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.
Lonzo Ball Proves He’s a Big Baller by Winning Summer League MVP
Will Anyone Catch the Astros or Dodgers in the Second Half?
Watch Gold Medalist Allyson Felix Surprise Gatorade Player of the Year
Beer Baths to Selfies: How Cavs and Dubs Celebrated Their Way Back to NBA Finals
Howard Beck's NBA Spotlight: No One Has More at Stake Than Kevin Durant
The Future of Baseball Is Bright in New York with Young Stars Conforto and Judge
Kyrie Irving Makes Trick Play in Game 4
Warriors Make History by Sweeping Their Way to Finals
Kevin Durant Gets the Double Block
Will Warriors Bust Out the Brooms for Historic Sweep of Spurs in Game 4?
Can Celtics Bounce Back to Avoid Short Eastern Conference Finals vs. Cavaliers?
Howard Beck NBA Spotlight: Can We Just Fast-Forward to the Finals Already?
Celtics and Game 7s Have a Lot of History...Which Isn't Good for Wizards
Night in the NBA: Rockets & Wizards Even It Up
Night in the NBA: Tempers Flare in D.C.
Howard Beck's NBA Spotlight: MVP Doesn't Matter, LeBron Still Best Player Alive
Welcome to the Diaper Derby: the High-Stakes Races Taking Over NBA Games
Have LeBron James, Cavaliers Sealed Raptors Playoff Fate After Just One Game?
The Night in the NBA: Rockets Light Up Spurs with 22 3-pointers; Cavs Coast Past Raptors
The Night in the NBA: Rockets Bounce Thunder, Jazz Down Clips and Spurs Stop Gri
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.