The newest incarnation of the WWE Brand Extension saw its first post-draft episode air on July 25, 2016. Exactly a month ago today.
In that time, NXT’s 2 hottest stars of the last year (Finn Balor and Bayley) have debuted on WWE’s flagship program. They are spinning in alternate directions.
Balor was a surprisingly high pick for the Red Brand.
The Irish star was taken right after “The Man” Seth Rollins and then (and current) WWE Women’s Champion, Charlotte. Quite a compliment for a man who had yet to step inside of a true WWE ring.
Perhaps an even better compliment was winning 2 matches on his debut episode of Raw, cementing his place against Seth Rollins at SummerSlam for the inaugural Universal Championship. A championship belt title that is clearly just a ploy for the good folks at Universal to toot their own horns.
Balor would win a Fatal Four Way against Rusev, Cesaro and Kevin Owens. He then faced off against the winner of the other Fatal Four Way match of the night: Roman Reigns.
Balor pulled out the win and would face Rollins. They met at SummerSlam and Balor performed the match of his life. He defeated Rollins fair and square in harrowing fashion.
Not only was Balor facing off with one of the top wrestlers in the world, but he dislocated his shoulder and possibly tore his labrum in the process. He was injured during a powerbomb onto the barricade by Rollins. Balor is expected to be out of action for four to six months.
Just like that, the pride of NXT rose to the very top of the WWE. He achieved his life-long dream of attaining the top gold in the business. However, despite the heart and determination of Finn Balor, his injury will ultimately keep him sidelined for now.
Luckily, the story is not done. One of NXT’s greatest stars may have fallen on Monday night, but another rose to the top.
Bayley was announced as Raw’s newest free agent signing. She was immediately thrown into a match with Dana Brooke. If Bayley won, she would become the #1 Contender for Charlotte’s Women’s Championship.
Bayley won and now she has Charlotte on her heels. With Balor likely out for the remainder of 2016, Bayley looks to be the next flag-bearer for NXT.
What’s ironic is that according to Inquisitr, Bayley was not scheduled to debut on Raw for another few weeks. She wasn’t even going to be challenging for the title right away; that all changed following the decision for Sasha Banks to take time off due to a back injury.
With The Boss’ long-term status up in the air, Charlotte was next in line to take back the belt. Bayley is right there with her as the #1 Contender.
Balor will be back and he’ll be back stronger than ever. In the mean time, Bayley has her time to shine. And if she has any say about it, she’ll be the top draw of the WWE for a long time to come.
by: Kevin D’Hooge