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Finn Balor's Greatest WWE Matches of All Time Following Joke About His Retirement

Finn Balor is responsible for a handful of some of the best matches in WWE history.

By Chris Phelan
Finn Balor walks to the ring

For the past few months, the WWE Universe has been quietly stressed about the WWE contract status of one of the most accomplished Superstars of the past ten years – Finn Balor. Rumors have been flying that he would be leaving WWE imminently, even though he's been the foundation of The Judgment Day for the better part of two years.

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Never one to shy away from being honest and upfront with the WWE Universe, Finn Balor took it upon himself to set the record straight. On April 22, Balor took to social media to address those rumors as fans expected the worst:

"I would like to take this moment to say thank you to WWE for 10 incredible years," Balor captioned. "And after much thought and consideration, I have decided that now is the right time to say, 'I ain't going nowhere!'"

Finn Balor poses wikth his arms oujtstretc hed while walking towards the ring.

With that, the WWE Universe can finally rest easy: Finn Balor won't be leaving WWE anytime soon. Whether that means the first-ever WWE Universal Champion has re-signed a long-term deal or intends to do just that in the coming days is irrelevant – one of his generation's most gifted in-ring performers will compete in a WWE ring for the foreseeable future.

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In celebration of the good news, USA Insider is looking at the matches that have defined the fantastic career of Finn Balor – these are his greatest matches, instant classics that every self-respecting wrestling fan should watch if they haven't already!

Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins – WWE SummerSlam 2016

WWE in 2016 was a wild time. The Universal Championship – a title introduced to reward the ever-growing roster filled with elite talent – needed its inaugural titleholder. Finn Balor and Seth Rollins waged war at SummerSlam to determine just that.

Looking back, it's astonishing to realize how much the "gloves were off" for both Superstars. While both men got their start in the independent scene and honed their craft later in their wrestling careers in WWE, this championship match was arguably better suited for an independent wrestling event than SummerSlam – and we mean that as the highest compliment. Each move was more impactful than the last; the drama was at a fever pitch throughout the bout, and both men took themselves to the limit. While Balor eventually scored the win – becoming the first-ever WWE Universal Champion in the process – it came at a cost.

Thanks to a bevy of barricade powerbombs by Seth Rollins, Finn Balor had to relinquish the Universal Title the next night on Raw due to injury. Who knows how long Balor's inaugural Universal Championship reign would have lasted if it wasn't for the devastating shoulder injuries he suffered during this iconic matchup. 

Finn Balor vs. AJ Styles – WWE TLC 2017

The phrase "dream match" gets tossed around a lot in pro wrestling.

In most cases, it's simply a marketing tool designed to promote a match that caters to die-hard wrestling fans – a slogan used to get more people to tune in. More often than not, the matchup fails to live up to the lofty expectations placed upon it. 

Fortunately for the WWE Universe, at TLC 2017, Finn Balor and AJ Styles met in an honest-to-goodness dream match that many believe to be one of the best-wrestled bouts in history. But the most eye-opening aspect of the match is how it came to be in the first place.

As luck would have it, many WWE Superstars caught a stomach bug in the days leading up to TLC 2017, leading WWE brass to scramble to find suitable replacements for their respective matches. Roman Reigns was particularly hit hard by his illness – and fans were looking forward to his match against Finn Balor at the event. AJ Styles being announced as Reigns' replacement surprised the wrestling world. Both men have a history dating back to their time spent wrestling in Japan, and their encounter would mark the first time they tangled in a WWE ring.

It was a match that nobody saw coming, yet nobody could believe what they saw.

Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens – WWE Beast in the East 2015

Did you know that WWE held an exclusive Premium Live Event in Tokyo, Japan, in 2015? It's true – WWE Beast in the East is a forgotten classic of an event, and it was home to arguably the most significant victory in Finn Balor's career.

In 2015, Kevin Owens arrived in NXT and immediately took over (no pun intended). After steamrolling Sami Zayn for the NXT Championship, Owens stood without an equal for months until Finn Balor made his presence known. What happened in Tokyo is nothing short of legendary.

From the match introductions, which paid homage to classic Japanese wrestling promotions, to the decidedly Japanese style wrestling the two Superstars engaged in, the match was something unlike American audiences had ever seen. Like Balor's match against Seth Rollins at SummerSlam 2016, the bout was decidedly different from what the WWE Universe was accustomed to witnessing. In the end, Balor defeated Owens, ending his reign as NXT Champion and ushering in a new era.

Although Beast in the East might be a "forgotten event," this match will undoubtedly stand the test of time. 

Finn Balor vs. Johnny Gargano – NXT TakeOver: Portland 2020 

In the eyes of many in the WWE Universe, it doesn't get any better than this match. This bout, for the NXT Championship, happens when two of the very best meet in their respective primes to give the fans a moment they'll never forget.

That's exactly what happened. Back in 2020, Johnny Gargano – not yet called up to WWE's main roster – was embroiled in a bitter feud with Finn Balor – who returned to NXT after proving himself on Raw and SmackDown – over the prestigious NXT Championship. Their feud came to a head at TakeOver: Portland, and for nearly thirty minutes, Balor and Gargano tore into each other with an intensity rarely seen in WWE. If a casual fan happened to turn on this match, they would easily assume that both Superstars have been waging war against the other for years on end – that's how physical and brutal this match was.

You can tune in to Peacock to watch Backlash France on May 4. In the meantime, catch up on all things WWE Universe on Peacock.

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