Finn Balor Remembers How Dusty Rhodes Helped Him In NXT
Ahead of tonight's NXT TakeOver: Respect show, NXT champ Finn Balor has revealed the influence late legend Dusty Rhodes - after whom the 'Respect' title has been dedicated to - had on him and his career.
Finn, who teams with Samoa Joe in an attempt to make it to the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournamoent at TakeOver, remembers the Dream fondly, telling WWE.com how the charismatic Hall of Famer helped him with his promos.
He recalled: “One of the first classes I had with Dusty was promo class. Obviously, my mic skills, although they improved over the year I spent with him, they weren’t so good at the beginning. Dusty said to me, ‘Prince,’ because I was still Prince at the time, ‘Prince, the way people were talking about your work before you came in, I thought Lou Thesz was going to walk in the door. What we have to do is get your communication skills on par with your ring work.’ That’s what I’ve been trying to do ever since I got here.
“He helped me get comfortable in myself, not be worried about trying to sound cool. He said, ‘You’ve got an accent already, just speak from the heart and be honest and open, be yourself. That’s what got you here and what people are interested in, so that’s what will sell for you.’
Finn continued: “The first couple times, I was very rigid and stern, I memorized the verbiage. It never came out right. He encouraged me, just go out there and talk, be yourself. I went up there, maybe I was a little pissed off and angry, I was more myself and he said, ‘That’s it, it sounds cool. It doesn’t matter what you say, when you say it from the heart, it just sounds cool.’
“Unbelievably, I am still naturally introverted. I don’t like being on camera and having microphones jammed in my face. But Dusty helped me with my confidence in front of the camera. He told me to get the reps in, which helped me find my voice.
“I was there for Dusty to mould. Having his brain and the amount of stories he’d tell us. He’d just tell us an old story that would teach us a valuable lesson. Half the time I think he was telling them just to make us laugh, but in reality, we were all learning a great deal from them.”
* * Watch NXT TakeOver: Respect on the WWE Network from 1am tonight