'The Demon' Finn Balor Beats Bobby Lashley, Wins IC Title at WrestleMania 35

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2019

Photo credit: WWE.com.

"The Demon" Finn Balor beat Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania 35 on Sunday to become intercontinental champion for the second time.

Balor showed off his strength by powerbombing Lashley emphatically into the mat. From there he climbed to the top rope and hit the Coup de Grace for the victory.

The two men have been engaged in a long-running rivalry over the IC belt that has featured multiple title changes, the first of which occurred at Elimination Chamber in February when the Irishman faced The All Mighty and Lio Rush in a handicap match.

Balor won that bout by pinning Rush, which enraged Lashley and caused him to attack his hype man.

Despite the tension between them, the pair managed to make amends and continued their alliance. Rush helped matters on the March 11 episode of Raw when he distracted The Extraordinary Man, which allowed Lashley to pin him and become a two-time intercontinental champion.

Balor was given an opportunity to earn a rematch for the title on Raw two weeks later in what was slated to be another Handicap match against Lashley and Rush. Instead, The One and Only deemed himself unable to compete and was replaced by Jinder Mahal.

Despite the odds being stacked against him, Balor managed to pin The Maharaja, which set the stage for Sunday's bout.

While Balor and Lashley have been engaged in a long-term feud, something big was needed before WrestleMania in order to get fans interested. They finally delivered in that regard on the go-home episode of Raw when the Irishman cut a promo promising the return of his "Demon" persona.

Balor hadn't competed as The Demon since SummerSlam against Baron Corbin, so bringing it back gave him a distinct advantage as he had never lost in that role on the main roster.

Although that worked in Balor's favor, Lashley also had a psychological advantage to some degree. The Irishman technically beat him to win the IC title at Elimination Chamber and earn a title match at WrestleMania, but he never actually pinned The All Mighty in those matches.

Because of that, as well as Lashley's immense size and strength, Balor required an equalizer on The Grandest Stage of Them All.

After opting against wrestling as The Demon in his Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat against Seth Rollins and The Miz at WrestleMania 34, Balor reversed course this year, and it worked to perfection, as he left The Show of Shows with the IC title around his waist.

             

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