At SummerSlam 2019, "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt made his in-ring debut against Finn Balor. The former Intercontinental Champion ultimately became The Fiend's first victim as he was pinned after Wyatt locked in the Mandible Claw. Balor then took a hiatus from WWE TV and re-emerged in NXT on October 2.
The Prince talked about his time off on Dan Matha's Spark In The Dark Podcast and revealed he had to step away from wrestling for a little while because he was turning into "a bitter d**k."
Balor said: "I'd been working from 2000 until last August, which was 19 years without taking a break unless it was some sort of injury. Like, I had a month off or something or the shoulder injury which I had. But the shoulder injury I actually worked harder when I was out than when I was fit because I was doing rebab three times a day to try and get it back, to get it going, and the stress of the injury and the pressure of trying to come back. So, that actually felt harder than when you're actually working…
"So, I've been going for 19 years straight up until SummerSlam last August and I just came to a point where I just needed a break. And not so much physically, it was more mentally to be by myself and kind of be away from the boys. I love the boys but it gets to a point where, like, it's just too intense and when you're around them all the time you just need some space. And I just needed space from everything. The business, bookers, writers, just schedules. I just needed space from everything.
"It had just become too intense and I was turning into a different person that I didn't like. I was snapping at people, I wasn't giving people time in conversations. I was turning into just like a bitter d**k essentially. And I could feel it like building and building, and thankfully the company gave me some time to kind of get my head straight and get better.
"And when I came back the idea was pitched around to go to NXT and I was like, 'Hell yeah, let's do it.' So, I went from working 172 matches a year to working maybe like 50 matches a year, which is a huge drop."