Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon
SportsPro Wrestling

WWE's Finn Balor helping with Answer the Call charity as SummerSlam comes to New York City

Wrestling fans know him as Finn Balor, the body-painted, high-flying competitor who has captivated NXT audiences since joining the WWE developmental brand a year ago.

But, were it not for the NXT champion making a critical career decision 13 years ago, he may have been better known as Officer Devitt.

Balor, whose real name is Fergal Devitt, said he applied to, and was accepted into his local police force in Ireland when he was 21 but passed on the opportunity in order to pursue his first passion, wrestling.

"It was something that I really would have liked to do," Balor, 34, said. "I wasn't willing to sacrifice my wrestling career to become a police officer."

Now, Balor said he is "humbled" at the opportunity to give back to the law enforcement community by taking part in a special auction for Answer The Call, a charity benefiting the widows and children of fallen New York City police officers and firefighters.

The auction, which is open through Aug. 25 at noon, includes several opportunities to meet WWE Superstars, including during a tour of the company's Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, where Balor and other NXT talent usually set up shop.

"We're going to paint some people up as demons and give them a little tour of the center, maybe get them in the ring, get them in front of a camera to cut some promos," Balor said. "They're going to be up for a treat."

The auction is just one of the many New York City events involving WWE this week, leading up to Sunday's SummerSlam show at Brooklyn's Barclays Center. The previous night, Balor will headline NXT's biggest show to date, also at the Barclays, in a ladder match against arch rival Kevin Owens.

For Balor, who wrestled around the world for 14 years before arriving in WWE, the whirlwind week is testament to the broad reach of his employer.

"I knew it was a global company, but I didn't quite realize how many people it reaches, the pure scope of everything they do, not only in the ring but outside the ring, working with charities locally, nationally and internationally," Balor said. "It's really quite an amazing company to work with."

And never was the experience more amazing than on July 4, when Balor returned to Tokyo, where he made a name for himself as "Prince Devitt," and captured the NXT title from Owens in a special event that aired exclusively on the WWE Network.

"I don't really have time to sit back and dwell on any of the things I've been doing for the last year," Balor said. "But I think that night in Tokyo, maybe when I'm 50 or 60 and looking back on life . . . that will be one of the most memorable nights of my career. To say it was a dream come true is a huge understatement."

New York Sports