NXT Champion Finn Balor spoke to the New York Post to promote NXT Takeover: Vengeance Day, which airs live this Sunday on the WWE Network. Balor spoke about defending the NXT Championship against Pete Dunne, recovering from a broken jaw and more.
Balor feels like he’s working on ‘a little different frequency’ lately, when talking about his ring work. He says NXT matches feel like real fights, which is the way he was trained to wrestle in the UK.
“It’s something that kind of suits my style more,” Balor said. “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.”
WWE presents a very specific type of wrestling on Raw and SmackDown. The wrestlers have to be hyper-aware of the fact that they are on television, play to the camera and strive for that “fight forever” moment. NXT is more of a “back to basics” style. Finn Balor says he made a conscious effort to get back to his technical roots and he feels more comfortable.
Finn Balor on His 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, Gargano has a distinct style, Matt Riddle, Timothy Thatcher who has a completely different style and we tore it up. 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.”
Lasting Effects of his Broken Jaw
Finn Balor says he’s still dealing with the lasting effects of breaking his jaw last year. He is still in pain, grinds his teeth a lot and is very reluctant to take any strikes to the face.
“One thing that still hasn’t come back is the feeling in my bottom lip,” said Balor “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.”
Finally, Finn Balor discussed the possibility of defending the NXT Championship at WrestleMania. It sounds like a cool idea, but NXT typically holds Takeover events during WrestleMania. If it means that the NXT Championship match would have to take place at WrestleMania instead of Takeover, he’d rather not do that.
“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.”