Last month, WWE made the surprising decision to have Austin Theory use his Money in the Bank contract for a shot at the United States title... after the champion had issued an open challenge... and then lose the match.
In the wake of that, some declared Theory “buried”. Others argued that while the circumstances may not have been ideal, the move at least freed his character up to do something other than tease cash-ins everyone knew he wouldn’t win.
The weeks since have seen the young Superstar showing more of an edge, and winning the U.S. title at Survivor Series. It’s been a bit of vindication for folks who said dropping the briefcase would be the best thing for Theory. Based on what he told Ottawa’s City News recently, the 25 year old is among those feeling vindicated:
“The cocky, arrogant, douchy persona just really gets under people’s skin and it did its purpose. And having the Money in the Bank contract and the way that character was, there’s a little bit of a ceiling there just because when you look at Roman Reigns being so unstoppable and everything. Whoever is going to beat Roman Reigns it’s gotta be someone that is really going to beat Roman Reigns and not just by some luck and I think the chapter that Austin Theory is headed now, is setting him up to build to being that qualifier to stand toe to toe with Roman Reigns.”
Theory seems to recognize he’s still not a threat to the Tribal Chief (otherwise he probably would have said he was ready instead of that he’s being set up to build to qualify for a singles match with the Undisputed WWE Universal champ). A few weeks of tough talk and a fluke win in a Triple Threat didn’t turn him into The Rock. But even if he’s just a little more credible now than he was at SummerSlam or Clash at the Castle, it’s progress.
Almost any way you slice it, carrying around the red, white & blue belt is better than getting F5-ed by Brock Lesnar or punched out by Tyson Fury while holding a briefcase.