Acrylic, oil and spray on 30″ x 40″ canvas
Finn Balor personifies the idea of a world champion in the modern era. Fergal Devitt was born on July 25, 1981 in Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland. At the age of 18 he debuted as a professional wrestler for the National Wrestling Alliance UK Hammerlock promotion, soon winning the NWA British Commonwealth Heavyweight Championship. Two years later he opened NWA Ireland with Paul Tracey. At the 2005 NWA anniversary show in Nashville, TN he was invited to attend the New Japan Inoki Dojo in Santa Monica, CA to train, where his impressive skills impressed many and led to his being invited to New Japan’s main dojo in Japan. After losing the NWA British Commonwealth Championship to Karl Anderson, Devitt began working with New Japan as Prince Devitt.
In New Japan, Devitt started teaming with the Control Terrorism Unit in 2007, partnering with CTU’s leader Jushin Thunder Liger. After CTU’s folding, he began teaming with former stablemate Minoru as the team Prince Prince. On January 27, 2008 the duo won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, losing it a month later to Akira and Jushin Thunder Liger, regaining it again in July. They finally lost for the final time three months later to No Limit’s Tetsuya Naito and Yujiro. In 2009 he began teaming with Ryusuke Taguchi as Apollo 55, and together they defeated Alex Shelly and Chris Sabin to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship on July 5, 2009. They held the titles until April 21, 2010 when they were stripped of them after not defending for 30 days.
On May 30, 2010 Prince Devitt entered the 2010 Best of the Super Juniors tournament, scoring enough wins to make it to the semifinals. On June 13 defeated Tajii Ishimori in the semifinals and Kota Ibushi in the finals to earn a shot at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. On June 19th he defeated Naomichi Marufuji for the title. He successfully defended it against the likes of Atsushi Aolki, Davey Richards, Kota Ibushi, Taka Michinoku, and Low Ki before losing it to Kota Ibushi. He regained it on September 19, 2011. On March 14, 2012 he had his first tour of Mexico with CMLL, where he won the NWA World Historic Middleweight Championship from Volador Jr before losing the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship to Low Ki on May 3rd in Japan. In September he lost his other title to Dragon Rojo Jr in Mexico. He regained his IWGP title back from Low Ki in November. By 2013 he began to develop a more cocky and arrogant persona, turning heel. On May 3rd, teaming with Bad Luck Fale, he was joined by Karl Anderson and Tama Tonga to form the insanely popular Bullet Club. He began chasing Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, unable to beat him for the title. It was also around this time that Devitt began sporting body paint for the bigger events along with elaborate entrances to the ring. Prince Devitt left The Bullet Club and New Japan in early 2014.
Devitt debuted on WWE NXT on September 25, 2014 as Finn Balor, aiding Hideo Itami against The Ascension’s Konnor and Viktor. After feuding with Tyler Breeze and Rhino, Balor defeated Kevin Owens for the NXT Championship on July 4th, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan. From Ireland to the United States to Japan to Mexico and all over again, whether he’s known as Fergal Devitt, Prince Devitt or Finn Balor, he has won championships, drawn crowds, and solidified his legacy as a world-traveler.
About the piece: I wanted to work with the cool factor that is Balor’s body paint, but do it in a way that I feel is fresh and new. Rather than do a shot of him wearing the paint, I first rendered his face without it with a palette knife. Once that was done, I came in with a Jackson Pollock-inspired dripping and swirling of red and black paint, creating the effect of this demonic persona attaching itself to him. I finished that off with the white ‘teeth’, and I think I ended up with one of my best pieces to date.