Fergal Devitt (July 25, 1981) is an Irish professional wrestler who is currently signed to WWE performing on the Smackdown brand under the ring name Finn Bálor. In WWE, he is a one-time WWE Universal Champion (as well as the inaugural champion) and a one-time NXT Champion.
He is known by his ring name outside of WWE as Prince Devitt and working for New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he is a former three-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and six-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion, having held the title twice with Minoru and four times with Ryusuke Taguchi. He is also a two-time winner of the Best of the Super Juniors tournament, having won it in 2010 and 2013. Through the promotion's working relationship with Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL), Devitt has also made appearances for the Mexican promotion, where he is a former one-time NWA World Historic Middleweight Champion.
Devitt has wrestled for numerous promotions, including NWA UK Hammerlock, NWA Pro Wrestling, New England Championship Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, as well as having founded NWA Ireland with Paul Tracey. Devitt is a two time NWA British Commonwealth Champion, a one time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and has held the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship five times, twice with Minoru and three times with Ryusuke Taguchi. Devitt, as Finn Bálor, is an inaugural WWE Universal Champion.
Professional wrestling career
Early Career (2000-2006)
After training there, Devitt debuted for NWA UK Hammerlock in 2000 at the relatively young age of eighteen, soon winning the NWA British Commonwealth Championship. After graduating, his wrestling career started quickly, and he started touring Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In mid-2002 Devitt opened up NWA Ireland, his own wrestling club in Ireland along with his co-promoter and fellow graduate of NWA UK Hammerlock, Paul Tracey; the company became the sister promotion of British counterpart under the same banner. As part of NWA Ireland, Devitt has trained numerous wrestlers, including Rebecca Knox.
On 8 October 2005, in Nashville Tennessee, at the NWA 57th anniversary show, Devitt defeated Dru Onyx for his second British Commonwealth title. After the match both participants were invited to the New Japan Inoki Dojo in Santa Monica, California to train. During late 2005, Devitt also began competing for the Millennium Wrestling Federation (MWF). He made his debut in a triple threat match at Soul Survivor III on 5 November, challenging for the MWF Television Championship against the champion Eddie Edwards and John Walters. He made his television debut on the November edition of MWF Ultra, in a match against Osirus. After impressing many promoters and trainers, he was invited to train in New Japan's main dojo in Japan, where, in early 2006, he began training in the Japanese style of professional wrestling. He lost the British Commonwealth Championship to Karl Anderson in March 2006.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (2006-2014)
Pegasus Kid (2006)
The day after losing the British Commonwealth Championship, Devitt signed a contract with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) in March 2006. In April 2006, he made his New Japan Pro Wrestling debut against El Samurai using the ring name Prince Devitt. In May 2006, New Japan started doing some brand-exclusive events, and Devitt debuted for their WRESTLE LAND promotion as Pegasus Kid II, which led to comparisons between Devitt and the original Pegasus Kid, Chris Benoit.
Control Terrorism Unit (2007–2008)
During his tour of New Japan in late August/early September, he started competing under his real identity as an Irish superstar. He eventually turned heel and started teaming with the Control Terrorism Unit (CTU) in an apprentice-type role. While teaming with CTU, he began a losing streak, aggravating his teammates to such a degree that they did not want anything to do with him anymore. This led to him being given one final chance on 6 October, where he rose to the occasion and impressed his CTU teammates enough to continue his association with them. To solidify his status with the stable, Devitt teamed with CTU leader, Jushin Liger to take on Wataru Inoue and Ryusuke Taguchi. In a huge twist, Devitt was the one to make the final cover on Inoue following a stiff brainbuster. From then on he was officially recognised as a member of the CTU.
His momentum was halted in January 2007, when he suffered a serious knee injury, sidelining him from action in New Japan until early May of that year. Afterwards, he returned to action, showing great improvement and was touted by fellow CTU teammate, Minoru, to win the 2007 Best of The Super Jr's Tournament in June 2007. However, this was not meant to be, as Devitt scored no points in the event. In November 2007, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) made a tour of NJPW, where Senshi and Christopher Daniels defeated Devitt and Minoru.
On 27 January 2008, Devitt and Minoru won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship together, Devitt's first major title reign. They lost the championship to AKIRA and Jushin Liger in February, before regaining the title on 21 July. After a near three-month reign they lost the championship to No Limit (Tetsuya Naito and Yujiro) in October.
