Finn Balor will forever go down in the history books as the first Universal Championship, even if he had to relinquish the title almost immediately due to injury. This Sunday, he seeks to hold the championship once again as he goes up against the current champion, Brock Lesnar.
Before clashing against the Beast, the Extraordinary Man sat down to speak with ESPN on his upcoming match and reflect on his career so far.
Of course, the subject of his 2016 Universal Championship win came up and Balor had the following to say:
“I feel like when I became Universal Champion for the first time, I think perhaps — all things considered, looking back — it may have happened too soon, and I wasn’t ready. And that was just … that injury was kind of the universe’s way of saying, ‘Hey, Finn, time to knuckle down and work a little harder,” said Balor.
According to Balor, the opportunity to face an opponent like Lesnar was one of the matches he dreamed of having since he came back.
“Believe or not, I’ve been envisioning this match since the day I came back from injury,” said Balor. “Obviously being a smaller guy, I always was a huge fan of Rey Mysterio versus Big Show or the likes of Shawn Michaels versus Diesel. And this was a match that I always felt needed to happen.”
“Obviously I didn’t expect it to be for the Universal championship at Royal Rumble,” Balor continued. “The way the stars were aligned, and the universe, [it] has provided me with an incredible opportunity to kind of redeem myself for perhaps not fulfilling my destiny with the first Universal title run.”
Balor also addressed the question about whether he would be channeling his Demon King persona this Sunday. The answer is: No.
“I feel like maybe I leaned on ‘The Demon’ too much there in the past as a crutch, and I can assure you that the man who faces Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble will be Finn Balor, the man,” Balor said.
Check out the full ESPN interview, where Finn also talks about his time (and pride) in being part of NXT here.