On this week's "After The Bell with Corey Graves," United States champion Finn Balor talks about the changes to NXT 2.0 and what it means to him to be on WrestleMania.
Finn Balor said the change to NXT 2.0 was needed:
"I think it was needed," Balor said. "I don't want to say it was getting stale, but you know, having been there for, I think it was about a year and a half into my second run, I felt like all the matches had taken place, or like it was kind of going on like a cycle over and over again, and that something needed to change."
"I feel like pretty much as soon as I left, the 2.0 came in, and it was a completely new crop of superstars, you know, young, fresh people. As a fan, like when I was younger, I never took joy out of seeing the same matches, or the same people every week. I was always hungry like, 'Hey, who's this new guy? What's his backstory? Where did he come from? Oh, I wonder what moves he does?' I was so curious about wanting to learn about these new guys. I feel like for me as a fan, that's what I want."
'Pretty much as soon as I moved back to SmackDown at the time, the NXT 2.0 came out. It was so cool to see completely new people. I was only gone out the door for about a month, and then there's people that I've never even met before. You know, like on the TV, it was obviously surprising. Maybe a lot of people in the business were like, 'That's stupid. Who are these guys? They haven't paid their dues', but for me as a fan, I think 'Wow, this is cool.' There's guys I've never even heard their names before, and now they're on TV and are succeeding."
"I remember watching the WarGames much. There were four relatively new guys in the ring with the four experienced guys, and it's just incredible. It's like something completely fresh. Maybe I'm just so jaded and so exhausted from seeing so much over the years. But that was something really, really cool. You know, just seeing the new guys doing new stuff. It's unpredictable in the sense that you don't know their spots, or you don't know their routine or their shtick, and you're getting to see and witness something new for the first time, and that's pretty rare. So hats off to NXT for kind of risking it all, you know, and, really, really committing to the 2.0."
On what it means to him to be on the WrestleMania show:
"When you're a kid, you watch wrestling, you love wrestling, and the idea of being involved in a WrestleMania is just so far-fetched, that every time WrestleMania comes around, you want to be involved," Balor shared.
"Even though I wasn't involved last year, I watched, and I'll be honest, it hurt. I just had a killer match with Karrion Kross at NXT, and then the next day, I'm sitting at home on the couch watching Wrestlemania. I wasn't part of the brand, so I shouldn't have been on the show. But it's still the competitor in me or the person that wants to prove something."
"lt hurt not being involved because if there's a wrestling show on and there's people at it, there's a ring set up, and everyone's watching on TV, I want to be on that show. I don't care. It definitely did hurt last year not being involved. So yeah, I'm super excited. I want to be involved. I want to be on WrestleMania whether it's the first night, second night, or Axxess. I don't care. I want to be on there."