Finn Balor Compares WWE King Of The Ring To Japanese Tournaments

Less than 24 hours away, Finn Balor will face Xavier Woods in the concluding bout of the 2021 King of the Ring Tournament at WWE Crown Jewel. Just before he does battle, Balor spoke with panelists from WWE's The Bump about this career-defining opportunity and what it would mean for him to take this whole thing home. For Balor, nothing would sound more enthralling than going from Prince to coveted King.

"[I'm] physically 100 percent. Obviously, [I won] two very important matches: Cesaro and Sami Zayn, two incredible competitors [who've] proven it [in the] ring time and time again. But for me, I've kind of made my career on this side of the tournament. In Japan, I was very successful in these types of knockout tournaments, and I'm hoping to continue that run here in WWE and become King of the Ring," Balor reflected on before tomorrow's tournament finale.

While many spectators believe this will become the turning point in Woods' career, Balor indicated he's not worried at all about not being the sentimental favorite heading into this match.

"No, it doesn't bother me at all," Balor immediately stated. "Of course, it's a big deal for Woods, and it's a big deal for me, too. It should be; it's the King of the Ring. It's a tournament that's hugely prestigious in the history of WWE.

"It was probably one of the turning points of Stone Cold Steve Austin's career. It sent him off with incredible momentum, and that's what I hope to do tomorrow before I switch to the Raw brand."

Balor envisions this match to be a walk in the park. To prove that, he recounted when he defeated Woods in a dark match on Raw in three minutes during his first reign as the NXT Champion. He believes history will repeat itself tomorrow.

"Let me tell you this story. I'm the NXT Champion. I'm at Raw because we're going on a European tour the next day. And I'm going to represent NXT," Balor began to recall. "I'm sitting in the locker room, in my biz-cas (business casual attire), and it's 7:20, and they need a dark match to go on at 7:40. Somebody comes into the locker room and says, 'Hey, Finn, you're up at 7:40. You've got a dark match.' I think it's a joke, so I throw my gear on. I don't even tie my laces. I say I'm going to play along with this little rib that they're playing on me. When I got to Gorilla, my music started playing, and Woods was there. They were like, 'Oh, yeah, you're wrestling Woods.' Who won in three minutes? Finn Balor."

Panelist Kayla Braxton concluded Balor's interview by asking if growing up, he pictured himself becoming a future King of the Ring winner. Balor's retort was quite hysterical.

"[He lets out a thunderous laugh] I didn't even envision being in WWE. I just wanted to be a wrestler. I definitely didn't envision being King of the Ring," Balor replied. "But it's a huge tournament [with] an incredible amount of history. Like I said before, what it did for Stone Cold's career was monumental. I'm very proud to be in the King of the Ring final, and I'm going to make the most of it."

You can watch Finn Balor's full interview below. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE's The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.