Finn Balor On His Broken Jaw Having Lasting Effects, Facing Pete Dunne at NXT Takeover

Finn Balor discussed his match with Pete Dunne at NXT Takeover: Vengeance Day, the lasting effects of his broken jaw from October and more in a new interview with the New York Post. You can check out the highlights below:

On his NXT matches feeling like “true fights”: “I definitely feel like I’m kind of working on a little different frequency recently in regards to what I want to do in the ring. It’s something that kind of suits my style more. I feel like maybe I was guilty of trying to please too many people at once and not really please myself in the past with some of my performances and I’ve gone back to what I really like in the ring, which is kind of like scrappy, gritty, mat wrestling, not too much high flying, not too much outside the ring and really get back to basics. That’s really what I’ve been focusing on is going back to the true essence of how I’ve been trained for six years in the United Kingdom. That’s kind of the direction I’ve been going recently. Whether I stay that way or if it continues to evolve I don’t know, but I’m certainly enjoying my work.”

On if his change in in-ring style was a conscious choice: “It was kind of a combination of things. It was a conscious effort for me in the sense that I wanted to return to my own technical roots. I think it was something that fitted in NXT. More importantly, it fitted in the no-fan environment of wrestling where the pacing of a wrestling match has to change and this was something that suited the cameras more, suited the people watching at home on TV more. You don’t have to rely on hoping to have that “holy s–t” moment, “fight forever” moment. It was more like a real true fight in the sense that you’re not hoping to get crowd reactions and crows chants, all these so-called pops. I was really just wrestling for myself and what I felt like was a good story.”

On Pete Dunne being the “perfect opponent” for him: “It certainly appears that way (laughs). For me, everyone’s a perfect opponent. I’ll find a way or I’ll work around regardless of their style, whether it’s Damian Priest who has a very distinct style, [Johnny] Gargano has a distinct style, Matt Riddle, Timothy Thatcher who has a completely different style and we tore it up at NXT (TakeOver XXX). I feel like for me the real challenge has been being able to adapt and kind of swim in the current of these guys’ different styles. Pete’s style is kind of very similar to where I’m at right now in the ring. So I think it’s either gonna be a clash or it’s gonna complement each other (laughs). So I don’t how the match is gonna look. It could either be great or it could be terrible. But Pete is someone who I’ve respected in the ring for a long time.”

On if he still has any lasting effects from his broken jaw: “Yeah, a lot. Grinding my teeth still a lot. Still in pain, still very reluctant to get any type of strike to the face, which was actually something that led to the arm injury in the match versus Kyle (O’Reilly) the second one. I was protecting the jaw so much I actually weakened my arm. One thing that still hasn’t come back is the feeling in my bottom lip. It’s still numb. It’s like I’ve been to the dentist and you get that shot. Pretty much my bottom lip down to my chin I’ve still got no feeling, but the doctors are a little hopeful that might come back in a couple of months. They say nerves take a little longer to heal. Sometimes you’ll see me out there now if I’m doing a promo licking my bottom lip more or I’ll be rubbing it a little bit. It still feels like there’s Novocain in there and it’s numb. It gets dry a lot. But apart from that, no, I feel 100 percent.”

On if he’s interested in a Fight Pit match: “Absolutely, 100 percent. I think Timothy is one of my favorite people to watch right now with regards to what he’s doing in the ring. I’ve seen part of the match he did with (Tommaso) Ciampa in the Fight Pit. It was fantastic. If there’s a chance for Finn to get in that Fight Pit, I would absolutely love it.”

On potentially defending the NXT Title at WrestleMania: “Ehh, it would be very cool but I feel NXT is something that is very close to my heart and NXT TakeOver at WrestleMania weekend is a huge event and a huge kind of flag bearer for NXT. And not having the NXT title match on TakeOver, if that’s gonna in any way damage the NXT brand, it’s something I’d rather stay away from. Once we’re protecting the NXT brand without having it diluted by the big show at WrestleMania it’s something I’d be willing to do. If there’s the possibility of defending the title back to back nights, TakeOver and WrestleMania, then I’m all for it.”

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