wrestling / News

Finn Balor Recalls Losing the NXT Title to Samoa Joe As a Career High

January 16, 2023 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
NXT TakeOver Image Credit: WWE

Finn Balor had a 292-day reign as NXT Champion in 2015 and 2016, and he recently looked back on his winning and losing the title. Balor spoke with Rob Armstrong for BT Sport and you can check out a couple of highlights below, per Fightful:

On beating Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship at Beast in the East: “That was one of the most full-circle moments that I’ve had in my career because not only it wasn’t in Japan, but it was in Ryogoku, which was Sumo Arena, where we wrestled for New Japan quite a lot. I actually had my final match for New Japan, in that arena, in the paint also, against Taguchi. When I left that night, I figured, ‘I may never return here ever again.’ I think it was maybe almost a year to the day that I returned. I was in the ring against Kevin Owens, someone I didn’t know very well going into NXT apart from, like, on the indie circuit, and we bonded over the journey we were making, adapting to life in NXT, in WWE, in the USA; to get the share the ring with him that night was very cool.”

On losing the title to Samoa Joe: “An even more special moment for me was when I actually lost the title against Samoa Joe, and we’d done that on a house show. That was something that was so rare, and I remember this sheer surprise and shock of the people in the front row that just couldn’t believe what they had witnessed on a house show. After [292 days], I had been champion, and Joe pins the champion at a house show in Lowel. That was a special night. That, for me, is probably the coolest moment of my career, I think. Just the sheer shock and then joy of the fans; having Joe as champ, you know, someone who’d had such a long career and really paid his dues and had become such an integral part of NXT. The, for me, someone who had learned so much from, not only in NXT but before that. We obviously have a very close relationship as well. So that was one of my favorite nights of my career.”