Finn Balor facing WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar at The Royal Rumble PPV Event in under two weeks time has reportedly been the plan for awhile now, according to Dave Meltzer on a recent edition of The Wrestling Observer Radio Program.
As previously reported, Braun Strowman was removed from his scheduled title match against Lesnar at The Rumble on last night’s RAW after an angle with WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon. The segment saw Strowman searching for Baron Corbin, who was hiding in a limousine. Not realizing it was Mr. McMahon’s limo, Strowman pulled a door off of the vehicle. Vince appeared and fined Strowman $100,000. McMahon proceeded to remove him from The Lesnar Match after Strowman argued with him. Strowman then dumped the limo over onto its side.
Vince McMahon had been planning on Lesnar vs. Strowman at The Royal Rumble since Crown Jewel, where Lesnar defeated Strowman in a five minute squash match after Strowman took a belt shot from Baron Corbin before the match even started. However, after that event, McMahon saw that Strowman was cooling off and he didn’t want to beat him again. The plan was for Lesnar to go over Strowman at The Royal Rumble Event because the planned WrestleMania Match is Lesnar against Seth Rollins. Instead of going with a bad finish, McMahon decided to change the match and get a new opponent for Lesnar.
According the Meltzer, WWE continued to advertise Lesnar vs. Strowman to move tickets, because this year’s Royal Rumble is taking place at a baseball stadium. It is similar to WWE advertising Alexa Bliss vs. Trish Stratus for last October’s Evolution PPV, when that was never actually the plan. The match ended up being changed to Trish Stratus & Lita vs. Mickie James & Alicia Fox, although Bliss was scheduled to be in Fox’s spot, but had to withdraw due to a legitimate injury.
There weren’t a lot of choices to work with Lesnar, so McMahon went with Balor. Lesnar’s matches with talent like AJ Styles & Daniel Bryan have drawn praise and Lesnar reportedly likes working with opponents like that. Balor, The First-Ever WWE Universal Champion, was actually scheduled to face Lesnar at last year’s Royal Rumble, however that plan was nixed due to McMahon feeling that Balor was not over enough. Meltzer noted that Lesnar wants to work with Balor and wanted to do the match with him at last year’s event.
As for Strowman, he has not been cleared yet and it is not known if he will be cleared in time for The Royal Rumble Event.
Balor has been wanting to face Lesnar for awhile now and has often named Lesnar & The Undertaker as his two dream opponents. During an interview with Metro Sport in October of 2017, Balor discussed why he felt a match between himself & Lesnar would be the most interesting for fans, as seen below:
“For me as a fan growing up I loved David vs Goliath style matches,” Balor said. “Right now, there’s a lot of interesting matches that could happen in WWE right now, but for me personally I think that Finn Balor vs. Brock Lesnar is the most interesting match from a fan’s perspective that can happen right now. It’s something that has never happened before, with completely different styles inside and out of the ring. This could be a really big spectacle.”