Apollo 55 (2009–2013)
In 2009 Devitt began teaming with Ryusuke Taguchi as Apollo 55 and on 5 July 2009, at Circuit 2009 New Japan Soul they defeated The Motor City Machineguns (Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin) to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. On 30 May Devitt entered the 2009 Best of the Super Juniors tournament. After winning his block in the round robin stage of the tournament, Devitt advanced to the semifinals, where he defeated Kota Ibushi. In the end, Devitt was defeated in the finals of the tournament by Koji Kanemoto. In December Devitt entered the 2009 Super J Cup. After defeating Atsushi Aoki, Danshoku Dino and YAMATO, Devitt was once again defeated in the finals of the tournament, this time by Naomichi Marufuji. On 4 January 2010, at Wrestle Kingdom IV Devitt and Taguchi successfully defended the titles against Averno and Último Guerrero. On 21 April Devitt and Taguchi were stripped of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, after not defending them for 30 days. On 8 May the two entered a tournament in an attempt to regain the Championship, but were defeated in the finals by the team of El Samurai and Koji Kanemoto.
On 30 May Devitt entered the 2010 Best of the Super Juniors tournament and two weeks later finished second in his block with five victories, advancing to the semifinals of the tournament. On 13 June Devitt first defeated Taiji Ishimori in the semifinals and then Kota Ibushi in the finals to win the tournament and earn a shot at Naomichi Marufuji's IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. On 19 June Devitt defeated Marufuji to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the first time. On 28 June 2010, Devitt, teaming up with Taguchi and Hirooki Goto entered the J Sports Crown 6 Man Openweight Tag Team Tournament. Two days later the trio defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi, TAJIRI and KUSHIDA in the finals to win the tournament. Devitt made his first successful Junior Heavyweight Championship title defense on 11 July, defeating Pro Wrestling Noah's Atsushi Aoki. Just over a week later, on 19 July, Devitt and Taguchi defeated Koji Kanemoto and El Samurai to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship for the second time as a team. In August Devitt entered New Japan's biggest tournament of the year, the G1 Climax, as a substitute for the injured Naomichi Marufuji. Devitt managed to win four out of his seven matches in the round robin stage of the tournament, including a major victory over former four-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi, but finished fifth in his block and missed advancing to the finals by a single point. On 3 September Devitt made his second successful defense of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, defeating Kenny Omega, who had earned his shot, after defeating Ryusuke Taguchi at a Dramatic Dream Team event. Omega and Kota Ibushi, the team known collectively as the Golden Lovers, came back on October 11 and defeated Devitt and Taguchi to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. On 11 December 2010, Devitt made his third successful IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship defense, defeating another New Japan outsider, Davey Richards. On 4 January 2011, at Wrestle Kingdom V, Devitt successfully defended the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against Kota Ibushi, avenging the loss from the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship match. On January 23 at Fantasticamania 2011, a New Japan and Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) co–promoted event in Tokyo, Devitt and Taguchi defeated Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi to regain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, making Devitt a double IWGP champion for the second time. With his five reigns, Devitt now shares the record for most reigns as the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion with Jushin Liger and Minoru. Devitt continued his streak of defending the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against New Japan outsiders, when he successfully defended the title against Taka Michinoku on 20 February and KUSHIDA on 19 March. In May 2011, Devitt took part in New Japan's first tour of the United States, during which he successfully defended the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against Low Ki on 14 May in New York City and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship against the Strong Style Thugz (Homicide and Low Ki) on 15 May in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On 26 May, Devitt entered the 2011 Best of the Super Juniors tournament. After losing his opening match against Davey Richards, Devitt went on a seven match winning streak to finish first in his block in the round robin stage of the tournament. On 10 June, Devitt was eliminated from the tournament in the semifinals by his own tag team partner Ryusuke Taguchi. On 18 June at NJPW Dominion 6.18, Devitt lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship to Best of the Super Juniors winner, Kota Ibushi, ending his reign at 364 days. On 23 June, Devitt, Taguchi and Hirooki Goto won their second J Sports Crown 6 Man Openweight Tag Team Tournament in a row by defeating the team of Giant Bernard, Jushin Liger and Karl Anderson in the finals of the three day long tournament.
