of the most memorable years of his career in 2017. As of now, he has retired the Undertaker, knocked John Cena off his pedestal, and had one of the most hellacious feuds in recent memory with Braun Strowman. He isn’t taking up space on the top of the mountain based on name alone and has really begun to carve his legacy into the WWE landscape. Say what you want about Roman Reigns but on paper, he deserves to be towards the top of the WrestleMania card. If you disagree, chances are your hate is outweighing your judgment.

Brock Lesnar has been your reigning and occasionally defending universal champion for about six months now. Unlike some of his title reigns in the past, the matches in which he has defended the belt have been challenging. Opponents like Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman have helped make this title run a more credible one. No matter how frustrating Brock Lesnar’s lack of appearances might be, whenever he does lace up his boots, the wrestling world is watching. Both Lesnar and Reigns have undoubtedly earned top billing in New Orleans this April. Earning it though doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll be welcomed with open arms by the fans.

This isn’t exactly a news flash but deserved or not, the last thing a majority of the WWE universe wants in the universal title match at WrestleMania is Roman Reigns against Brock Lesnar. On one side of the coin, this match already has a big fight feel may need another angle to reel in an overly critical WWE universe.

On the other side of that coin, WWE doesn’t always book their matches to appease the masses. The biggest evidence of that is that the last time the Royal Rumble took place in Philadelphia. Roman Reigns would end up victorious against 29 other superstars and would be hammered with boos. The frustration would be so overwhelming that not even Dwayne Johnson could relive the tension. Let us suppose that this one time, WWE wanted to be ahead of the curve. Let’s assume they didn’t want another Royal Rumble in Philadelphia to be dominated by the boo birds.

If WWE is hellbent on having Lesnar and Reigns fight for the belt, it may behoove WWE to make the universal title match at WrestleMania a triple threat match. Who could be that third competitor to help ease the angst of the WWE universe? Perhaps it is the superstar who never actually lost the universal title. Finn Balor would relinquish the title just as fast as he would win it following a shoulder injury at SummerSlam in 2016. After a long road back, Balor would make his triumphant return at the RAW after WrestleMania this past April. Despite being involved with some number one contender matches, he never truly got his chance to win the title back. The road for Balor getting into the title picture at this point would be for him to win the Royal Rumble.

To make this story gel, words between Reigns and Lesnar would need to start prior to Balor winning the rumble. This is an easy fix and has been brought up by Paul Heyman before. The discussion can become, of the only two men to defeat the Undertaker at WrestleMania, which superstar is the best. Better yet, for the millionth time, it’ll be asked, just who’s yard is it. That is a story that writes itself. This is why Balor will need to win the Rumble. That is the best way for him to throw his hat in the mix. Never losing the title and winning the Royal Rumble puts him at the front of the line to join the main event.

This idea really solves multiple problems. One problem solved is that when Lesnar isn’t at RAW, the Universal title program isn’t on hold. Whenever the champion isn’t contractually obligated to appear, Heyman could share the promo floor with Reigns and or Balor. Secondly, remember when WWE tried to convince us that the WrestleMania XXX title match would be Randy Orton vs. Batista? Pulling the trigger on a triple threat sooner rather than later can avoid that potential angst.

The last problem this potential match solves is if Balor isn’t wrestling for the belt, who exactly does he wrestle? Surely they don’t intend to continue this Bray Wyatt feud through April, right? My prediction will be that Braun Strowman will be feuding with Samoa Joe. It also appears they are paving the way for an Ambrose and Rollins match. There is nowhere within reason for Balor to go.

Should Finn Balor be in the Universal Title match?

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Considering the history that WWE has of being stubborn with removing main players from their penciled in title matches, I say that simply adding Finn Balor is what is best for business!

Writing credit goes to Michael Hauff
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