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Wrestling / Fergal Devitt

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Trained by Andre Baker, Fergal Devitt (born July 25, 1981) is an Irish professional wrestler best known for his work in New Japan Pro-Wrestling under the ring name Prince Devitt, where he was a former three-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and six-time IWGP Junior Heavywight Tag Team Champion. He was one of the major members of Bullet Club before re-turning face his last night in the promotion. He would then go on to sign into the WWE, where he would wrestle in its developmental division NXT under his current ring name Finn Bálor and is the longest-reigning former NXT Champion in history. He was selected to Raw during the 2016 draft and became the first ever WWE Universal Champion at SummerSlam, defeating Seth Rollins.

Among other the enterprises he earned title belts in are NWA UK Hammerlock, Revolution Pro Wrestling, Insane Championship Wrestling and CMLL.

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  • Bash Brothers: With Paul Tracey in the NWA, as they worked together to win the British Common Wealth title belt and even started up and ran the NWA Ireland wrestling school together. When not with Minoru or Ryusuke he tended to team with Hirooki Goto or Karl Anderson afterwards, though he dropped Goto after the whole Bullet Club thing.
  • Big Entrance: Is fond of this.
    • As Prince Devitt he could often be seen either in a dark jacket with an RNR (Real Rock-N-Rolla) emblem on the back being walked down the ramp on Bad Luck Fale's shoulders before getting off at ringside, then getting off, standing in the center of the ring, and turning on the jacket's Jericho-esque neon lights as the arena goes dark in an impressive show worthy of a young rising Big Bad, or using an elaborate paint job and/or costume along with unique theatrics to emulate the arrival of any number of famous fantastical characters as though said character had briefly possessed his body to wrestle as him. Examples include 
    • As Finn Bálor, his normal entrance is already predated by a heavy breathing sound transitioning into epic rock music, ominous red lighting with moments of bright pulsation, a constant switch between walking and creeping down the ramp and a crawl up the steel steps to get to the ring. When he puts on the demon paint, the whole thing gets turned Up to Eleven. The true beginning of his entrance theme comes in the form of a loud pulse with dramatic chords reminiscent of a movie scene eventually leading to said heavy breathing transition. He outright crawls through fog and pulsating lights, at certain points seeming to break into an animalistic Flash Step. And the paint and wig ensemble is deliberately styled with gigantic monster teeth and Red and Black and Evil All Over, creating the dramatic illusion that the ancient demon king who forms half his namesake is actually what's coming down to wrestle.
    • Recently Finn's non-demon entrance has been tweaked to include a new dark techno-style intro, a Bálor Club graphic motif, and a leather jacket which he regularly opens to flash his abs and/or NXT Championship—all clear allusions to his Real Rock-N-Rolla run, stealthily capitalizing off the popularity of Bullet Club. In early 2016, he started doing the gun point at live events, teasing certain buzz about his friends for all its worth. And then they appeared.
  • Continuity Nod / Shout-Out: Despite the way he left the Bullet Club he still seems to be on good terms with them, as he and the Club's new Dragon-in-Chief AJ Styles have each adopted one of the other's signature moves—Bálor uses a variation of AJ's Pelé kick on NXT, while Styles has taken to using Devitt's Bloody Sunday DDT. He also has adopted Hiroshi Tanahashi's Slingblade as a signature after moving to WWE. Confirmed via the WWE Network documentary Finn Bálor: The Demon Revealed, segments of which were shown as a series of weekly short vignettes on NXT heading into his Beast in the East NXT title shot against Kevin Owens. Several parts of the documentary related to his time in New Japan as Prince Devitt and/or his then-upcoming return to Japan at Beast in the East include background photos of him and Karl Anderson, as well as couple quick clips of him showing off some Bullet Club gear and even a clip of him and Anderson reuniting and sharing a Too Sweet greeting. This eventually resulted in a one-on-one encounter with Styles which ended in a post-match Too Sweet and an official Bálor Club reunion with both Anderson and Luke Gallows, nearly two years after the three in question joined him in WWE.
  • Cool Teacher: Back before Japan, he and his tag team partner Paul Tracey founded NWA Ireland and then opened a wrestling school for the promotion, in the process becoming this to a young Becky Lynch. She explicitly states in WWE's series of videos about his past that she wouldn't be where she is today if it weren't for him, all while tearing up, and expresses how immensely grateful she is to him for it. Even while he was in Japan, Fergal would still make trips back to Ireland and occasionally help out training at the same school (now renamed Fight Factory Pro Wrestling).
  • David vs. Goliath:
    • NJPW usually makes an effort to keep the Super Juniors away from the heavyweights, making Apollo 55 managing to tie for second place in their block and then qualify for the semi finals of the 2009 G1 Tag League over Great Bash Heel's Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma this trope. They'd go on to beat CHAOS members Shinsuke Nakamura and Toru Yano but it was averted with their loss in the finals to Bad Intentions (Karl Anderson and Giant Bernard).
