Less than 24 hours after winning the Universal Title at SummerSlam, Finn Balor was forced to give it up because of injury to start RAW.
Balor took a running powerbomb into the barricade early in the SummerSlam match. He took the move almost entirely with his arm, which wrenched his shoulder. Despite wrestling the entire match, and winning the title, he found out Monday he had suffered a torn labrum.
The news trickled out on Twitter before WWE eventually confirmed it. The show started with Finn coming out and delivering a speech, before giving up the title to Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley.
This is a terrible setback for a wrestler who had come so far, and apparently had incredible support from the powers-that-be to be called up and succeed at this level so quickly. The win at SummerSlam happened so quickly and decisively, that some fans even questioned if it would hurt him in the long run. Usually the injury requires a roughly six-month recovery time. However, it wouldn't surprise anyone to see Finn back a little earlier to return at the Royal Rumble. It definitely is an awful injury, but could end up resulting in a big 2017 for Finn.
RAW quickly moved on to what would happen next. As wrestlers poured out of the locker room to demand a title shot, Stephanie and Mick set up a mini-tournament, where the winners would move on to face each other for the title in a Fatal Fourway next week. Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns, and, in a bit of a surprise, Big Cass ended up winning to set up the title match for next week's RAW.
This was clearly booking on the fly. WWE had plans with Finn that were thrown into disarray with this injury. Storylines were thrown off, and they had to dedicate an episode to setting things right. There are five weeks until the next RAW pay-per-view, so they opted to get things going with the title to create a storyline for that show, instead of waiting until Clash of Champions to crown a title. This led to a somewhat disjointed show, though for an understandable reason.
We'll see what happens today, but after a celebratory Sunday for fans of Finn, Monday night was a bad reminder of the hazards in wrestling.
The Rest of RAW:
-While Finn's injury set a somber tone on the whole night, there was a ray of sunlight. After Charlotte beat Sasha on Sunday night, she came out to proclaim her superiority on Monday. She said there was nobody who could beat her, which brought out Mick Foley. Mick said he had just signed the hottest free agent in wrestling, and out came Bayley. She ended up beating Dana Brooke in a match, and set her sights immediately on Charlotte and Charlotte's women's title.
Ignoring the storyline discrepancy about Mick having a chance to draft her a month ago and passing on the opportunity, this was a good way to debut her, and at a good time. Sasha is taking a little bit of time off to recover from an injury, so this immediately gives another top-notch contender for Charlotte. People have been waiting a long time for Bayley, so hopefully she's used as well as everyone knows she can be.
-On another down note, The Dudleys came out to announce their retirement toward the end of Monday's show. Everyone expected it to be a work, however, that does not appear to be the case. They said their piece, before the Shining Stars came out to take a 3D. It seemed like Primo would also go through a table, however, Anderson and Gallows came out and laid out The Dudleys. While this seems like The Dudleys might stick around a little bit longer to go after The Club, it does seem like this was simply their way to say goodbye, putting over The Club on the way out. I don't think this is the end of their careers, but for now, it does appear that they are done in WWE.
-Speaking of The Club, their feud with the New Day continued on RAW. Big E beat Karl Anderson in a singles match after The New Day celebrated their title reign reaching a year long.