This Wednesday on AEW Dynamite fans will get their first glimpse of “Hangman” Adam Page without his coveted AEW Championship. He lost the title to CM Punk at Double or Nothing 2022, ending a reign which began after his victory over Kenny Omega at Full Gear 2021.
He missed last weeks episode to get his head right after defeat, but returns this week in a match against one man stepping through the Forbidden Door for the first time. He is the son of a WWE legend, is a star of NJPW and is a multi-time tag team champion.
His name is David Finlay. Yes, that Finlay. His father is Fit Finlay, the legend of British wrestling and a former champion in both WCW and WWE. He currently works as a backstage producer for WWE but that has not given his son an easy ride into WWE.
While Fit Finlay made it as a star in the United States, it is Japan where David Finlay calls home. He is a member of the Heavyweight roster and is a former IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion alongside his former partner Juice Robinson.
David Finlay in NJPW
However, it was not an easy start for David Finlay, who started out in the famed New Japan Dojo. He was apart of the same dojo training class as the likes of SHO, YOH, Master Wato, Aaron Henare and most notably “Switchblade” Jay White. It is hard to stand out in a group with talents such as these but he has managed to carve out a niche for himself and have a successful run so far.
Along with partner Juice Robinson, David Finlay has won both the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship and the World Tag League. The pair also struck gold in Impact wrestling as one of the early wrestlers to move from NJPW to Impact.
With New Japan being heavily reliant on the “faction” system within their roster, nearly all wrestlers on the show are part of one of the factions. While Juice Robinson is part of the Bullet Club stable, David Finlay is a “Main Unit” member, which means that he is currently unattached from a faction in NJPW.
He also also performed as a singles wrestler at times. At 29 years of age he has another decade or two to improve, but he has still had some great matches. His best match in a NJPW ring was his battle with Will Ospreay at the 2021 New Japan Cup. He was defeated on the night but impressed and could have a singles run in the future in NJPW.
David Finlay shares some similarities to his father in the ring but has evolved the British style and modernised it for Japanese audiences. He retains the hard-hitting style he learnt from his dad, but has mixed it with an intense speed and agility that makes his hard strikes even more dangerous. He wrestles faster paced than the usual Heavyweight wrestlers but not as fast as the Junior Heavyweights.
He has shown incredible heart in his matches and it has become one of his key traits. Japanese fans love a trier and somebody who never gives up, he he has that in spades. He has even pulled out shock victories in his time, the most impressive being when he defeated former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Jay White at last years New Japan Cup.
While he is nowhere near close enough to take on Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, he still has room to improve and could see himself in some main event programs for the years to come.
Sadly for David Finlay, he has constantly been bettered by his partner Juice Robinson. While they were level when they first joined forces, Robinson has gone on to bigger and better things and rather left his partner in the dust.
Juice Robinson has multiple reigns with the IWGP United States Championship, a title he recently won off Hiroshi Tanahashi. He has also had great showings in big matches against stars like Jay White, Will Ospreay and Jon Moxley, while Finlay has yet to have his star making moment in New Japan.
With Robinson recently defecting to Bullet Club and leaving his partner high and dry, it will be interesting to see if he can find a new attitude and improve as a wrestler in his goal to overtake his partner and become a star in Japan.
He is making the trip to the United States this week, ready to take on Adam Page on AEW Dynamite. David Finlay is walking through the Forbidden Door in time for the AEW vs NJPW PPV next month, although it is unknown if he will have a match on the show.
It is possible that a run in AEW could help him find his feet and become a star in NJPW, although the future of David Finlay is unknown, but will be exciting to see.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.