Monday 26 September 2016

Ireland's Finn Balor crowned first Universal champion at WWE Summerslam

Published 22/08/2016 | 15:08

The pinnacle of Finn Balor's globetrotting 16-year professional wrestling career was reached in the early hours of this morning when he defeated Seth Rollins to become the inaugural Universal champion at WWE Summerslam.

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Balor, real name Fergal Devitt, lit up the WWE's biggest party of the summer with a stunning performance to cap a remarkable ascent to WWE's upper echelons having only been promoted to the main roster a month ago.

In the penultimate match of a thrilling five-hour show, the 35-year-old delivered the Coup De Grace from the top rope to seal victory over Rollins, making him the first superstar to win a world title in his debut pay-per-view match. Brooklyn's Barclays Center erupted when the Demon King, whose Wicklow family were in attendance, scored the surprise pinfall win. And with such momentum behind him after an unprecedented debut, he looks set to lead the WWE into the New Era.

Bray had expected to be crowning Katie Taylor as double Olympic champion over the weekend but instead they can lay claim to another world champion with Devitt following in the footsteps of Cabra native Sheamus to claim WWE's top prize.

Despite not being that well known in Ireland outside of wrestling circles, Balor has travelled the world wowing audiences in Mexico and Japan and gaining a cult following before joining WWE's development brand NXT and taking it to new heights.

Elsewhere on the stacked card, the match of the night was AJ Styles' phenomenal success over John Cena in a five-star masterpiece while Brock Lesnar, fresh from his recent UFC return, obliterated Randy Orton in a bloodied main event.

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