Despite having rehabilitated an injured shoulder, which he suffered at last year’s SummerSlam, Finn Balor was kept off WrestleMania 33 in Orlando.
“I was obviously heartbroken not to be included at WrestleMania,” Balor said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinal. “There was talk about putting me in the Royal Rumble [in January] but when I missed that deadline by a week or 10 days, everything was put on hold [creatively]. WrestleMania just wasn’t meant to be.”
Instead, Balor returned the following night on Raw, earning one of the loudest cheers of the night.
“That night was definitely a weight lifted off my shoulders,” Balor said. “The crowd was incredible – a real hometown-boy reaction. It was very poetic that I made my return back in Orlando.”
Since returning, Balor has been chasing the Universal Championship, which he relinquished last year after his injury. He is now feuding with Wyatt, who he will face at SummerSlam
“Bray is an interesting cat,” Balor said. “I’ve admired him for a long time. I think he’s one of the most underrated talents we have in the ring and on the mic if you can ever get the mic off of him. He’s a huge man – it’ll be hard to get a hold on him when I can’t get my arms around him – but I look forward to adapting my style for him. I’m a big fan of seeing smaller guys vs. big men.”
Balor also says his goals in wrestling have changed immensely since his debut at age 18 in 2000.
“When I first broke in, I wanted to be the best technical wrestler on the planet,” Balor said. “That was what I enjoyed, being in the ring in the moment and being the best athlete. When I was about 12 years in, something clicked and I realized there was more to it than that, the performance side of it.”