Edge and Christian open today’s show by saying they’re looking forward to this weekend’s Royal Rumble and Takeover events. When it comes to the Royal Rumble, Edge points out that people who always pray for something fresh in WWE should be excited, particularly over the Universal Title match between Brock Lesnar and Finn Balor.
He hopes that fans come unglued for the Universal Title match as well as the RAW Women’s Title match between Ronda Rousey and Sasha Banks, because that kind of reaction will continue to usher in change in WWE, with new competitors getting a chance in the main event picture.
Christian notes that Becky Lynch has struck gold with her new “The Man” moniker, and she’s developed a real connection with the WWE Universe. When a competitor makes that kind of connection it’s usually the beginning of a lot of great things.
Christian picks Samoa Joe as his Men’s Royal Rumble winner, saying that Joe deserves some time in the main event scene. Edge notes that if WWE really wants to strap someone to a rocket, they’d have Andrade win the Rumble. Some of the work he’s been doing on Smackdown Live recently reminds Edge of Eddie Guerrero, and Edge thinks he’s ready for the spotlight. Edge also thinks Seth Rollins could win the Rumble.
Christian predicts that the returning Alexa Bliss will win the Women’s Royal Rumble match. Edge thinks Charlotte will win, unless there’s some big outside interference or “trickery”.
Edge and Christian assume that the Tag Team Title match will open up NXT Takeover on Saturday. The Undisputed Era always set the bar high, and the War Raiders are this generation’s Road Warriors or Demolition. There aren’t a lot of teams like that anymore, so it’s cool to see that style and look in 2019.
Christian says it’s great to see Bianca Belair reach her potential and elevate to the main event picture in NXT. It was easy to see early on that she had the ability to get there, and now here we are. Edge notes that this Saturday’s match against Shayna Baszler should be interesting because this is the biggest match of Belair’s career to date by far.
Edge and Christian welcome Finn Balor to the show.
Balor notes that he wanted to be a wrestler from a very young age. He was inspired by Shawn Michaels as a kid, and by the time he started wrestling he was a big fan of Dynamite Kid matches. His in-ring style was inspired by both those men.
Balor informs that the only time in his life that he considered not becoming a wrestler was after his first day of wrestling training. He woke up the next morning battered and bruised, and he had to think about whether this line of work was worth it. Thankfully he stuck with it.
He notes that after some time training in Ireland, he was flown to L.A. so he could train at the Dojo in L.A. The President of NJPW saw him training there one day and wanted to give him a chance in Tokyo, and that’s how his career in Japan began.
He started to train as a Young Boy at the Dojo in Tokyo. He was 24 years old at the time and it was quite a culture shock. He wasn’t getting paid; he was provided food and training for free, and would do all the laundry/cleaning. He wasn’t supposed to do any matches during that first 3-month period, but he began wrestling after 5 weeks.
For a 3-year period he stayed in Tokyo, only flying home for a few days once every 6 months or so. He changed his wrestling goals, and all of a sudden WWE wasn’t really on his mind. He was learning from some of the NJPW greats and it became his goal to climb the ladder in Japan.
After several years Balor began receiving offers from WWE but the timing never seemed right. He received another offer at age 33, and he realized that if he didn’t take the chance then, he might be too old for WWE’s liking when his next NJPW contract expired.
Balor informs that he had no issue with starting in NXT before joining WWE’s main roster. He admits that it was weird to go from wrestling in front of 30,000 people at the Tokyo Dome to doing training drills in a factory, but he knew that if he stuck with it he’d eventually rise to the top.
He also understood that there’d be a huge transition to working the WWE style as well as moving back to North America and getting used to a new lifestyle, so maybe it was beneficial for him to not have to debut on RAW in front of millions of people as well.
Balor says he felt like he started to hit his stride in NXT after working with Neville, and by the time he started to work with Samoa Joe he felt quite comfortable with the WWE style. Edge thinks it was around that time that NXT started to receive more mainstream attention.
Balor talks about the devastating shoulder injury he suffered during the match when he won the Universal Title. He knew his shoulder was hurt as soon as it happened, but he didn’t know how bad it was. He popped his shoulder back in place 3 or 4 times during that match, and as it continued to slip back out of place he began to realize that he wouldn’t be wrestling for a while.
He had to have surgery, which was initially supposed to be 40 minutes long, but when the doctor began the procedure he realized that the injury was much worse than they thought. The surgery lasted over 6 hours and he was out of action for 9 months.
He started to think about why that injury had to happen at that time, and he believes it was the Universe’s way to bring him back down to earth. He had to work from the bottom up for everything he’s achieved in life, and maybe he just wasn’t ready to get thrown right into the Universal Championship picture during his first month on the main roster.
Balor informs that he’s not nervous about this Sunday’s Universal Title match against Brock Lesnar. His family is flying in for the event and he’s just hoping he doesn’t get beat up too badly. He thinks he and Lesnar will knock it out of the park in their match.
That sums up this week’s episode of E&C’s Pod of Awesomeness. You can listen to the show yourself anytime here, and I’ll catch ya next week for another recap!