2019/08/12   |   Posted by   |   (0) Comments

   

Digital | Screen Captures

We go to the ring and out comes Finn Balor first. Balor waits until the Firefly Funhouse intro starts up. This quickly goes into a darker entrance. The screen flashes “LET”… “HIM”… “IN” and then Wyatt appears on the stage, as The Fiend. The Fiend marches to the ring with new music. The arena lights up with phones. The Fiend is carrying Wyatt’s lantern but it has a mold of Wyatt’s head around it, so the lantern is inside Wyatt’s head. The Fiend places the head on the apron, facing the ramp. The Fiend enters the ring and yells out. He hits the corner to wait as the lights continue to flash. The lights come on and The Fiend is staring Balor down from the corner. Balor is on the outside. Fans chant “holy s–t!” now.

They lock up and The Fiend slams Balor down by his neck. The Fiend stomps and takes his jacket off. Wyatt stomps again and sends Balor into the ropes, knocking him down with a headbutt. Wyatt takes Balor to the corner and works him off. Fans chant “Yowie! Wowie!” now. Balor fights from the corner but Wyatt whips him across the ring. Wyatt turns upside down and stops Balor in his tracks. Balor charges but The Fiend locks him up and slams him to the mat.

Wyatt grabs Balor in the middle of the ring while Balor is on his knees, and snaps his neck. Balor falls to the mat. Wyatt delivers a big Uranage. Wyatt gets down in Balor’s face, crawling over and then back. Wyatt stops and looks down at his own hands. Wyatt backs into the corner and acts like he’s hearing voices in his head or something. Wyatt grabs Balor and goes for Sister Abigail but Balor slides out and hits a Slingblade. Balor dropkicks Wyatt and unloads with strikes. Balor tackles Wyatt and stomps.

Balor with more offense as Wyatt goes down. Balor goes to the top for Coup de Grace but Wyatt catches him in the Mandible Claw on the way down. Balor goes out and Wyatt pins him for the three count, still with the Claw applied.

File under: PPV WWE
2019/07/30   |   Posted by   |   (0) Comments

   

Digital | Screen Captures

Back from commercial and the match is already under way. Balor with a forearm to Ziggler. A flying forearm takes Ziggler out. A kick to the face and down goes Ziggler. Balor with an elbow across the throat. He goes for the cover but Ziggler kicks out. Balor goes for the sling blade, Ziggler ducks and delivers the fameasser. He goes for the cover but Finn kicks out.

Ziggler preparing for the sweet chin music but Balor with the sling blade. A clothesline takes Ziggler to the outside. The lights go out in the arena, we see flashes of the Fiend walking as the lights go out again. The lights turn back on and the sweet chin music by Ziggler. He goes for the cover and gets the pin.

Winner: Dolph Ziggler

File under: Smackdown Live Results WWE
2019/07/23   |   Posted by   |   (0) Comments

   

Digital | Screen Captures

Back from commercial, Finn Balor is interviewed about the rough patch he’s been going through of late.

He says he doesn’t know how Bray Wyatt’s mind works and he doesn’t know if he’s settling an old score or if he’s here for something new, but he can’t explain any of his new gimmick. He says Bray is more twisted and messed up than ever, but he’s stared fear in the eyes before and he’s not gonna back down now. So Bray Wyatt or the Field or whatever, he’s here to challenge him to a match at SummerSlam!

An episode of Firefly Fun House plays on the tron. Bray says hi to Finn and calls him brave. He says it’s inspiring and that’s why he and Mercy and Rambling Rabbit are such big fans of Balor. The Fiend, however, isn’t such a fan, and the Fiend officially accepts his challenge! The Fiend is no man, the Fiend is an abomination, the Fiend is power, and the Fiend remembers.

File under: Smackdown Live Results WWE
2019/07/16   |   Posted by   |   (0) Comments

   

Digital | Screen Captures

The storied rivalry between Joe and Balor reignites as the bell rings and Joe forces Balor to the ropes before shoving him. Balor grabs Joe but eats an elbow for his trouble. Joe grounds Finn with a wristlock but Finn kips-up and takes a headlock. Joe tries to fight Balor off but he holds onto the headlock. Joe gets Finn in a crucifix pin and wins!

