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Austin Theory is gonna be just fine

In fact, his failed Money in the Bank cash-in might have been the best thing for him.

WWE on FOX’s Twitter

What Austin Theory did on the Nov. 7 Raw — cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase, unsuccessfully, on the United States champion, who had issued a still unanswered open challenge — was very stupid.

And honestly, his explanation from last night’s episode for doing that stupid thing wasn’t not stupid. But it was well delivered, and fit his character well.

“Because you see, I was touted to be the next big thing, and prove that on day one — and I did. I exceeded that expectation. And what did I do? I outgrew the cieling of being the next big thing, and i became the face of the franchise. And people still continue to hate on me til this day because of that. Why? Because they can’t relate. And the whole world looks at a person like me, and wants to see me fail. Wants to see me fall short of the expectation — that’s just not gonna happen. But for me, when I think about last Monday, everybody thinks that I fell, Well they’re wrong. Because I feel more alive than I ever have.

“Let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about that briefcase. Let’s talk about that Money in the Bank contract. It was an anchor on Austin Theory.

“Look at Roman Reigns. Nobody’s been able to touch him in the past two years. No one. And has he looked vulnerable? Well, whenever he does — which is rarely — The Bloodline’s there. Look at my cash-ins. I tried at SummerSlam. Brock Lesnar was there. Clash at the Castle. Tyson Fury was there. And if they weren’t there, The Bloodline certainly would have been. Roman Reigns is unstoppable, and that scenario of me cashing in, it doesn’t exist.

“So what did I do? What did I put in my brain and decide to do? I thought, ‘What is the best thing to do after this?’ And that is going after one of the greatest champions of this past decade, Seth Rollins. And where was he? On his back, in the middle of that ring, I had him beat. A-Town Down and Bobby Lashley — Bobby Lashley pulled me out of that ring and mauled me like a madman. But if it wasn’t for him, I’d be a two-time United States champion right now, and I would have had the greatest cash-in...”

That’s where Dolph Ziggler cut Theory off. We’ll get back to the man who actually did have one of the best cash-ins ever back on the Raw after WrestleMania 29 in a second, but let’s dig into the this interview a bit more first.

Theory (and WWE’s writers) talks about pressure that came along with being tabbed as Vince McMahon’s hand-picked scene partner last year. He addresses his previous cash-in attempts, establishing the frustration that drove him to do something rash last week.

Should he have been more patient, and seen if Reigns was left vulnerable and without back-up over the next seven months-plus before his Money in the Bank contract expired? Used Rollins’ open challenge instead of the briefcase to get a shot at the wounded U.S. champ a Monday ago?

Of course. That’s what you or I would do. But we’re not a 25 year old whose own expectations and the ones thrust on him say he should already be “the face of the franchise.” That person, especially if it’s also established they’re a bit of a meathead? That person might not think through his next move if he was too focused on doing something, anything to change the narrative of how he was never going to beat Reigns.

His speech does a good job of pointing something out fans have been pointing out since July 2: there is no way in the world Theory was going be the one to end Roman’s historic run on top of WWE.

Reigns is one of three established players Theory’s promo put over in a big way. That’s a smart move considering he’s just lost to or been intimidated into doing something stupid by all of them. The blend of heelish delusions of grandeur and praise for rivals that Theory served up can be tricky to do believably, but he pulled it off well.

Likewise, the “Theory snaps!” portion of the story that played out in and after his match with Ziggler, and in his show-closing attack on Rollins, could come across as cliche or cartoonish. But even though we knew what they were doing and why the were doing it, he still delivered a convincing portrayal of an angry young man, one who’s been listening to the world call him a dumb ass for the last seven days.

Is bearded, angry, chip on his shoulder Theory a slam dunk to become a fixture of the main event? No, but this version of the character is a lot more interesting than the himbo with a briefcase we’ve been watching for the last five months.


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