Bullet Club (2013–2014)
The first match between the former members of Apollo 55 took place on 3 May at NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2013, where Devitt and Bad Luck Fale defeated Taguchi and Captain New Japan in a tag team match. Later in the event, Devitt and Fale were joined by Karl Anderson and Tama Tonga for an attack on Hiroshi Tanahashi. The new group was subsequently named Bullet Club. On 24 May, Devitt entered the 2013 Best of the Super Juniors, where he ended up winning his block with a clean record of eight wins, though often using outside help from his Bullet Club stablemates to win his matches. On 9 June, Devitt first defeated Kenny Omega in the semifinals and then Alex Shelley in the finals to win his second Best of the Super Juniors. Following his win, Devitt challenged Hiroshi Tanahashi, while also naming his next goal; becoming the first wrestler to hold the IWGP Junior Heavyweight and IWGP Heavyweight Championships simultaneously. On 22 June at NJPW Dominion 6.22, Devitt defeated Tanahashi with help from Bullet Club to earn his first shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Later in the event, reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada accepted Devitt's challenge for his title on the condition that he first defend the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against his Chaos stablemate Gedo. On 5 July, Devitt defeated Gedo in his fourth successful title defense, advancing to the IWGP Heavyweight Championship match against Okada. The title match between the two took place on 20 July and saw Okada defeat Devitt, despite interference from the rest of Bullet Club, to retain his title. On 1 August, Devitt defeated Okada, with help from Fale, in the main event of the first day of the 2013 G1 Climax. Despite three other big wins over former IWGP Heavyweight Champions Hiroshi Tanahashi, Satoshi Kojima, and Togi Makabe, Devitt failed to advance from his block, finishing with a record of five wins and four losses. The rivalry between Devitt and Tanahashi culminated in a Lumberjack Deathmatch on 29 September at Destruction, where Tanahashi was victorious.
With the Tanahashi rivalry behind him, Devitt moved onto a new rivalry with Togi Makabe, who played a big part in him losing the Lumberjack Deathmatch. Meanwhile, Devitt also found himself a new challenger for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, recent NJPW signee Kota Ibushi, who pinned him a tag team match on 9 November at Power Struggle, where he and Bad Luck Fale were defeated by Ibushi and Makabe. From 23 November to 7 December, Devitt and Fale took part in the 2013 World Tag League, where they finished with a record of three wins and three losses, with a loss against the previously winless Captain New Japan and Hiroshi Tanahashi on the final day costing them a spot in the semifinals. On 4 January 2014, at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 8 In Tokyo Dome, Devitt's fourteen-month reign as the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion came to an end, when he lost the title to Kota Ibushi in his fifth defense. The following day, Devitt was attacked by the returning Ryusuke Taguchi, who had been sidelined with an injury for the past seven months, re-igniting the rivalry between the two former partners. On 6 April at Invasion Attack 2014, one year after the break-up of Apollo 55, Devitt faced Taguchi in a singles grudge match. During the match, Devitt repeatedly told The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson), the two newest members of Bullet Club, not to interfere in the match, which eventually led to them turning on him. In the end, Taguchi defeated Devitt, after which the two men shook hands, ending their rivalry with each other. The following day, New Japan announced Devitt's resignation from the promotion.
NWA International (2007)
He entered the tournament for the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) called Reclaiming the Glory in June 2007 to crown a new NWA World Heavyweight Champion after the title was stripped from TNA. In the first round he faced Australian wrestler Mikey Nicholls and won, but lost in the second round to Bryan Danielson at an NWA Empire show in North Tonawanda, New York.
World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE
On 15 May 2014, it was reported that Devitt had signed with WWE and would report to the promotion's developmental territory, NXT, once his visa went through. On 28 July 2014, WWE officially confirmed Devitt's signing, announcing he would report to NXT that same day. On September 24, 2014, his ring name was revealed to be Finn Bálor.
On the November 6th episode of NXT, Finn Bálor made his NXT debut when he came out with Hideo Itami to bring down the Ascension. After weeks of feuding with the Ascension, Bálor and Itami would both go against them in a tag match at the NXT Takeover: R Evolution event. A week before the NXT Takeover: R Evolution event, Bálor announced that he would bring something that the Ascension never seen before to the special event. At NXT Takeover: R Evolution, Bálor brought out his war paint look and he and Itami defeated The Ascension at the special event.
On the January 21 edition of NXT, Bálor advanced to the semifinals of an NXT Championship number one contender's tournament by defeating Curtis Axel. His former tag team partner, Hideo Itami also advanced to the semifinals and faced him on the February 4 edition of NXT. Bálor would defeat Itami and would advance to the final match of the NXT Championship number one contender's tournament with Adrian Neville at the next NXT special event, NXT Takeover: Rival. At NXT Takeover: Rival, Bálor defeated Neville to become the number one contender for the NXT Championship. On the March 25th edition of NXT, the NXT champion Kevin Owens defeated Bálor for the NXT Championship.
After defeating Tyler Breeze on 20 May at NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable, Bálor received another title shot against Owens, which took place on 4 July at The Beast in the East event, in Tokyo, Japan, where Bálor defeated Owens to win the NXT Championship for the first time. In his first title defense, Bálor defeated Owens in a ladder match at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn on 22 August. Bálor later entered the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament in August, where he was paired with Samoa Joe. The two defeated The Lucha Dragons (Sin Cara and Kalisto) in the first round, on the 25 August tapings of SmackDown in a dark match, Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady in the semi-finals on 30 September, Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson in the semi-finals and Baron Corbin and Rhyno in the finals, on 7 October, at NXT TakeOver: Respect, to win the tournament. After his title match with Apollo Crews, Joe turned on Bálor and attacked him, which ignited a feud between the two, throughout November and December, and a title match, at NXT TakeOver: London, on 16 December, where Bálor defeated Joe to retain.
