Finn Balor is one of the most recognisable stars in WWE at the moment and one of the greatest Irish wrestlers of all time. The former Universal Champion is beloved all over the world and has been named a star in the company by various legends, including Mick Foley. Sadly, he has failed to live up to the lofty expectations due to injuries, but has managed one world title reign in the WWE (which sadly only lasted a day) and two incredible NXT Championship reigns.
He was given the name Finn Balor when he joined NXT. Before that, he was called Prince Devitt when he wrestled for New Japan Pro Wrestling. He joined the company in 2006 after years of wrestling on the British independent scene under his real name – Fergal Devitt. In a recent interview, the former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion revealed why he got the moniker “Prince” added to his last name of Devitt.
“When I first went to Japan, I was wrestling under my real name. The Japanese people have a great amount of difficulty with the letters f, r and l. So three out of the six letters in my first name they couldn’t say. It was a bit of a mouthful for those guys. When they say ‘Devitt,’ they say it as ‘David,’ and it’s written in Japanese as ‘David.’ So there was a lot of confusion.”
It was then suggested that he go by the name “King Devitt”, as the same sounded similar to “King David” when spoken and written by the Japanese people (King David being the biblical figure who was the third king of Israel). While the name did carry some weight, the 24 year old Irishman was unsure about being called “King” so early on in his run in Japan. It could be viewed by some as arrogance, which could affect his career in Japan as it is a place where respect means a lot more than it does in other countries.
However, he revealed that the son of the late NJPW legend Antonio Inoki, Simon Inoki, suggested that instead of King Devitt, he instead went by “Prince”, due to his young status in the company. Balor loved the idea and went by Prince Devitt until he left New Japan in 2014 to sign for NXT.
“Simon Inoki, who was with the company at the time, said, ‘Why don’t we call him Prince?’ I could deal with Prince. I’m normally a really humble guy. I wasn’t very keen on calling myself King. Prince was something that became very much a part of me. All of a sudden I found myself answering to Prince. It just became who I was.”
Finn Balor is currently the leader of Judgement Day in WWE, a supernatural heel stable consisting of himself, Damian Priest, Rhea Ripley and Dominik Mysterio. They currently wrestle on Raw and are expected to appear in the 2023 Royal Rumble match, after Balor missed out last year due to visa issues.