As soon as the match ends Joe attacks Finn. He grabs the Irishman and applies the Coquida Clutch but Balor rolls backwards and out, then delivers a double foot stomp. Finn dropkicks Joe into the corner, then hits the Coup de Grace.

Balor’s is celebrating when all of a sudden his music cuts out and the lights go out. The lights go back up and The Fiend, Bray Wyatt, is in the ring, holding Balor. He delivers Sister Abigail before posing. The lights go out and we hear Bray laughing as we head to a commercial.

File under: RAW Results WWE
2019/07/03   |   Posted by   |   (0) Comments

   

Photoshoots

An extraordinary man who does extra-ordinary things”, is the line that regularly accompanies Finn Balor’s entrance music as he walks down the ramp towards the ring. Sporting his customary leather jacket with the collar popped up and his personal logo emblazoned on the back, he has a Cheshire cat grin plastered across his face and a glint in his eyes. He suddenly crouches down and a beat later jumps up, throwing his head back and his arms out wide, the house lights blaze full beam, and every single one of the 20,000 people in attendance mimic him in unison. This is a man revelling in his element.

“I’m strangely calm when I’m walking to the ring,” Balor tells ShortList during a recent visit to the UAE. “All the anxieties and nerves that go through your head tend to happen before you walk out, so as soon as I step out from behind the curtain I feel at home. I just feed off the energy of the people cheering for you. It’s kind of peaceful.”

‘Peaceful’ isn’t exactly the term we were expecting to hear from a WWE superstar known for his high-flying, in-ring style. But his gravity-defying offense and natural charisma has been the catalyst in not only making him one of the most exciting professional wrestlers in the world today, but also positive proof that tireless hard work and passion pay off, eventually.

This year, that hard work culminates with an intriguing showdown at Wrestlemania on April 7, where he faces the monstrous, former UFC fighter Bobby Lashley in a rematch for the Intercontinental Championship – a title that Balor lost to him in controversial fashion a few weeks ago following some good ol’ pro-wrestling shenanigans.

“I’m excited about competing at Wrestlemania. For anyone involved in pro-wrestling the goal is always to be on the card at Wrestlemania,” he explains, comparing it to the Superbowl or the Champions League Final. The annual showpiece event has long been considered the pinnacle of the industry. “Last year was my first Wrestlemania match,” he says of his Intercontinental Championship bout against regular WWE headliners Seth Rollins and The Miz in New Orleans. “It was an incredible experience in front of 80,000 people, and hopefully I can go one step better this year and beat Lashley to reclaim my title.”

In any regular sport the idea of a fight between the 5’11” and 86kg Balor and the 6’4” and 124kg Lashley would be farcical, but that is what makes WWE’s brand of sports entertainment so intriguing. There’s simply no way the little guy could win. Or could he?

“There’s a lot more to wrestling than the actual wrestling,” Balor explains. “A lot of it is entertainment and part of that is telling particular stories. I’ve been working a lot with Lashley recently, not only is he so big, but he’s also fast,” he says. “I’ve always been intrigued by the David-versus-Goliath style matches growing up watching the likes of Andre the Giant, Big Show and Kane. It’s a skill to be able to work with guys of that size and telling the story in the most engaging way for the audience.”

Audience engagement is an absolutely vital part of the sports entertainment industry. The global appeal is vast. The WWE sees its programming broadcast in more than 180 countries and 25 languages weekly reaching more than 800 million homes worldwide. Last month the company surpassed one billion followers across its combined social media platforms. It is a bonafide entertainment juggernaut, with four different ‘brands’ (RAW, Smackdown Live, NXT and 205 Live), its own subscription network (WWE Network), its own film production company (WWE Films) and countless charity and CSR partnerships including the Special Olympics – with the World Games recently held in Abu Dhabi.

For all its global success, there is still some push back from mainstream who struggle to shake the same dated trope of it being a ‘fake sport’. It is a comment that is met with a collective eye-roll from the ‘WWE universe’ (the name the company gives to its audience), especially in a time when the rapid rise of E-sports is starting to reshape the global sporting landscape, and cinemas are clogged up with seemingly endless CGI-heavy superhero films.

