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Finn Bálor finally says goodbye to NXT, but not without a few remarks.

The longer we’ve followed Finn Bálor in NXT, the longer we’ve wondered when he was going to be called up. He was an instant star, a money printer in regards to merchandise and connecting with fans. The news heated up even more this past January. Two of the men he helped form New Japan Pro Wrestling’s greatest stable in Bullet Club with had signed with WWE. He got on social media and expertly trolled fans thinking his call up was imminent. Sure, we the wrestling fan wanted to see Finn Bálor “too sweet” “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson & and Luke Gallows on RAW just to cement the impact of wrestling’s best stable. But Finn wasn’t done in NXT, not until it was certain he’d done everything there was to do.

Bálor arrived two summers ago as Hideo Itami’s tag team partner against The Ascension. Smart wrestling fans knew of Prince Devitt’s talent, that demon character he had waiting in the wings and more. One summer later, he was crowned NXT champion and held the belt longer than anyone. Much like Sami Zayn, he was a wrestler of the people during his time at Full Sail. He helped establish players such as Samoa Joe, entertained feuds with Owens & Joe, had dream matches with Adrian Neville, Zayn and even Shinsuke Nakamura in his final televised NXT match. All in all, he probably had more fun that he should have.

He & Bayley swapped entrances and attire. In a documentary shot before last year’s July 4 WWE Network special, we traced his history and love for Legos. He found ways to make live shows must see events. It was his face that helped pull NXT into something that could exist outside of its Full Sail home. His connection to the fans is what made Finn Bálor special in NXT.

The Classics

Ask anyone about their favorite Bálor NXT match and they may get a hundred different answers. They’re quintessential Finn matches for the sake of story and context. If Bálor/Neville at NXT Takeover: Rival was the prelude of how powerful The Demon was, NXT Takeover: Dallas cemented it. There were the two wars against Kevin Owens that planted Finn as the face of NXT. There were the elaborate entrances, the body paint, all the telltale signs of a star.

And his last match Saturday night in Houston may have been the most important.

Bálor’s on RAW now, officially after the WWE Draft. On his first night, he wrestled two matches and earned the right to practically main event Summerslam against Seth Rollins. There, it was about establishing his name to a non-NXT audience. In Houston Saturday, he couldn’t help but be himself and toy around in the ring.

A main event of Balor & Nakamura taking on Bobby Roode & Samoa Joe sounds like a dream. Balor pressing a “too sweet” against Roode’s forehead is a hilarious sight; Joe doing it back to Bálor even funnier. He once more worked the crowd, too caught up in the moment to stick with one chant. Not willing to boo the supposed heels, unable to cheer properly knowing it was Finn’s last match, they got loose. Multiple chants of various federations popped up from TNA to WWE to NXT to New Japan and Bálor acknowledged them during a headlock sequence.

“NEW JAPAN ALL DAY BABY!” he yelled out to a thunderous roar.

The end result wasn’t that big of a deal. The face squad in Nakamura/Balor toppled Joe/Roode while still keeping the idea of Nakamura/Joe fresh for Takeover Brooklyn II. As he rose for one last NXT sponsored Coup De Grace, he waved goodbye to Roode before crushing his bladder into nothing from the top rope.

He exchanged hugs with Nakamura and wanted to says something before Bayley interrupted him. She thanked him for all he’s done, saying it was he who took NXT to another level. The other curtain calls for Nia Jaxx, Carmella & Mojo Rawley were noted but everyone knew who the night belonged to. It was for Bálor. He was the lone one to get a tear-jerker “retirement” video package. Instead of making it all about him, he made it all about NXT itself. How Matt Bloom taking over as head coach in the Performance Center changed everything. How the entire roster brought it up even more. Too humble to take all of the spotlight, Bálor closed his NXT tenure thanking the fans, looking forward to showing up on RAW and then some.

You can see Bálor’s NXT Farewell Speech below.

Photo Credit: WWE

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