“Fuckin Finn Balor….what the fuck WWE?!?!? Did you just open up a book of generic Irish names, and the first one you sneezed on was the name you gave him? I knew WWE were going to ruin him…..soon as he signed on the dotted line, I just knew…”
Firstly, anyone who doesn’t like the name because they don’t like the name. That’s fine. If a dolphin touched yer balls and/or nips without your consent, and “Finn” brings those painful memories back, its fine to hate the name. If ‘Balor’ sounds too much like ‘Lenor’…the brand of fabric softener that rendered your favourite Pringle jumper a bobbly mess, it’s all good. There is no harm in disliking a name because when you hear it out loud, it makes you want to projectile vomit on your cat, and stick it to your dog. That’s fine, but this attitude that it’s all WWE’s fault is a common thing, and its completely and utterly daft, here are some reasons why.
He picked the name
Most people know this by now, but Fergal Devitt picked the new name himself. WWE have not let any Indie Wrestler keep their Indie name since CM Punk, because WWE are the biggest wrestling company in the world by a distance, and they don’t employ professional wrestlers. They employ entertainers. They employ people they can market and build a brand around, so it makes all the sense in the world for them to take the raw ingredients that made them sign someone in the first place, and build their own brand around them, whilst adding some finishing touches here and there. If its done correctly, you have yourself a Daniel Bryan. Someone who worked hard as fuck to get ‘over’ and find the right formula to become a superstar. That’s a case of the wrestler involved having all the right stuff, a willingness to change a winning formula on the indies so he can project himself to a wider audience, and a wee bit of luck and good timing to make it all the way to the top. It often doesn’t work out as well as that, but he’s the blueprint. Devitt was given full creative control over his name as far as I’m aware (Bryan was handed a list and told to pick his favourite, so that shows how WWE have progressed in terms of giving the wrestlers a say) and chose Finn Balor. Why did he chose Finn Balor I hear you ask?
His new name is cool as fuck
I was just like many people when I heard it. I sighed and made a snap judgement. “Fuckin generic Irish bollocks…ugh” and I was given a gentle nudge in the direction of research. Like most social media hounds, and internet junkies these days I don’t research anything. If it’s not something specifically wrestling related, or something else pertinent to my interests (porn) I make my judgements, tweet them out in as condescending a way as possible, and judge anyone you doesn’t explicitly agree with my stupid pish. After researching it, I found the name to be not only cool as fuck, but extremely fitting. Loosely translates to “warrior double stomping perfect abdominal having wrestling genius of irish descent….probably with great teeth too…he seems like he really takes care of his teeth” but I don’t speak Ireland, so have a wee look into it yourself, by clicking the probably wildly inaccurate wikipedia links below.
The point being, the name wasn’t something off the cuff, or something some arsehole in a tailored suit sitting in an office with his thumb up his arse came up with (Hi Vince x) Fergal Devitt quite obviously spent time thinking about a name which he’d feel comfortable carrying forward after some extremely fruitful years as Prince Devitt. Truth be told, there really wasn’t anything left for Prince Devitt to conquer on the Indie circuit, and he had (for me) more than proven he’s the best professional wrestler currently active right now, so where else could that name really go? Wrestling is different from other professional sports in the sense that, when you make the step up to the big leagues, it’s not simply a case of you raising your performance level..EVERYTHING has to come up. For a wrestler to make the step up to WWE, every single facet of what they do has to be marketable and relatable to a wider audience. Many of whom will have never heard of Prince Devitt. I know it seems unfathomable to us circle jerking fanboys that someone who has the cheek to call themselves a ‘wrasslin’ fan won’t have heard of Prince Devitt, but we are a very specific, peculiar bunch. The average WWE fan is a normal guy. Probably with a family, probably with sare knees, maybe a bit of adult onset acne, a penchant for liquidising cheeseburgers and sookin them through a straw…the usual everyday, working class fella/broad. Someone who doesn’t have time to trawl internet forums and social media sites to see Devitt’s latest cool as fuck entrance on whatever Indie he scorched that weekend. Type of person who probably hasn’t seen any of his scintillating run with the original Bullet Club. Maybe even a guy who HASN’T had a spare 3-4 hours on any given day to watch his match with Wolfgang over and over again and wish you could jump in a DeLorean and go back there. To a time where life involved less hip pain, and dislike for loud noises (that’s no really a progressive thing like, always fuckin hated loud noises) Just a guy. For those folk, it’s all about something eyecatching. For those folk it’s about you having something that makes them buy in, and the vast majority of them won’t give a fuck about the innovative bodypaint, or the REEEEEAL ROCK N ROLLA. So Finn Balor was born.
