WWE Hall Of Famer Jim Ross recently took to his podcast, “The Ross Report,” to comment on several professional wrestling topics. Ross offered his thoughts on Finn Balor replacing Braun Strowman against Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble, preferring the NXT TakeOver: Blackpool version of Balor, Balor upsetting Lesnar this weekend, and more. Here are the highlights:
Finn Balor replacing Braun Strowman against Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble: “I think the issue of taking Braun Strowman out of the dream match against Brock Lesnar was somewhat controversial,” Ross said. “From what I understand, that was the decision that was going to be made, that was made long ago, and it has little to do with, as I’m told, Strowman’s medical condition.
“So it sounds like it was just like a creative change of plans. And if that’s the case, that’s the case. You want to make sure that you get a resource and an asset like Braun Strowman. You don’t need many missteps in his ascension to the top of the card. So I think sometimes we get impatient unnecessarily. That may have been the case here. I don’t know. I think the Finn Bálor addition and the way he earned the opportunity is a better story.
“I think that Bálor and Lesnar will have a better match. At the end of the day, it’s easy to stand back and b—h about a booking change, which I understand if you’re dead set on Lesnar versus Strowman, I could understand your apprehension, but at the end of the day, again, the match with Bálor versus Lesnar will be an infinitely better match, a different match, than two super heavyweights colliding, so I have no issues with it quite frankly.”
Preferring the NXT TakeOver: Blackpool version of Balor: “The Finn Bálor that I saw last weekend in England, in Blackpool, is the Finn Bálor that I want to see on a regular basis in WWE,” Ross said. “I don’t need a disingenuous smile for no reason. Smile when you’ve got something to smile about. But quite frankly, the presentation of Finn on Monday Night RAW has been underwhelming at times and I think that effects his work as well. Why wouldn’t it? It certainly would [effect] mine.”
Balor possibly upsetting Lesnar this weekend: “I’m happy that [Bálor] is getting this opportunity and win or lose, that’s where we are,” Ross said. “I guess what you have to consider about this match is could Bálor upset Lesnar and be the Universal Champion heading into WrestleMania? He certainly could. He certainly could. It wouldn’t shock me a bit. But you’ve got to think, who does WWE want in that title match at WrestleMania?
“I keep hearing they want Lesnar and Rollins. Okay, if you know that’s what they want, then, Bálor will do the honors at the Royal Rumble, but he’ll go down in a blaze of glory with an amazing story being told. So looking at it ahead, but maybe Bálor is their guy and they’re going to have him match up with say, Seth Rollins at WrestleMania. Well, you know the match is going to be badass.
“The Finn Bálor I saw in the match against Jordan Devlin [at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool] is the Finn Bálor I want to see. I’ll say this later on, but, again, I don’t need a smiley face. You’re already going in as an underdog against most guys, simply because of the weight, but I believe in Finn Bálor. I believe he has everything it takes to get over, and be over, and stay over. And with the Finn Bálor that we saw on WWE Network last weekend, is the guy I need to see more of because I think he’s a moneymaker.
“Now he’s going to face Brock Lesnar at Royal Rumble. I perceive it will be an outstanding matchup. And depending on what WWE wants to do [at] WrestleMania, who’s going to leave there as their champions. There are worse ideas than Finn Bálor upsetting Lesnar and defeating ‘The Beast’, but we’ll see. But he had a great week. He’s getting recognized.
“He [has] got to stay in that killer mode, not unassuming babyface smiley mode. But he had a hell of a week and he’s a big time talent and I’m proud for him. He’s getting the opportunity to steal the show at the Royal Rumble.”
Refusing to believe Balor is too small: “I’m not going to engage in any conversation over the fact that Bálor’s too small to make a difference because I’m not going to waste my breath or what braincells I have left to try to make sense of that theory. It’s not very accurate. It [has] got lots of holes in that one.”
H/T Wrestling Inc. for the transcriptions