David John "Fit" Finlay Jr. (January 20, 1958) is a Northern Irish retired professional wrestler. He is perhaps best known for his time in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) as an active wrestler and later as a road agent. Finlay has held over twenty championships around the world throughout his career, including the WCW World Television Championship and the WWE United States Championship.
Professional wrestling career
Finlay began his wrestling career in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, before moving over to Great Britain in 1978. While in England, Finlay wrestled for various companies under the Joint Promotions banner. Finlay defeated Alan Kilby on June 9, 1982 to win his first title, the Joint Promotions British Heavy Middleweight title. The belt was traded back and forth with various opponents over the rest of the year, but in early 1983, Finlay lost it for the last time. He then won a tournament to crown a new British Light Heavyweight champion and fill the vacant position, defeating British Legend Ringo Rigby in the finals.
Finlay soon lost that belt, but gained another, beating Marty Jones to win the "World Mid-Heavyweight title". He traded it back and forth with Jones for over two years before losing it a final time to Jones via disqualification. Later, Finlay once again defeated Marty Jones en route to winning Joint Promotions' British Light Heavyweight title. He won a major British title; All-Star's British Heavyweight Championship. Finlay often competed on ITV's World of Sport programme as David "Fit" Finlay.
During this time, Finlay also began to wrestle in Germany and Austria for one of the biggest companies in Europe, the Catch Wrestling Association. While holding the All-Star title, he teamed with his old foe Marty Jones to win the CWA tag titles from Tony St. Clair (the man from whom he won the All-Star title) and his partner, Miles Zrno. After losing the All-Star title to Dave Taylor, Finlay began to focus more on CWA, winning many of their titles.
World Championship Wrestling (1996–2000)
Before his current run in WWE, Finlay was best known in the United States for his run in WCW from 1996–2000, first as The Belfast Bruiser, a nickname he had previously used while in the UK, and later as "Fit" Finley. His momentum began during a feud with Lord Steven Regal in 1996, including an infamous parking lot brawl on WCW Monday Nitro during which Finlay got glass in his eye, leading to him wrestling with an eye-patch for several months. In 1998, he won the WCW World Television Championship and feuded with the likes of Chris Benoit and Booker T. Before long, he was a well established midcarder with his newly modified name, both in spelling and pronunciation, Fit Finlay. Finlay also feuded with Alex Wright due to the fact Alex was mad at Finlay for ending the wrestling career of Alex Wright's dad Steve Wright. The feud led to Halloween Havoc where Finlay lost to Wright.
Near the end of his WCW run, he won the "Hardcore Junkyard Invitational" at Bash at the Beach 1999, winning a "hardcore trophy". However, he legitimately suffered a badly lacerated nerve in his leg during a hardcore match at a house show in Jackson, MS, in July 1999, which nearly cost him use of the leg. As he was wrestling Brian Knobbs, he was thrown into a table in the corner of the ring, causing it to shatter and the shards to cut his leg. He managed to regain use of the limb and came back later in the year, but by that point, all momentum he had from the Junkyard Invitational win was lost. In 2000, Finlay formed a trio of "Hardcore Soldiers" with Brian Knobbs and Al Green. They feuded with Vampiro; the feud included a match between Finlay and Vampiro at Uncensored 2000, which marked Finlay's last appearance on a WCW pay-per-view. His final match in WCW was at a German house show in November 2000, losing to Norman Smiley in a hardcore match.
World Wrestling Entertainment (2004–2011)
Finlay began work on a comeback in 2004, even wrestling in a match against Jamie Noble at a house show in Glasgow, Scotland, and promos began airing for his impending in-ring return in December 2005. His gimmick is that of a proud native Irishman who loves to fight. His first televised WWE match was on the January 20, 2006 airing of SmackDown! against Matt Hardy, which ended in a disqualification loss for Finlay. After the match, Finlay dragged Hardy to the steel ring steps and smashed Hardy's face into them with his boot, quickly establishing himself as a heel. This helped to give him the nickname, "The Fighting Irish Bastard".
Finlay continued to establish himself on the SmackDown! roster. During February and March 2006, Finlay was involved in an intense feud with Bobby Lashley which began when Finlay cost Lashley his unbeaten streak by interfering in Lashley's match with JBL at No Way Out. This feud would see the pair brawl on many occasions, including a parking lot segment in which Lashley tried to overturn a car onto Finlay. Later, the pair competed in a Money in the Bank qualifier Lumberjack Match that Finlay won. During this time, Finlay began to wield a shillelagh as a weapon.
On April 2, Finlay competed in his first WrestleMania, WrestleMania 22. He faced five other WWE Superstars, from both the RAW and SmackDown! brands in a Money in the Bank ladder match. This match was eventually won by then RAW superstar and former ECW superstar Rob Van Dam.
Finlay next entered the King of the Ring tournament on Smackdown!, defeating his first round opponent Chris Benoit before being beaten by his rival Lashley, who advanced to the finals at Judgment Day. Finlay helped the other finalist, Booker T, defeat Lashley in the King of the Ring finals. At the same pay-per-view, Finlay lost to Chris Benoit.
Beginning on the May 26 episode of SmackDown!, Finlay was joined by The Little Bastard who came out from under the ring to attack Finlay's opponents. Finlay joined forces with William Regal as loyal subjects of the newly renamed King Booker and his Court. Both men were later "knighted" by the King, and Finlay used the name Sir Finlay.