Speaking of superheroes, the commitment undertaken by Balor and his fellow WWE superstars is nothing short of superhuman. Since the WWE launched its flagship weekly television show, Monday Night Raw, in January 1993 it has been airing live every single week. Broadcasting from a different city every week the schedule of its performers is relentless. “Last year I spent a total of 44 days at home. The rest of it was on the road with all the events we do,” says Balor. “People always ask how do I do it, but I’ve been a wrestler for 16 years so now I think it would be a lot more difficult for me to not live this life.”

Despite his boyish good looks and cheeky schoolboy smile, at 37 years old Balor is a seasoned veteran in the industry that has seen him compete in various professional wrestling promotions around the world, earning himself an army of five million fans across his social media accounts, who are affably referred to as the Balor Club.

Born and raised in the small town of Bray, Ireland, Balor (whose real name is Fergal Devitt) worshipped stars such as The Ultimate Warrior and Shawn Michaels, but never dreamt that he would be emulating their incredible feats of athleticism someday.

With no wrestling schools set up in his country at the time, as a youngster he had to make do with competing in sports such as football and Gaelic football, before eventually getting the chance to pursue his dream aged 18 across the sea in England. After six years spent honing his style of wrestling, the young Devitt began what would turn out to be a star-making, eight-year career in Japan where he had become a world-renowned talent, delighting crowds on tours of Europe, Mexico and Japan, garnering acclaim for his acrobatic style.

Inevitably, the world’s biggest and most famous wrestling promotion, the WWE, came calling in 2014, and repackaged him under the moniker Finn Balor, a name derived from Irish mythology meaning ‘Demon King’.

In the WWE Balor quickly became one of the company’s hottest commodities, rocketing up the card, and within two years accomplished his greatest achievement to date when he pinned Seth Rollins at SummerSlam 2016, to become the first-ever Universal Champion, the newly-minted main title on the WWE’s flagship show Monday Night Raw. But it was a victory that was soured instantly, Balor dislocating his shoulder during the match after being powerbombed into the guardrail on the outside of the ring. A true professional, he would finish the match with one arm but due to the extent of the injury would be forced to relinquish the title the next night and undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum, keeping him on the sidelines for six months.

“That was a rollercoaster day,” he recalls. “I felt like I was in the best shape of my life, I felt like everything was in order and I had finally made it to the very top of my profession after 16 years of working.” says Balor. “Just after I did it, I remember sitting on the floor outside of the ring thinking how typical it was of me to put yet another obstacle in my way just when I was exactly where I had worked my whole life to be!”
Injuries are a major blow for any professional athlete, let alone in a profession with such a plethora of hungry new talent, and limited spots available under the bright lights. How did he deal with it mentally?

“I genuinely believe that it happened for a reason and I feel that I grew from the experience,” he says. “I’ve been wrestling full-time for 16 years, so when I got injured it forced me to take time off. It helped me recalibrate and refocus on everything. I got to go spend time with my family, refocus on myself – my real life – and it allowed me to think about everything I have actually achieved in my career. You have to look at the positives.”

“Honestly, I would not change it. I got to achieve everything I wanted to in terms of being Universal Champion and then it was taken away. It made me want to work harder,” he says. “When you get to the top of the mountain, what are you going to do? It put me back at the bottom of the mountain, and I’ve been climbing back ever since. Plus it gave me a good storyline for my comeback!”

The element of good-versus-bad storytelling themes lies at the absolute heart of the wrestling industry. Something that Balor is very well versed in, just as comfortable playing the role of a ‘heel’ (bad guy) as he is a ‘babyface’ (good guy). His highly anticipated return brought with it the re-emergence of his famed alter-ego, the demon.

Ever the entertainer, Balor unleashes the demon when called upon – stalking the ring in a full-on, comic book-style set of body paint and make-up. It is spectacular viewing, but best used sparing to maximise its impact. “It’s a nice kind of trick to pull out of the bag,” he laughs.

“Sometimes it’s the element of surprise that makes it special. When we don’t reference it too much in the storyline and then it comes out of the blue, that’s what creates a really special moment for the crowd.”

As you may expect from a globe-trotting WWE talent, Balor’s visit to the UAE is a fleeting one. He is in town as part of the company’s partnership with the Special Olympics, a relationship that has particular importance to Balor. “Being able to come out here for the Special Olympics World Games is something I’ve been wanting for a long time, and it’s a huge honour for me,” he says with a renewed burst of energy. “I’ve met the Irish athletes many times in Dublin, but I think I’m going to be more nervous walking out with them at the opening ceremony than I was walking out at Wrestlemania last year!”

