Raw is Finn. Fans probably believed those words could never be used in the same sentence, but now it's become a reality. Finn Balor is on Monday Night Raw, and that signals the official beginning of WWE's New Era.
He is the future of WWE, and now he has the platform to prove it.
His debut on Raw was heavily anticipated by fans that were thrilled at his drafting to the program. That debut was the opening match of the night, in a Fatal 4-Way to determine who would work the main event later on.
Balor was right at home in this environment, and had three top opponents to work with. Cesaro, Rusev and Kevin Owens were the men in the ring with him, and all four put on an exciting bout filled with some serious smashmouth action.
Finn may be more of a risk-taker and high-flyer, but he got over just fine in this match.
Balor can do anything in the ring, and that fact was obvious when this match took place. He fit in with the guys and looked as though he belonged there. That's because he does, and there's no better place for him right now than Raw.
Balor is exactly what Raw needs to move forward. He's an international star that is a true technician in the ring, and he has charisma that sets him apart from everyone else. Finn is the star that fans not only need, but deserve.
Apparently WWE agrees.
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As if Balor's ring debut on Raw was not big enough, his win in the main event has now propelled him to the forefront of the company. Balor pinned Roman Reigns in the main event, and now he will face Seth Rollins at SummerSlam for the newly created WWE Universal Championship.
It's definitely a new day for WWE.
Reigns was the guy, the one that many fans felt was the next face of the company. His run over the past two years is one that saw him reach the heights of the industry, only to see him fall back down where he came from.
Much of that fall came by his hand, of course, but it came nevertheless.
So after dropping the pin to Dean Ambrose at Battleground, Reigns found himself staring up at the lights as Balor pinned him on Raw. It was a two-night spectacle for those that never wanted Reigns to be on top in the first place, but it was more of a statement by WWE; it's time for something new.
The Roman Reigns experiment seems to be over, and now it's Balor's turn. If there's anyone from the New Era that can take this spot and make the best of it, it's him. He has all the tools necessary to not only succeed, but to go higher than anyone even realizes.
Perhaps Finn Balor is the next face of WWE.
It might be a bit early in the game to give Balor that mantle, but the truth is WWE can only move forward with the guy that can do the most with that billing. Balor is that guy, and he has 16 years' worth of experience that's prepped him for this run. He's not a project, he's not an experiment and he's not being forced on fans.
Balor has worked for this, and he has what it takes to make it work. He also has a dark side, and that is perhaps the most important element that separates him from everyone else on the Raw roster.
Balor has The Demon, and that persona gives him a unique spot in the company. The showmanship he displays when he's in character puts him on the level of The Undertaker and Mick Foley. When he takes the stage, fans know they're seeing something special.
They also know the man wearing the paint is committed to entertaining them, and that's the most important part.
Balor's debut on Raw was only the beginning. Now he looks toward SummerSlam, where he will face Rollins for the new title, and that title will put the winner on top of Monday Night Raw. Finn is ready for the challenge, and he's ready for the top spot.
Finn Balor has arrived, and it's his time to shine.
Tom Clark can regularly be found on Bleacher Report. His podcast, Tom Clark's Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online here.