Seth Rollins Beats Finn Balor, Priest Doesn’t Cash In

Seth Rollins retained the WWE World Heavyweight Championship with no Money in the Bank cash-in on the (kayfabe) injured Rollins despite a tease.

Money in the Bank winner Damian Priest interrupted the match during its climactic moments, sitting ringside with briefcase in tow. In fact, it was the tease of a cash-in from Priest that distracted Balor, causing him to lose to Rollins. Despite Rollins’ ribs being injured during a live event in Newcastle the night before, Priest did not capitalize and instead continued to argue with Finn Balor.

Despite holding the obvious secondary championship, one that some have even compared to a bronze medal, WWE has made the most out of Seth Rollins’ WWE World Championship run. The top babyface has been implemented as WWE’s resident workhorse, and the antithesis to Roman Reigns who has yet to defend the WWE Universal Championship since retaining at WrestleMania. Rollins has defended the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in open challenges, and even down in NXT
where he successfully defended against rising upstart NXT star (for now) Bron Breakker.

Though the character is not without its flaws, Seth Rollins become a certifiable draw in a time where WWE viewership is pivotal as the promotion negotiates its next television deal. WWE has done record-breaking business across the board under the watchful eye of co-President Nick Khan, and TV ratings are no exception. Rollins’ aforementioned title defense on NXT was good enough to draw the show’s biggest 18-49 viewership in over two years as 773,000 viewers tuned in to see Rollins defend his main roster title.

The overrun featuring the main event, popped a whopping 950,000 viewers.

It’s no wonder Nick Khan remains bullish about WWE’s next television deal, which he predicts will be a 150% increase over its current, already massive, billion-dollar deals.

The key to making Rollins’ latest title defense intriguing was building up Finn Balor, which WWE did to perfection. Though most headlines about Vince McMahon are negative these days, Balor’s recent resurgence was reportedly McMahon’s brainchild.

McMahon scrapped a recent open challenge from Rollins in favor highlighting Balor according to Dave Meltzer of “Wrestling Observer Radio.” (h/t NODQ)

“The open challenge was supposed to happen till the last minute. Vince changed… the first 30 minutes of the show, I heard, was totally changed,” said Meltzer. “Vince really wanted this… the whole Seth Rollins angle with Finn Balor, I think he just wanted something big, something bigger for Seth Rollins and Finn Balor, just to heat up Finn Balor. To be fair, I know people who are there, who told me ‘Look, as far as the 30 minutes that Vince put in, it was better than the 30 minutes that was taken out.’”

While Vince McMahon promoting an indie darling doesn’t fit the narrative, if McMahon is to be blamed for WWE’s backstage chaos, perhaps he should also be praised for the rehabilitation of Finn Balor. Balor’s finest hour of the feud came this past Monday on Raw in a poignant and gritty video package weaving Balor’s history with Seth Rollins, who legitimately injured Balor with a buckle bomb. This forced Balor to vacate the WWE Universal Championship.

Finn Balor appears poised for a feud with Damian Priest, and though winning Money in the Bank bodes well for Priest’s future, WWE has a history of booking Money in the Bank winners to lose most of their matches while they have the briefcase.