Fit Finlay would’ve been in WWE sooner had JBL convinced Vince McMahon successfully.
David ‘Fit’ Finlay is one of the toughest men to ever enter a WWE ring. He always took wrestling very seriously and protected the industry from anyone that had the gall to call it fake in front of him.
Finlay joined WWE in 2001 after WCW’s closure and spent his early years there as a trainer for people like John Cena, Randy Orton, and the WWE Divas. He appeared on-screen a few times in backstage skits as an agent/official, but wasn’t a wrestler.
It wasn’t until 2005 (when Finlay was in his late forties) that he started actually debuted on WWE programming as a wrestler. It took a few years until he and JBL crossed paths, but the two had a Belfast Brawl to open WrestleMania 24 in 2008.
But Finlay would’ve been in WWE much sooner had Vince listened to JBL and hired him back in the 1990s.
Speaking on the latest edition of his Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw podcast, JBL told the story of his first interview with WWE. He just got off a European tour and was sitting in a room with Vince McMahon, Brisco, and J.J. Dillon. When the subject of that tour was brought up, so too was Finlay’s name:
“When I signed with WWE, I met Vince for the first time in the office, had my tryout match, Jerry [Gerald Brisco] is the one who signed me, him and JJ Dillon agreed to sign me.
At the end of the meeting, Vince says, ‘is there anyone I should sign in Europe?’ ‘Yeah, Fit Finlay.’ Vince says, half-jokingly, ‘Well, if you were me, would you sign him instead of you?’ I said, ‘Absolutely. I’m serious. He’s that good.'”
Both JBL and Fit Finlay have left WWE and come back over the years. JBL spent years as a commentator and has since returned as Baron Corbin’s manager while Finlay was furloughed during the COVID pandemic but has since been brought back as a trainer in WWE’s Performance Center.
h.t Fightful for the transcription