Finn Balor vs. Brock Lesnar was not a last minute decision, as some may have speculated.
For weeks, Dave Meltzer has been reporting on WWE’s directive to give Finn Balor a push because they had big plans for him. Last night on Raw, WWE moved forward with those plans as it was announced that he would be replacing Braun Strowman in the Universal Championship match against Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble.
Lesnar vs. Strowman was the plan since Crown Jewel but Vince McMahon later made the decision that he didn’t want to have Strowman lose again to Lesnar and it was decided that they would start giving the push to Balor, which explains why he got the clean victory over Drew McIntyre last month at the TLC pay-per-view.
The reason why they continued to promote Lesnar vs. Strowman for the Royal Rumble is that they need to sell approximately 40,000 tickets since the show will take place at Chase Field, the baseball stadium that is home for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Furthermore, Lesnar likes Balor because he feels like he can work better with smaller opponents like AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan. The original plan for last year’s Royal Rumble was for Lesnar to face Balor but, as is usually the case in WWE, plans changed. McMahon felt at the time that Balor was not over enough to warrant a match with Lesnar so much of what was said last night reflected how McMahon actually felt about him.
We don’t know when Strowman will be cleared but I suppose it’s possible that they can have him do minimal work in the Royal Rumble match. As far as Lesnar’s future, the last word is that he is scheduled to face Seth Rollins in one of the main events at WrestleMania.