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Reason why Finn Balor replaced Braun Strowman in Universal Title match

Finn Balor

Finn Balor earned himself a shot at the Universal Title after winning two matches on this week’s RAW. He will be facing Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble on January 27th.

On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer noted that the plan was always for Finn Balor to replace Braun Strowman in the match. Apparently, this was planned long ago as WWE wanted a big match to boost Royal Rumble ticket sales. Then as they get closer to the event, the switch was made.

“This was the plan all along. So here’s the basic situation because I think everyone is going to say that his elbow wasn’t healed and that’s why they did this. Brock Lesnar vs Finn Balor was always the main event of the show.”

“At the Crown Jewel pay-per-view. Lesnar and Strowman wrestled and Baron got involved in that match the idea was to in fact to set up Brock Lesnar vs Braun Strowman at the Royal Rumble at that time.”

“What happened was Vince started thinking about it and he had already had the storyline started and everything like that and at some point Vince McMahon started thinking ‘What do we do?’”

“The idea was for Brock to go over and the Braun to face Seth Rollins [at WrestleMania]. At one point, Vince thought this wasn’t a good idea because [Strowman] just lost, he’s hot but he just lost. Then they had to do the injury angle so the idea was that kinda hurts him. So he basically felt that he couldn’t afford to beat him again.”

“So the choice was to let him win the title which was not in the cards, beat him again which he didn’t want to do, or don’t have the match which ended up being the choice. With him out it’s like who do we put Brock Lesnar against?”

It was noted that WWE did not have enough babyface replacements at that time and they did not know back then when John Cena would be available. Brock Lesnar wanted to face Finn Balor a year ago and so he is finally getting the match now.

While things could change once again, it is unlikely that we will see Braun Strowman compete at the event as he is still not medically cleared. So WWE promoted Braun Strowman vs Brock Lesnar for the Royal Rumble as they knew it would increase ticket sales, and had intended to change the match anyway.


  • EVH

    Is this part of Balor’s reported push? if so…then is he going to win??

    WWE should do all they can to keep Balor happy and not lose him to AEW.

  • Nicholas Giambattista

    I don’t know about that the match with Daniel Bryan went for a while. I believe they will have Finn Balor make a strong showing. It be funny if Balor shows up the Demon Balor and he upsets Brock Lesnar that would actually be a good move by WWE.

  • ROB-1.

    I wish it was Braun. If Balor wins I will be shocked. Match may last 5 minutes.

  • Steven Stevens

    Fin belongs on 205. lol

  • Nicholas Giambattista

    I say if Meltzer is the best news resources for the dirt sheet they know nothing period.

  • Nicholas Giambattista

    I glad that they change the match to save face with Braun Strowman. However do not be suprise if Braun Strowman wins the Royal Rumble but instead of Strowman going after the Unverlasial Championship he goes after the WWE title on Smackdown.

  • CC

    This is Meltzer all over. So many of his stories contradict stuff that he has said before, and as with many of his stories, there is absolutely no way to prove this story either way.
    He could turn around and say that the reason Strowman was removed is because he once sneezed in front of Vince, and because Vince hates sneezing he removed Strowman from the match.
    Probably about as much evidence of that as there is of 99% of Meltzers “scoops”.

  • Darrin Tyler

    Dumb idea. Doesn’t even matter since they plan on having Brock win again at the rumble

  • Keith Learmonth

    Meltzer can’t even keep his own story straight.

    Up until just now, he was claiming that Vince and HHH couldn’t decide who was leaving mania with the title, Rollins or Strowman… but now for this current story to work, he’s claiming that neither of them was even going to be in the title match, that they were going to fight each other?