    • On NXT he's got his series against Kevin Owens for the NXT Championship, mainly because Owens, despite the girth, is just as athletic as he is and was dominant up to that point.
    • This is also the case in his matches against Samoa Joe and Baron Corbin.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Gallows and Anderson in New Japan. Recently, Dean Ambrose, who has rubbed Finn's abs and exhorted him to "for the love of God, eat a carb, man!".
  • Fighting Irish: Although as Finn Bálor the Irish is seemingly downplayed in favor of the fighting—that, or the Irish is used to accentuate the fighting.
  • Facial Markings: Is known for occasionally marking his face and upper body with elaborate paint jobs for big matches. As Prince Devitt these were usually homages to existing comic book characters, while on NXT as Finn Bálor it's a means of channeling the ancient Fomorian king that is his latter namesake.
  • Finishing Move: Pre-WWE he had Bloody Sunday (a lifting single underhook DDT), Devitt's End (a high-angle Fujiwara armbar), Prince's Throne (a fireman's carry or Canadian backbreaker rack into a double knee gutbuster), and Reverse Bloody Sunday (a lifting inverted DDT which he now uses as a signature on NXT), and a huge diving foot stomp from the top turnbuckle…and, man, does he get up). Initially the only one that stuck as a finisher on NXT was the big foot stomp, now called Coup de Grace—though he did use both versions of Bloody Sunday as signature moves (the reverse shows up more regularly than the original, which is kept for specials). Recently the original Bloody Sunday is back to being a finisher again under the name 1916.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Had quite the potty mouth in his Bullet Club days, but due to WWE's PG rating, he's been trying to watch the profanity. He spent most of his Up Up Down Down FIFA 18 appearances yelling "OH SH-SUGAR".
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: He and Karl Anderson have been best friends since before NJPW and he will talk up Karl as his favorite wrestler the moment he gets a chance in any relevant context.
  • Odd Friendship: His travel partner? Enzo Amore.
  • Paint It Black: This was his initial idea behind the body paint. He mentions in a podcast how he initially was simply going to paint himself solid black, but after the airbrush artist put up a bit of a protest, he realized a simple solid black would be wasting the girl's talents, so the elaborate paint jobs were born.
  • Red Baron: Devitt's been called the Irish Captor, the Real Rock-N-Rolla and the Real Shooter. As Bálor he gets referenced as the Demon King.
  • Self-Deprecation: Engages in a lot of this in interviews. He once said that the reason that he thought he could make it as a wrestler is because he was an average athlete in school and below average at everything else. He also said that the primary motivation behind using the bodypaint was that he wanted to extend his career by covering up for the fact that he has 'one match'.
  • Start My Own: His own NWA promotion in Ireland, which doubled as a wrestling school Devitt served as top trainer of for five years.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Post-unmasking in New Japan he quickly became one of the most popular gaijins in Japanese wrestling simply for his promotional appearances. On NXT the most recent tweak to his entrance involves flashing his abs out of a leather jacket.
  • The Rival:
    • Dru Onyx, who like Devitt is known by a few different names, going by Son Of Abdullah when they were feuding over the British Common Wealth Title belt in Europe. It was Onyx whom he won the belt from the second time in the USA.
    • A somewhat friendly case as a wrestler and promoter against fellow Irishman Joey Cabray's and No Limit Wrestling vs NWA Ireland.
    • Not first but most definitely foremost are The World Class Tag Team, Gedo and Jado. He ran afoul of them almost from the start of his New Japan run, frequently teaming with their established foil Ryusuku Taguchi not helping matters, although he and Taguchi both teamed with them at Wrestle Land. Devitt then joined them officially as part of CTU but became their antagonist again in RISE. Then Apollo 55 went against Gedo and Jado's "Complete Players" stable, then Great Bash Heel, then CHAOS. Then Devitt was with Fale against them in Bullet Club against CHAOS again.
    • Just behind Gedo and Jado in encouter frequency was Taichi Ishikari, who alternating between fighting wih and teaming Pegasus Kid #2 until Devitt unmasked and joined CTU. After Devitt's face turn, he and Ishikari ended up as frequent opponents in NJPW's junior heavyweight tag team division, Devitt with Taguchi, Ishikari in Unione with Devitt's former CTU and RISE stablemate Milano Collection AT.
    • Samoa Joe in NXT and WWE proper.
  • Tournament Arc
    • Came out of Block A to defeat Kota Ibushi in the 2010 "Best Of The Super Junior" final. Later that June he'd go on to win the "NJPW J Crown Openweight 6 Man Tag Team Tournament" with Hirooki Goto and Ryusuke Taguchi
    • Devitt, Taguchi and Goto would repeat in the 2011 J Crown 6 Man Tournament.
