– WWE NXT Champion Finn Balor recently spoke with Channel Guide Magazine to promote SummerSlam weekend and the NXT “Takeover: Brooklyn” event. The full interview is at this link. Below are highlights:
Being NXT Champion:
“Life hasn’t really changed as far as who I am. You still have to carry yourself day-to-day a certain way, whether you are NXT champion or not. So not much has changed, but the schedule has been hectic. I’ll admit that, but it is part of representing the company and what we are doing at NXT. That’s my responsibility now, and I’m happy to do it.”
His Ladder Match with Kevin Owens at Takeover:
“I wouldn’t say there is a lot of added pressure. Obviously, what we did in Japan was viewed by a lot of people and was a great spectacle. For me personally, it was one of the highlights of my career. It couldn’t have gone any better. I spent eight years in Japan and made this unsure decision to actually move to WWE. That ran in my mind whether I should come. Then I went through a pretty difficult adaptation to not only the Performance Center, but Florida, U.S.A., WWE. It was all very uncertain. I kind of went through all that with Kevin.
“Then a year later we return to [Ryougoku] Sumo Hall, the same building I had my first match in New Japan Pro Wrestling and the same arena I had my last match in New Japan. I invited all my friends. A year later I am back there with WWE and the NXT championship on the line live on the WWE Network. That story could not have been written any better. For some reason, going into TakeOver, the match feels so much bigger this time. I think it’s mainly due to the fact that in Tokyo it was a WWE show where TakeOver is an NXT show. We sold more than 13,000 tickets in Brooklyn. It’s NXT. We don’t just have a match or an act on the show. We are the show. We are excited to be in Brooklyn as a team, and we have to deliver.”
Uncertainty when he came to WWE at first:
“There was a lot of uncertainty when I came here whether this was the right decision or wrong decision. There were some downs in the beginning and that swung around. I made my debut and got a little bit of my confidence back. Things have been on the up-and-up. Every child has played video games growing up and played WWE games. To be part of a video game, it’s an unbelievable experience. I got the opportunity to do all the motion capture with 2K. They were amazing. Then I’m shooting a game commercial with Arnold Schwarzenegger. I then get a call that I’m going to Comic-Con the next day. I get to Comic-Con, and they tell me we have action figures coming out. I didn’t even know I was meant to be in L.A. to be with Arnold. I flew to L.A. and meet Arnold Schwarzenegger and then go to Comic Con. They show me drawings of action figures they are doing this year. So to say things are surreal is a huge understatement. I’m almost pinching myself every day. I’m sitting here at home and there is one of my WWE NXT t-shirts sitting on my chair. I can’t even believe that. It’s been an incredible year, and I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”
NXT Head Coach Matt Bloom:
“WWE realizes it can be difficult for foreigners to adjust to life here and have really been accommodating with that. I’m very grateful. I was helped by nearly everyone at the Performance Center, but one man I have to mention is Matt Bloom. We spent a lot of time together in New Japan. He came to Japan a few years prior to me. After his run with Tensai, he started coaching at the Performance Center. I must say if it wasn’t for him I’m not sure I would have lasted.
“He took me in and got me settled in. He helped me get my driver’s license. He helped me adjust to life in the United States. He is now head coach at the Performance Center. I can’t speak more highly of Matt Bloom and the help he gave me. With regards to in-ring work, Terry Taylor worked with me closely and helping me to adapt my style in NXT. I’ve had a lot of help top-to-bottom and am grateful for everyone.”
A potential match against The Undertaker:
“That would be a dream match for me to see Finn Bálor versus The Undertaker. It really doesn’t need to be explained more than that. I’ve been very fortunate to talk to Undertaker when I first came in here. We talked about entrances. He gave me a lot of advice that helps me to this day. So I’m very grateful for that. Maybe I’d play a couple of mind games with the Deadman. It would be a little bit fun.”
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