Finn Balor captured the NXT Championship on this week’s episode of NXT defeating Adam Cole. Balor returned to the brand last fall and this marks his second run with the title, with his first reign being back in 2015. Balor spoke with TVInsider to discuss his title win and how his current run in NXT has been.
Balor was able to win the NXT Championship after it was vacated due to an injury to Karrion Kross,who won the championship at TakeOver: XXX. Balor had a similar situation happen to him when he joined the main roster and won the Universal Championship at SummerSlam in 2016 only to have to vacate the title the next night after being injured in the match. Balor said he was able to relate to Kross’s setback and was able to speak with him.
“When I heard the news about what happened to Karrion Kross, I had so much sympathy for his situation,” Balor explained. “It was almost an identical scenario we’ve been through. We’ve had conversations and discussed how it will affect you and can affect you. I’ve shown you can come back.
“I think a lot of people think giving up the title is the hardest part. That’s not necessarily the fact because at that point when you’re hurt and can’t perform, the focus is on getting healthy. The hardest part for me was when you get healthy and all the doctors tell you you’re cleared. There is the self-doubt of thinking, ‘Am I good enough now? Can I still perform? Will I be as good as I used to be? Will the people want to see me?’ There are all these internal questions you ask yourself when you’re about to come back. That was the hardest moment for me. We’ve discussed that.”
Balor went on to say that Kross deserves a shot at the title when he returns from injury and that is a match he is looking forward to having.
“He has to learn from this experience and come back stronger than ever and better than ever and more mentally focused,” Balor said when speaking about Kross. “As the NXT champion, that’s the match I want. I was in his situation where I had to relinquish the title and wanted a match. He should want this match. I want him to have this match. I feel he needs to beat me to reclaim his championship. I need to beat him to claim that I am the champ. That’s the match we need to get to.”
While Balor wants the match with Kross when he is healthy there is a lot of upcoming talent who could also challenge for the championship. Balor was asked who he believes could become NXT Champion in the future.
“I don’t know what other people see or look at, but for me, locking up with Timothy Thatcher was one of my favorites,” Balor said. “He is someone who has it all in the ring and pushes me to my limits technically. His work ethic in and out of the ring is exceptional. He has all the tools mentally and physically to take it to the next level. He pushed me in the ring and is someone I admire out of the ring. He has a bright future.”