Inclusion and acceptance is a cause of which Balor has been at the forefront of championing over the past year. Starting at Wrestlemania last year, he debuted a new creative direction and slogan: ‘Balor Club For Everyone’. Why is that the message he has chosen to get behind?
“I think in this day in age society seem to be so ready to divide everyone and put labels on everything they can,” he says. “When you look at things so narrowly it’s easy to focus on people’s differences, but when you take a wider perspective you’ll see that we all have the same goals, the same passions, the same desires. The WWE is a huge platform, and I want to stand for a message that is important, and much bigger
than myself.”

A small part of that all-inclusive message has been the WWE’s growing relationship in the Arabian Gulf, especially with several recent large-scale, live shows in Saudi Arabia: The Greatest Royal Rumble [April 2018] and Crown Jewel [November 2018].

“I was only involved in the Greatest Royal Rumble event but, from a personal standpoint, it was incredible to be involved in. I loved experiencing the culture and meeting some of the locals. I even made friends with a couple of people at a local gym in Riyadh that I still keep in contact with,” he says while glancing at his watch, ever-conscious of the time restrictions that dictate his life. Dubai now, Abu Dhabi later, then Chicago, New Jersey, Boston and eventually Wrestlemania on April 7, all without missing a beat. Balor certainly is an extraordinary
man, and he is revelling in it.

SOURCE: Shortlist Dubai

File under: Interviews
2019/06/07   |   Posted by   |   (0) Comments

   

Digital | Screen Captures

They lock up and Andrade caught him with a running knee strike in the corner. Balor took him down and hit a standing footstomp. Andrade fought back with a series of suplexes. Andrade with a chin lock but Balor fought back. They trade right hands. Balor with a drop kick. Both men hit a double clothesline but it’s Balor who sends him to the floor and hit an outside dive. Back in the ring, Balor hit a brain buster for 2.

Andrade blocked the slingblade but moments later connected with it. Andrade with a big boot but it just fired up Balor. Andrade with a head kick and running knee in the corner for 2. Andrade went to the top rope for a moonsault but Balor put his knees up. They trade strikes then Andrade went for a powerbomb off the apron but Balor caught him with a foot stomp. Back in the ring, Balor hit a double foot stomp for 2.

Andrade caught him with a knee strike and hit the DDT finisher for 2. Balor with a powerbomb and went to the top rope but Andrade stopped him with strikes. Andrade went for a spring board move but Balor blocked and hit a DDT followed by the double foot stomp for the win.

Winner: Finn Balor

File under: PPV WWE
2019/06/05   |   Posted by   |   (0) Comments

   

Digital | Screen Captures

Finn Balor makes the save, Almas with forearms but Balor gets the double leg into the double stomp! Punches in the corner, boots, Sling Blade, fired up and Zelina Vega runs interference to cut him off. Knees, hammerlock and he SPIKES the Intercontinental Champion with the DDT!

File under: Smackdown Live Results WWE
2019/04/18   |   Posted by   |   (0) Comments

   

Digital | Screen Captures | WWE.com Exclusive

Finn Balor makes his entrance, he’s been drafted to SmackDown!

Circling, collar and elbow, side headlock, shot off, shoulder block and Ali kips up! Back to the lockup, go-behind, Balor with a hammerlock and back to the side headlock, wrenching it in, shot off, drop down, off the ropes, pop-up dropkick ito a side headlock takeover and Mustafa is in control. Block the headscissors counter on the first try, Finn gets it on the second, Ali pops out of it and back into the side headlock!

Balor goes for a pin, posts to his feet, passes Mustafa into the corner, up and over, back elbow catches him off the ropes but it’s only good for one! Scoop and a slam, off the ropes, powerdrive elbow, only two and Finn goes for a kneeling armbar to follow it up. Pressing a knee into his back, Ali pops to his feet but Balor takes him right back down.

Out of the hold, chops against the ropes, whip across, Mustafa catches himself in the ropes, boot, headscissors takeover puts the Intercontinental Champion on the floor and a kick blocks him from coming back in, off the ropes… TOPE SUICIDA TO SEND US TO BREAK!

