Well, it’s been quite a few weeks since I last posted on here. Things have been a little chaotic, with me starting a new job, along with a variety of family illnesses. But here we are back again, and hopefully it won’t be anywhere near as long until the next.
As I’ve been watching wrestling again over the last few months, Finn Balor has become one of my favourite performers. He’s not being used as effectively as he could or should be, but he’s prominent on RAW and you can always guarantee he’ll put on a good show.
Now, at first glance he might seem an odd choice for a POP. He doesn’t tend to be the most flamboyantly dressed wrestler in the business – black, blue or silver trunks with matching boots. But every now and then, he’ll emerge for his matches as The Demon.
In layman’s terms, he essentially throws on a whole bunch of body paint to look like the demon king Balor of Irish mythology, who ruled over the evil Fomhóraigh. The look definitely has some similarities to Marvel’s Venom, but it’s still one of the better pop culture appropriations in wrestling over recent years.
This isn’t the first time the Demon version of Balor has been released; originally there was a Chase of the regular figure which depicted him in makeup but without the headdress. I’d prefer the Chase to be the regular release, and this version with the headdress to be the Chase…but hey, that’s Funko for you.
The body sculpt is the same as the regular Finn, and the head appears to be a retool. It’s a surprisingly heavy piece as a result, though it doesn’t have any issues with balance. My only real complaint is that he looks a little too tall in comparison to most of his WWE POP! companions, but that’s simply a limitation of the format.
Now, the facepaint doesn’t work quite as well in Funko format as it does in real life, but the general effect is still conveyed. Additionally, they haven’t given him his usual back paint, but I can imagine this might have been a costing issue. It’d be covered up by the headdress anyway, so it’s not a huge deal. It all adds up to a fun, if slightly imperfect figure. In a line dominated by dudes with beards in tights, he definitely stands out.
Like many white people in Australia, I’m of partial Irish descent*. Accordingly, part of the reason I like Finn Balor** is because he doesn’t play to traditional and offensive “Oirish” stereotypes. You might be surprised to learn that there’s actually quite a bit more to Gaelic culture than potatoes, four-leaf clovers, Riverdance, Guinness and leprechauns. The fact that they haven’t forced him into a Lucky Charms outfit or similar is a shockingly progressive approach from WWE, an organisation which seems to aggressively seek controversy around race and ethnicity. Balor has helped give Irish mythology a bigger place on the pop culture landscape, and he’s a darn great in-ring performer.
It’s been quite a while since Finn has performed as The Demon, which is a shame. At the moment WWE seem to be using him as mid-card eye candy, rather than. Still, with Summerslam and a high profile Australian PPV on the way, you never know what we could see in the near future.
*English, Scottish, Welsh and Finnish too. More Ancestry.com results to come from the other side of the family soon, hopefully.
**Same thing goes for Becky Lynch