On 1 April at NXT TakeOver: Dallas, Bálor successfully defended his title in a rematch with Joe. On 17 April, Bálor became the longest reigning NXT Champion in history by surpassing Neville's previous record of 287 days. On 21 April, Bálor lost the NXT Championship to Joe at a non-televised live event in Lowell, Massachusetts, ending his reign at 292 days. On 8 June, Bálor was defeated by Joe in the first ever NXT steel cage match in a rematch for the NXT Championship at NXT TakeOver: The End, in what was his first TakeOver loss.
Main Roster (2016-present)
On July 19, Bálor was drafted to the Raw brand as the fifth overall pick in the 2016 WWE draft. On the July 25th episode of Raw (Bálor's 35th birthday), the WWE Universal Championship was announced and that the winners of two fatal four-way matches would face each other in the main event, the winner earning the right to face Seth Rollins, who was automatically granted #1 contendership status by Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon, at SummerSlam for the title. Bálor won the first match against Rusev, Cesaro, and Kevin Owens, while Roman Reigns won the second against Chris Jericho, Sami Zayn, and Sheamus. Bálor would go on to defeat Reigns in the main event, earning #1 contendership and his first WWE PPV championship match as a result. Balor defeated Rollins to win his first Universal Championship at Summerslam. However, a day later, he would vacate the title due to an injury sustained the night before.
While recovering from his injury, Bálor would appear on the WWE Network exclusive event, the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament. On 22 February 2017, Bálor returned to NXT to assist Shinsuke Nakamura, who was outnumbered by Andrade "Cien" Almas and Bobby Roode. On 10 March, Bálor made his in-ring return at a live event in a six-man tag team match, teaming with Chris Jericho and Sami Zayn to defeat Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe and Triple H. He made his television return on the 3 April episode of Raw on the Raw after WrestleMania 33, teaming with former enemy Seth Rollins to take on Owens and Samoa Joe, in a winning effort.
Devitt played football and Gaelic football when he was younger, before deciding to become a professional wrestler. He holds a first degree black belt in IBF submission wrestling. As a child, Devitt was a fan of World of Sport, a weekly ITV show which primarily aired professional wrestling. He was also a fan of the British Bulldogs, Shawn Michaels, Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect, Koko B. Ware and Savio Vega. Devitt is good friends with fellow professional wrestler, Dru Onyx. Devitt is an avid comic book reader and has included comic book characters in his gimmicks, most commonly as face and body paint.
- Finishing moves
- As Finn Bálor
- As Prince Devitt
- Bloody Sunday (Lifting single underhook DDT, sometimes from the top rope)
- Reverse Bloody Sunday (Lifting inverted DDT)
- Devitt's End (High-angle Fujiwara armbar)
- Prince's Throne (Fireman's carry double knee gutbuster)
- Shingata Prince's Throne (Canadian backbreaker lift twisted into a double knee gutbuster)
- Signature moves
- As Finn Bálor
- Diving double foot stomp to the back of the head of a bent over opponent
- Float-Over DDT
- Lifting inverted DDT
- Pelé Kick (Overhead kick)
- Reverse 1916 (Lifting inverted DDT)
- Running front dropkick, knocking the opponent into the turnbuckles
- Running knife-edge chop
- Sling Blade
- Spinning headlock elbow drop
- Suicide somersault senton
- As Prince Devitt
- As Finn Bálor
- With Ryusuke Taguchi
- "Irish Young Gun"
- "Demon King"
- "Real RockNRolla"
- "The Extraordinary Man who can do Extraordinary Things"
- Entrance themes
- "Jump (DJ Power Mix)" by Eskimo (2006)
- "When the Sun Goes Down" by Arctic Monkeys (2007)
- "You're the Best" by Joe Esposito (2008–2013)
- "Real Rock n Rolla" by Yonosuke Kitamura (2013–2014)
- "Last Chance Saloon" by Deviant and Naive Ted (2013–2014; used while a part of Bullet Club)
- "Real Rock 'n Rolla (Breaking Point) (Tokyo Dome ver.)" by Yonosuke Kitamura (2014)
- "Catch Your Breath" by CFO$ (NXT; November 6, 2014–present))
- Teams and stables
Championships and accomplishments
- New Japan Pro Wrestling
- Nikkan Sports
- Outstanding Performance Award (2010)
- Rolling Stone
- NXT Star of the Year (2015)
- Tokyo Sports Grand Prix
- NXT Wrestling
- World Wrestling Entertainment