TLC 2017 was meant to be the home of a match between Finn Balor and Bray Wyatt, but the bout was cancelled last minute and replaced with something much, much better.
Finn Balor had been feuding with Bray Wyatt for a number of months in 2017. They wrestled numerous times, both with Finn in his demon persona and as regular old Mr Balor, Irish wrestler and ab enthusiast. The feud had really worn itself out but WWE was intent on ramping up to spookiness for their next pointless encounter and looked to set up one of the stupidest matches ever.
Finn Balor vs Bray Wyatt
The final Bray Wyatt vs Finn Balor was set to take place at TLC 2017, with the pairs supernatural gimmicks dialled up to 11. Deviating from his usually black and red design, Finn Balor’s “The Demon King” took on a whole new look for this supposed encounter. In the weeks leading up to the match he revealed himself to be painted entirely in orange and looking like a pumpkin.
As we all know, as scary vegetables go, pumpkins are certainly up there. However, vegetables definitely have a limit on how terrifying they can be and it is well before somebody decides to paint themselves up to look like one in front of millions of people. It also ruined the idea of The Demon King being a mythical demon that snaps and comes out when Balor goes into a rage and instead just confirms that actually he’s just painting his body to be more scary to his opponent.
But that pales in comparison to whatever Bray Wyatt was doing.The former WWE Champion channelled the spirit of his dead nun adopted mother (I think, the lore was confusing and his promos were incredibly rambley) where a veil and pretending to the dead relative. It didn’t really make any sense whatsoever, especially since Randy Orton had killed her spirit earlier that year by burning down the Wyatt Compound.
The game of dress up was confusing and frankly just a bit silly. It was hard to take Wyatt seriously when he was “possessed” by Sister Abagail, whose status as a mother-figure to Wyatt in a past life transformed into something out of the 9th sequel of a once-popular horror franchise.
Luckily, the match never took place. Unluckily, this was because a number of the roster which included Bray Wyatt came down with a case of mumps. This also affected the long awaited Shield reunion, with Roman Reigns replaced by Kurt Angle for an incredibly convoluted 5 vs 3 match up, which gave us one of the funniest moments in WWE as he stepped out with Ambrose and Rollins with a goofy grin on his face,
Instead of the bout with Bray Wyatt, Finn Balor faced off with AJ Styles for the time time in his career. The two former Bullet Club leaders had a classic match that is still talked about to this day, with the most important aspect being that Balor did not in fact paint himself orange like a pumpkin.
Why Was Finn Balor vs Bray Wyatt Cancelled?
Finn Balor vs Bray Wyatt was cancelled because Bray Wyatt came down with mumps on the days leading up to the show. The illness went around the WWE locker room, most notably stopping Roman Reigns from wrestling in the first match with The Shield in three years. This disrupted the pay per view completely, although the change in the card had mixed results.
It was a bonus for Balor, who got to face AJ Styles in a dream match. It was a shock for fans to see the Smackdown star come over for one night only on the Raw pay per view and face his fellow former Bullet Club leader in NJPW. Balor won the match as “The Demon” to send the fans home happy, but not before they would be treated to an eyesore of a match featuring the unconventional trio of Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Kurt Angle – the New Shield.