Balor won the WWE Universal Championship from Seth Rollins in August 2016 at Summerslam in his first pay-per-view match ever.
But Balor’s title reign was short lived, as he suffered a severe shoulder injury during the match when he was power-bombed against the barricade.
Balor suffered a torn labrum, which proved to be “more damage than a standard shoulder dislocation where you simply tear your labrum,” Dr. Jeffrey Dugas told WWE.com. He was forced the relinquish the title the very next night on WWE RAW and underwent surgery the day after.
But now, with Royal Rumble looming, there is plenty of speculation on whether Balor will return at the PPV, possibly as an entrant into the Royal Rumble match. And rumors show that there may be a legitimate shot for Balor, who was slated to be sidelined for about six months, could be cleared by doctors prior to the Royal Rumble.
Johnson wrote that Balor is “slated to undergo medical testing this week that could clear him to return to the ring.” However, according to Dave Meltzer from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter last week, he said:
I had heard early-March. A lot of people when I say that go ‘they always lie,’ and usually when you’re given a date on when a guy is gonna come back in WWE, it’s usually early. The only thing is everyone remembers John Cena, because John Cena’s a freak and everything like that. John Cena always comes back early, but if they say a guy is gonna be out for like five months, it’s usually six or seven. It’s almost always longer, and I’m not saying this will be, but we’ll see. I just know the last thing he said was early-March.
In a December 2016 episode of Sam Roberts’ Wrestling Podcast, Balor said he had his sling taken off and “targeted” WrestleMania 33 as a possible return date.
However, news on a possible return remains uncertain. The 2017 Royal Rumble is January 29 starting at 7 p.m. Eastern at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.