    • Defeated Alex Shelley on day ten to win "Best Of The Super Juniors XX" in 2013.

     As Prince Devitt 
  • Big Bad: Was the first leader of the Bullet Club.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: His most frequent partner after forming Bullet Club was Bad Luck Fale, who was nearly twice Devitt's size.
  • Bookends: Devitt's Heel–Face Turn saw him leave the group in the exact reverse situation from the one that caused his initial Face–Heel Turn that started Bullet Club in the first place.
  • Cool Mask: When he became Pegasus Kid #2.
  • Dark Is Evil: As the first boss of the Bullet Club, whose favorite attire color was black and who reveled in being cool villains. When in a New Japan ring, he carried a twisted, sinister air about him fitting of a burgeoning despot.
  • Evil Is Petty: Arguably a defining trait of Bullet Club-era Devitt. He loved taunting his opponents in childish ways, especially during his 2013 G1 Climax run.
    • His Establishing Character Moment right after betraying Taguchi was him goading Alex Shelley and Kushida into a fight and yelling "come on, bitches!" right before Bad Luck Fale sneak-attacks them both.
    • Often bullies reporters during post-match interviews with the rest of Bullet Club.
    • Has mocked both Hiroshi Tanahashi and Jushin Thunder Liger by stealing their entrance gear and copying their poses.
    • Mocked Tanahashi's signature air guitar entrance in particular by bringing a real guitar to the ring, which he bashes Tanahashi in the head with later. (Though Tana does return the favor by mocking Devitt's "ride on Fale's shoulders" entrance with Captain New Japan.)
    • Mocked Shinsuke Nakamura with his own "good vibrations" taunt, complete with crotch grab.
    • Made fun of Togi Makabe's Red Baron note  by coming into the ring wearing a gorilla mask.
    • In one of his funniest heel moments, he showed up to his match against former MMA fighter Katsuyori Shibata armed with boxing gloves.
    Referee: No boxing, no boxing!
    Devitt: I'm gonna fooking knock him out!
  • Face–Heel Turn: He'd been a face for a long time in New Japan before losing a champion vs. champion match to Hiroshi Tanahashinote , which gave him a combination of ego and frustration that eventually led to him turning on Ryusuke Taguchi, who wouldn't turn heel with him, ending Apollo 55 and forming the Bullet Club.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After Ryusuke finally came back after him for revenge, the grudge match would take place at NJPW Invasion Attack 2014. During it, Bullet Club members the Young Bucks repeatedly tried to interfere on Devitt's behalf, but during this he had a change of heart, refusing their aid and even attacking them for it. Renouncing his evil ways, he continued the match with Ryusuke and ended up on the losing end, resigning from both NJPW and the Bullet Club the next day.
  • I Know You Know I Know: How his matches with Low Ki tended to play out, likely on account of both being in RISE.
  • Japanese Ranguage: He was the British Commonwealth Champion as Fergal Devitt. The origin of "Prince Devitt" comes from the fact it only has one r in it. Fergal Devitt has an r and an l in it, which made it difficult for Japanese speakers to pronounce (even though it's rarely stopped them before).
  • Last-Name Basis: In Japan, as elaborated on above.
  • Power Stable: Has been in a few.
    • Control Terrorism Unit (CTU)
    • RISE
    • His final year in New Japan was kicked off with the genesis of the Bullet Club, with Karl Anderson, Bad Luck Fale, and Tama Tonga.
  • Tag Team: Prince Prince with Minoru Tanaka as a heel in RISE. Apollo 55 with Ryusuke Taguchi as a face in New Japan.
  • The Load: After his Face–Heel Turn which saw him join Control Terrorism Unit, Devitt went on a losing streak that gave the rest of CTU second thoughts about picking him up. However, Jushin Liger gave him a chance to redeem himself in a Tag Team match and considered Devitt worthy after scored the winning pin fall on Wataru Inoue.
  • The Worf Effect: Purposefully applied it to himself in NWA Ireland and UK Hammerlock to put over his student, Adam Abz.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Turned on his tag partner, Ryusuke Taguchi. Came back full circle on his last night with New Japan.

     As Finn Bálor 
  • Adorkable:
    • The primary purpose of the series of NXT's videos about his past seem to be for the deliberate purpose of getting Finn over as this. The man spends his free time making Lego structures.
    • Also, whenever he interacts with Bayley.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • On NXT, he has Samoa Joe, they have main evented two NXT Takeover shows in a row in brutal matches over the NXT Championship after Joe turned heel on Finn.
    • Bray Wyatt in summer 2017.
    • Baron Corbin after becoming Constable on RAW.
