Finn Balor will face Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship at Extreme Rules tonight in Columbus. While Balor lost his first shot at "The Tribal Chief" earlier this month, the Irish Superstar has opted to revive his painted persona "The Demon" for the first time in over two years, which almost always spells victory for the two-time NXT Champion. He's got a 13-1 record as The Demon and a perfect 6-0 on the main roster as his only loss came when he faced Samoa Joe in a Steel Cage match back at NXT TakeOver: The End in June 2016. Balor seemingly retired the gimmick when he became "The Prince" during his second NXT run, but now that it's back it's the perfect time to reflect on Balor's history with the gimmick.
Do you think his demonic persona will be enough to bring Balor his second WWE Universal Championship reign? Or will it simply be the latest victim in Reigns' dominant championship run? Let us know in the comments below!
His NXT Days
Prior to arriving in WWE Balor had already made a name for himself in the pro wrestling world by donning elaborate bodypaint designs for some of his biggest matches, usually referencing famous comic book characters like Venom and Carnage. But that idea was tweaked when he arrived in WWE and debuted The Demon at NXT TakeOver R-Evolution in a tag match involving Hideo Itami and The Ascension. It was later explained that The Demon was Balor's darker alter-ego and that when he was brought it out it resulted in a much more aggressive Balor. The gimmick was almost exclusively saved for TakeOver matches, which included three title matches with Samoa Joe, two with Kevin Owens, one with Neville (AEW's Pac) and another against Tyler Breeze.prevnext
Balor vs. Seth Rollins — SummerSlam 2016
Balor was immediately inserted into WWE's main event scene when he was called up to the Monday Night Raw roster. He won a fatal four-way in his debut match, then beat Roman Reigns to advance to SummerSlam and challenge Seth Rollins for the new WWE Universal Championship. Despite Rollins openly mocking the bodypaint persona, Balor beat "The Architect" to become world champion. Unfortunately, that reign only lasted a single day as Balor suffered a torn labrum during the match.prevnext
Balor vs. Bray Wyatt — SummerSlam 2017
Balor's injury kept him on the shelf until April 2017. He then wound up in a months-long feud with Bray Wyatt and, after losing their first encounter, opted to revive The Demon for their second match at SummerSlam. Wyatt eventually teased using a "Sister Abigail" persona to combat The Demon, but the match was scrapped due to illness.prevnext
Balor vs. AJ Styles — TLC 2017
With Wyatt out of action, Balor was booked in a last-minute match with AJ Styles and pulled out a close victory. The two have hinted several times at reuniting while playing off the history they both share as members of New Japan's Bullet Club, but nothing has every materialized.prevnext
Balor vs. Baron Corbin — SummerSlam 2018
Balor was locked in a midcard feud with Baron Corbin throughout the Summer of 2018. And while the feud was fairly one-sided, Balor decided to surprise fans by bringing out The Demon for their second match at that year's SummerSlam. He promptly squashed Corbin in about 90 seconds.prevnext
Balor vs. Bobby Lashley — WrestleMania 35
Balor finally got another chance at the Universal Championship in early 2019, only to fall short against Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. He then immediately started a feud with Bobby Lashley, resulting in the two trading reigns as Intercontinental Champion while Lashley's manager Lio Rush repeatedly got involved. Balor finally decided to use The Demon at WrestleMania 35 and regained the IC title in about five minutes.prevnext
Balor vs. Andrade — Super ShowDown 2019
Balor's second Intercontinental Championship reign lasted a little over three months and during that time WWE went back over to Saudi Arabia for the Super ShowDown event. The company announced ahead of time that Balor would be competing as The Demon for a title defense against Andrade, even though there wasn't much of a storyline between the two. Balor then dropped the title to Shinsuke Nakamura and briefly feuded with Bray Wyatt before getting written off TV after The Fiend squashed him at the 2019 SummerSlam event.prev