Finn Balor Defeats Seth Rollins to Win WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2016

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR 2K - WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins poses with his championship title at the WWE 2K SummerSlam Kickoff in New York, N.Y., on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015. (Photo by Stuart Ramson/Invision for 2K/AP Images)

Finn Balor beat Seth Rollins Sunday at SummerSlam to become the first-ever WWE Universal champion.

The WWE SummerSlam Twitter account captured the finish: 

It's clear WWE has put a lot of faith in Balor, as Aaron Oster of Rolling Stone pointed out: thought it was the right booking decision: 

Ryan Satin of suggested the future is bright for Balor:

The crowd seemed to disapprove of the Universal belt. B/R's WWE Twitter account shared an image of the ultra-red look:

Rollins even took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with the crowd reaction after the match: 

Following Dean Ambrose's win over Rollins and Roman Reigns at Battleground, Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley decided that Raw needed a top title. In an effort to fill the void, they created the Universal Championship.

Since he was the No. 1 pick in the WWE brand extension draft and didn't get pinned by Ambrose at Battleground, The Man was instantly inserted into the title match at SummerSlam, while Balor was forced to earn it.

After they both came out on top in Fatal 4-Way matches, Balor and Reigns faced each other in the main event of the first post-draft edition of Raw for the opportunity to face Rollins at the summer's biggest event. Balor surprisingly handed The Big Dog one of his first clean losses on WWE programming and became co-No. 1 contender on his first night as part of the main roster since his call-up from NXT.

Despite Balor's remarkable debut, Rollins was as cocky as ever the following week on Raw and claimed that he already accomplished everything the Irishman had. Balor didn't simply stand there and take it, though, as he pointed out that Rollins received preferential treatment, according to WWE Universe on Twitter:

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

The Demon then showed his aggressive side by ditching the etiquette and making it clear that he intended to take down the former architect of The Shield at SummerSlam:

Rollins and Balor traded verbal and physical barbs in the ensuing weeks, setting the stage for the first encounter between them. Many have long considered the pairing to be a dream match.

The dynamic between them worked on several levels, primarily due to them being two of the best and most complete in-ring workers in the world. The dichotomy between SummerSlam being Balor's first WWE pay-per-view match and Rollins being established as Raw's top guy also created a natural and compelling rivalry.

Sunday's bout may wind up being the first of many between Balor and Rollins, but Balor struck the first blow and added a huge accolade to his resume by becoming the first Universal champion in WWE history.

Having Balor win may be giving him too much too soon following his call-up, but much like his clean victory over Reigns, beating Rollins for the title so early in his career ensures that he is firmly established as one of the faces of the company.

Sunday's match was a great one, and it stands to reason that both Rollins and Balor will be near the top of the card on Raw for a long time to come.


For more wrestling talk, listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot topics or catch the latest episode in the player below (warning: some language NSFW).


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.