Back from commercial, Balor’s in control with a knee lift and a chop in the corner. To the next corner, whip across, running chop, another whip across, another chop, a third try gets sidestepped and Ali hits the gamengiri! Rolling thunder X-Factor, Mustafa follows it up with whips into chops of his own, Finn ducks a lariat and hits the inverted headlock elbow drop for two!

Sling Blade, Balor charging out of the corner… SUPERKICK CUTS HIM OFF BUT CAN’T PUT HIM AWAY! Gutwrench, Finn rams him into corner, shoulder thrusts get a knee, tornado DDT attempted but Balor cuts him off and lays him out! Finn up top, Mustafa cuts him off with a dropkick and climbs to join him. Jockeying for position… AVALANCHE FRANKENSTEINER FOR TWO!

Up top, 450 splash, nobody home but Ali lands on his feet! Shotgun dropkick sets him up, Finn climbs… after hitting Ali he goes for the pin fall picking up the win.

Balor offers a hand to Ali and the former Freelance World Champion accepts and shakes his hand.

Finn Balor wins by pinfall with Coup de Grace.

File under: Smackdown Live Results WWE
2019/04/16   |   Posted by   |   (0) Comments

   

Digital | Screen Captures

They lock-up and Andrade floors Finn from behind, before sending him into the corner and dropping him with a flying knee. Andrade follows-up with double running knees in the corner for a two count.

Finn counters Andrade and connects with a dropkick. Balor then reverses an Irish whip and hits another dropkick. Balor runs at Andrade, and hits him with a snap DDT. Andrade rolls from the ring and Finn looks for a soccer kick from the apron but Zelina gets dragged in front of Andrade and Finn halts. Andrade uses the distraction to swipe Finn and drop him on the apron to the floor.

Andrade is stomping Balor down in the corner. He looks for the double knees again but this time Balor avoids it. Finn attacks Andrade in the corner and hits a flying dropkick. Finn is favouring his left knee, and it causes him to pause and allows Andrade to take advantage.

Finn reverses Andrade to hit a reverse DDT for a near-fall. Sling-blade by Balor. He then looks for the corner dropkick but Andrade did a cartwheel into a Pele kick for a two count. Andrade scales the ropes for a moonsault but nobody’s home, however he landed on his feet and did another moonsault and Finn got his knees up. Finn then hit the corner dropkick and climbed the ropes for Coup de Grace but Andrade knocked him down. Andrade then looked for his signature hammerlock DDT but Finn rolled him up for a near-fall.

Andrade was clotheslined from the ring and Finn hit him with a tope. Finn tossed him back into the ring but then Zelina Vega came off the apron with a hurricanrana to Finn while the referee was tending to Finn. Vega sends Finn back inside, where Andrade hit the Hammerlock DDT for the win.

File under: RAW Results WWE
2019/04/09   |   Posted by   |   (0) Comments

   

Digital | Screen Captures

The bell rings and the now-bald Zayn locks-up with Finn – Young has also returned to the commentary desk and refuses to speak on Dean Ambrose.

Zayn and Balor have a slow, feeling-out process of lock-ups and holds. Finn catches Sami with an arm-drag, then tosses him from the ring. Finn hits the ropes, looking for a dive, but Sami slides back in and tosses Finn out. Sami then runs for a dive but springboards off the ropes and lands on his feet in the ring and dances while Finn watches on.

Zayn takes a headlock but Finn shoots him off and connects with a big dropkick on the money. Finn applies wristlock to keep Zayn grounded. Sami forces Finn to the ropes, then chops him hard. He chops Finn around the ring but Balor fires back with a rolling dropkick and a double foot stomp. Balor then connects with some stiff chops of his own. Zayn looks for a springboard armdrag but Finn dodged it. They exchanged some stiff shots before Finn connected with the Pele kick and both men go down.

We return to see Finn knock Sami from the ring, then toss him right back inside. Finn looks for the slingblade but Zayn hits him with a blue thunder bomb for a near-fall.

Balor connected with a front dropkick in the corner, then scaled the ropes for the Coup de Grace but Sami moved. Zayn looked for a roll-up but Balor kicked out. Sami then hits an exploder suplex in the corner and looks for the Helluva Kick but Finn moves and Zayn falls. Balor then hits Coup de Grace or the win.

File under: RAW Results WWE