Finn Balor won't be channeling his inner demon when he challenges Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble on Sunday.
Balor told ESPN.com's Tim Fiorvanti how he plans on approaching Lesnar in the ring:
"I feel like maybe I leaned on the demon too much there in the past as a crutch, and I can assure you that the man who faces Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble will be Finn Balor, the man. I think a lot of people were surprised when I came out at WrestleMania not in demon paint but I feel like I had a bigger message to spread that day—one of equality and acceptance. Honestly, this match just kind of came about so fast that I haven't had much time to think about it. I don't have any new gear, I don't have any new looks, I don't have any new ideas right now, but you know, we're still six days away, so I'm sure I'll come up with something."
To hear Balor say his demon gimmick might have been "a crutch" is somewhat surprising because he has largely abandoned the look since making the jump to WWE's main roster.
The former universal champion unexpectedly broke out the demon persona at SummerSlam last August when he made quick work of Baron Corbin.
WWE may want to condition fans to see Balor as a genuine world title threat with or without the demon makeup; otherwise, it becomes entirely too predictable when the Irishman is or isn't going to win. That was an issue during his NXT run when he was basically untouchable as "The Demon King" until finally losing to Samoa Joe at NXT TakeOver: The End in June 2016.
Perhaps Balor's comments are a roundabout way for him to tease the return of the demon. If he is unable to defeat Lesnar as "Finn Balor, the man," then perhaps he'd consider going with a different plan of attack in a potential return match against The Beast Incarnate.