During his time as part of the court, Finlay picked up a win against World Champion Rey Mysterio in a non-title match before defeating the court's main foe Bobby Lashley to take Lashley's WWE United States Championship. Finlay defended the championship on several occasions, often with help from Little Bastard, and even defended it against fellow court member William Regal at The Great American Bash. He lost the title to Mr. Kennedy on the September 1 edition of SmackDown! in a triple threat match that also involved Bobby Lashley.
After the title loss, Finlay continued to attack and wrestle threats to court leader King Booker and his newly won World Heavyweight Championship, including Lashley and Batista. Finlay defeated King Booker in a non-title singles match and lost in a four-way match at No Mercy for the title. After leaving the court, Finlay continued to feud with Batista. On the November 10 edition of SmackDown, he returned to fight Batista in a singles match which he lost after Batista pinned him following a Spinebuster.
At the 2007 Royal Rumble, Finlay participated in his first Royal Rumble match. He drew number 2 and started out against the number one entry, Ric Flair. He was eliminated 12th by Shawn Michaels. Shortly after the Royal Rumble, Finlay began a feud with The Boogeyman. At No Way Out, he and Little Bastard defeated The Boogeyman and The Little Boogeyman.
Finlay earned a place in the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 23; however, Mr. Kennedy won the the match. Following this, he would feud with Mr. Kennedy, after an attack on Little Bastard (now known as Hornswoggle) during the Money in the Bank match, and Jamie Noble for assaulting Hornswoggle after he won the Cruiserweight Championship. However, Finlay's feud would quickly redirect to Kane after Finlay spilled coffee on him. The two also became involved with Batista and The Great Khali. At Saturday Night's Main Event, he and The Great Khali lost to Batista & Kane. Kane beat him at SummerSlam. Finlay defeated Kane in a Belfast Street Fight rematch a few weeks later.
Finlay then feuded with Rey Mysterio by attacking him during a confrontational interview with John "Bradshaw" Layfield. At No Mercy, Finlay would fake an injury after taking a bump to the outside. Once placed on a stretcher, Finlay suddenly rose and attacked Mysterio, forcing Rey to be carried out on a stretcher. The feud continued at Cyber Sunday, where fans voted for the two to face-off in a Stretcher match. Mysterio came out on top, but Finlay would retaliate with a victory on the November 9 edition of SmackDown! The feud intensified further when the two faced on opposite teams at Survivor Series.
Finlay would then reunite with Hornswoggle by coming to rescue in a match against The Great Khali, effectively making Finlay a face; while retaining their mischievous, rule breaking nature, the two became fan favorite underdogs. At Armageddon Finlay was placed in a match with The Great Khali. Finlay scored an upset win after Hornswoggle interfered by hitting Khali in the groin with a shillelagh.
Finlay continued his feud with The Great Khali in 2008. Still battling Khali and his translator Ranjin Singh together with Hornswoggle, he qualified for the 2008 Royal Rumble. He drew number 27, but was immediately disqualified when he entered before his time and hit Big Daddy V and Mark Henry with his shillelagh to save Hornswoggle. Hornswoggle was disqualified as well.
Finlay began making occasional appearances on RAW to protect Hornswoggle from Mr. McMahon who had been showing him "tough love". After Hornswoggle was injured (kayfabe) in a Steel Cage match by John "Bradshaw" Layfield, Layfield revealed that Finlay was Hornswoggle's father, and not Mr. McMahon. A week after, on March 3, Finlay admitted this. At WrestleMania XXIV he was defeated by JBL in a Belfast Brawl, where Hornswoggle also reappeared.
He was traded to the SmackDown brand on June 29, 2009. His first match returning to the brand was against Ricky Ortiz, which Finlay won. He went on to form part of John Morrison's team at Survivor Series, but he was eliminated by fellow Irishman Sheamus. In late 2009, he began pursuing the Intercontinental Championship, feuding with Drew McIntyre. In 2010, Finlay became a full-time trainer and agent, thus semi-retiring him, though he still competes occasionally at house shows. On the June 4 edition of SmackDown, Finlay returned in a SmackDown Battle Royal to determine the new number one contender to the World Heavyweight Championship, but he was unsuccessful in winning. On the November 12 edition of SmackDown, after another few months of hiatus, Finlay returned as a lumberjack for the match between Edge and David Otunga. He retired in 2011. On March 29, 2011, Finlay was released from his WWE contract.
Return to WWE (2012–2020)
Following a stint in the independent circuit and a year after the house show incident, Finlay returned on 11 July 2012 as a backstage producer. The two sides had been negotiating since WrestleMania XXVIII, but there were situations that delayed the deal being finalized. During the following years, Finlay made some cameo appearances, usually separating wrestlers brawling between them. Also, he was one of the four wrestlers who presented Tyler Bate with the WWE UK Championship after winning the related tournament in January 2017.
At the 2019 Royal Rumble, Finlay gave Becky Lynch the go-ahead to take the place of Lana in the women's Royal Rumble match after the latter was unable to compete following an attack by Nia Jax on the entrance way, which worsened her kayfabe ankle injury. Lynch went on to win the match.
Finlay was previously married to his former manager, Princess Paula Finlay is currently married to a German woman and has three children, the eldest of which, David, was born in Germany. He lives in southern Georgia. Both Finlay's father and his grandfathers were professional wrestlers, and his sister was a referee.
- Finishing and signature moves
- "Belfast Bruiser"
- Tag teams and stables
- Wrestlers managed
- Wrestlers trained
- Theme music
Championships and accomplishments
- Catch Wrestling Association