Its not the WWE’s fault when a darling of the indies fails
It really isn’t. Sorry to pish all over this myth, but people who have this mindset need to keep a few things in mind. For a start, nowhere else in wrestling has even a 10th of the reach WWE has. In terms of broad appeal, and having their finger on the pulse in terms of who’s worth a shot on the indies, WWE have it covered. Think about it, are there any legit top-level indie talents currently out there who WWE have completely ignored? People who haven’t even been handed a tryout? I’m struggling to think of any, and in most cases even a tryout can be enough to push performers to the next level. Richochet is an example of that. A guy who was knocked back by WWE, and has since gone on to become the new Devitt in a lot of ways. Producing heart-stopping performances everywhere he goes across the Indie globe. Everyone else has been given a fair crack of the whip. If not with WWE, then at least with TNA. It didn’t work out for some, but does that mean WWE ‘ruined’ them? Of course not. If you re-enter the indie scene after a WWE stint, you’ll be hot shit. I’d imagine your raised profile would mean more money, more bookings, more burds reads and willing to take your length, more free shit when you step into Subway and proudly declare that “MY NAME IS BROADUS CLAY…AND FUNK IS STILL ON A ROLL!” Pretty much all the good things in life, that’s for you now. The ex WWE guy.
It only hit home how fucking stupid that mindset was to me when I personally tore into WWE for their supposed mistreatment of Chris Hero (aka Kassius Ohno) The rumours were that management (aka beacon of beak, Triple H) were on him about his lack of willingness to put time and effort into his conditioning. I was outraged that Hero wasn’t given the platform to showcase the thing he does better than almost everyone in the world; Pro Wrestling. It was a source of rage that trivial matters like having a 6 pack, and being able to deadlift The Big Show with the Uso’s in his pockets, stopped us seeing Hero feud with Punk, Bryan, Ziggler, Titus O’Neil (OOWAH OOWAH OOWAH) and other such technical wrestling supremos, but he didn’t play the game. It’s as simple as that. He was in fine shape when he was in WWE. Far from perfection, but far from a big fat guy either, but no one knows how he was backstage. No one knows how he took criticism, and if he ever even gave it a go in the gym, and since he’s been released…well, I’m a big believer in letting words paint a picture when it comes to these things, but I have nothing to say that comes close to the story this picture tells…
Not judging him for packing on the beef right enough, when I look down at my own belly, I see pretty much the same thing. Complete with bigger, more shapely tits, but I’m not a professional athlete. Hero getting himself in this shape supposedly 7 months after his WWE firing tells you all you need to know about his dedication to conditioning and getting back there one day. Compare it to the effort Drew Galloway has put in since his release, the man who beat Hero for his EVOLVE Title last month, and its night and day. Point is, WWE ruins no one. If WWE sign a wrestler, and their career winds up worse off than it was beforehand, they probably weren’t much good to begin with. If you can’t make that exposure work for you in some way, even if it doesn’t work out in WWE, then you’re in the wrong profession. Chris Hero might be a bit chubby these days, but he’s still out there living the dream. I’m sure he has regrets, but I doubt he’d tell anyone WWE ruined him, because the WWE are not a retailer of carb heavy fried foods, which to my knowledge are the key causes of a condition like the one you see above (that condition being “You’ve goat a big fat belly! You’ve goat a big fat belly!”)
This blaming the WWE culture amongst the diehard wrestling fans has to fucking stop. Gie that pish a bye. Its nonsense. For all the WWE are all about maximizing profit and mainstream exposure, without them, wrestling is fuck all. Without them, no cunt on the planet would be making a full-time living from this, because they bring all the things that draw us to wrestling to the mainstream. They make people understand why we love, and even if they don’t get on board with it themselves, they have a better understanding of why we do when they see characters like The Undertaker set the world on fire when he makes his entrance. To demonise the company who made superstars out of guys like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan who started this with nothing but a dream, and a willingness to burst their arse to make it a reality will never not baffle me, and they continue to give guys like that a fair crack of the whip to this day. Think to yourself right now, who has the most engaging feud in WWE right now, and has had that for the best part of 6 months now? Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. Mox and Tyler ‘fuckin Black. They made their new names, and new personas work because talent always rises in pro wrestling. If you’re willing to marry that talent with hard work, and sacrifice, sky’s the fucking limit.
That’s why our Fergal will get there. When Triple H offers one of these fabled brass rings to Prince Devitt, Finn Balor will climb that ladder and grasp it, because talent always rises. In some way or another, Finn Balor will leave a mark on the wrestling landscape like no other man has dared to, and nothing trivial like a name change is stopping that.
Credit to David J Wilson for the Devitt pic