  • "Awesome McCool" Name: Kayfabe has GM William Regal claiming that the Finn Bálor name is Gaelic for "demon king". This is really a shorthand allusion to the actual origin which is at least as coolnote . It may also be a subtle nod to his advancement from his past as Prince Devitt.
  • Bash Brothers: Joined NXT to help Hideo Itami against the Ascension. The two tagged together and wrestled as singles until Itami was injured.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: The Ascension's entire gimmick revolves around being an unstoppable force of violence that physically and mentally destroy everyone placed in front of them. Starting from the moment he debuted, Finn not only overmatched their physical aggression, but thoroughly freaked them out with his epic entrance at TakeOver 3: R-Evolution.
  • Big Damn Heroes: He made his debut saving Hideo Itami from a two-on-one assault by The Ascension.
  • Chainsaw Good: Made his entrance at NXT Takeover in Dallas in his usual Demon get-up...wielding a chainsaw!
  • Coup de Grâce: The name of his Death from Above Finishing Stomp. It's aptly named, as it's only utilized after Finn beats the tar out of his opponent and they can't dodge it (which they often do early in the match).
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Pretty firmly a face at this point, despite the fact that his new entrance makes him look and act like something spawned from the deepest depths of Hell.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • In his NXT debut, he and Hideo Itami demolished The Ascension. And that was only the beginning.
    • In his WWE Raw debut, he managed to win a four-man match and pin Roman Reigns clean, instantly becoming a #1 Contender for the WWE Universal Championship.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: At first the Bloody Sunday went unnamed, because obviously that name is never getting on TV. After a good 18 months, it was finally named as "1916", which may be an even worse reference.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Oh, Bálor can be a gentleman when he's not fighting, but that hellish face paint job? It's on purpose. He's deliberately tapping into the darkest depths of his mind to be as battle-minded as possible in big matches.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Bálor is very good friends with fellow NXT wrestler, Sami Zayn. So much so, many fans have fun Shipping the two of them together. But not only does Balor approve of fan-made images but even indulges in it himself.
  • Mr. Fanservice: There's no getting around it — the man is unbelievably pretty. His current NXT entrance (when not painted) has him coming out in a leather jacket and flashing it open in time to his music. Ostensibly it's to show off the title belt; realistically, everyone's just staring at his abs.
  • Marked Change: Finn uses elaborate body paint to transform himself into a weird, pseudo-demonic monster thing. He only breaks it out for special shows and has only lost once when in demon form, against Samoa Joe in a steel cage match at NXT TakeOver: The End.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: For a while, the NXT announcers couldn't seem to figure out whether his last name rhymes with "valor", or "sailor", or "collar." Even people that would know their Gaelic aren't exactly sure. Eventually Bálor's own pronunciation caught on: it rhymes with 'valor'. Ironically, the official spelling of Bálor does contain a sort of pronunciation guide, as the letter "A/a" comes with an acute accent and thus reads as "Á/á". The announcers simply lacked the knowledge to understand it.
  • Power Stable: Of course, it's Bálor Club.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Unlike what happened to Hideo Itami (FKA KENTA), the announcers at NXT talked at length about Prince Devitt's indy credentials without ever recognizing that he had once been known as Prince Devitt... up until they did a retrospective of his career in the lead-up to WWE's tour to Japan, where he is of course famous as Prince Devitt.
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?/Ur-Example: Whatever his position on the card might have turned into later, he was the very first WWE Universal Champion. No amount of rollercoaster booking can take that away from him, and for what it's worth, the RAW commentary team won't let anyone forget it, either.
  • Split Personality: He himself describes the normal Finn Bálor and demon-paint Finn Bálor (or simply "the Demon") as being two different people.
  • Super Mode: Though it certainly resembles a One-Winged Angel. Fanon dictates that he partially transforms into a demon or is calling upon hell directly for strength.
  • This Means War Paint: When it comes time for a big match, Bálor paints his body, giving him a demonic appearance.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Apparently this is the reason Finn hasn't used his Demon bodypaint in so long; Vince McMahon thinks it needs to be saved for only the most special occasions (Finn didn't even pull it out at WrestleMania 34) to make it all the more special when he does, with the implication that it will actually make him almost unbeatable. Most fans have agreed that this is the right decision.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Seth Rollins has become one for him after their match at Summerslam 2016. Finn doesn't hold a grudge against Rollins for putting him on the shelf for 9 months, instead looking forward to each bout they have. Their matches/teamups against the Miz leading up to Wrestlemania 34 made this fairly explicit.
    • Braun Strowman seems to see him as one following their match on Raw 21st May 2018. After Finn loss to the Monster Among Men, Braun lifts Finn up before putting him at the corner of the ring, allowing Finn to catch his breath.

Alternative Title(s): Prince Devitt, Finn Balor