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Bursting back onto the scene in October of last year, Theory immediately started climbing up the ranks of the Monday Night Raw roster. This past July, he made history by becoming the youngest Money in the Bank winner in WWE history, successfully grabbing the all-important briefcase at the end of one of the most unpredictable matches in history – all at the age of 24.
Now, at age 25, Austin Theory has the single most important lottery ticket in professional wrestling: a guaranteed WWE World Championship opportunity – whenever he chooses. Whether Theory calls his shot well in advance or decides to cash in the briefcase on a moment’s notice, the WWE Universe may very well be calling him THE champion in the near future.
Even though he holds a ticket to a title match, Theory hasn’t rested on his laurels. He made a surprise appearance during Tuesday’s episode of NXT, seemingly warning the entire roster – and NXT Champion Bron Breakker specifically – that he may wind up using his briefcase to go after that brand's title.
With NXT Halloween Havoc only a few days away, the mere tease of Austin Theory appearing at the event Saturday had us intrigued. Luckily, we managed to track down Theory ahead of this weekend to ask him some questions – not only about his potential involvement at Halloween Havoc, but also about things that wrestling fans around the world have been dying to know about for the past few months.
Theory wasted no time getting to the point, talking up the lineage of the NXT Championship and reinforcing the notion that the Money in the Bank briefcase holder is truly the most dangerous person in the WWE.
“Listen, the NXT championship is a world championship – and that Money in the Bank contract can be cashed in on any world championship in WWE. So was I walking out at the end of NXT just so everybody could bask in my glory and enjoy my theme song and get to see my beautiful face?” he asked. “Or was I there to let everybody know that maybe this Saturday at Halloween Havoc I'm going to cash in and become the new NXT Champion? Who knows. Who knows what I was doing there. But you know, I’ve learned from my mistakes in the past and I'll say this: I’m not letting anybody know what I'm doing with that Money in the Bank contract.”
Theory made a lot of sense. Throughout the history of the Money in the Bank contract, it’s always been in the briefcase holder’s best interest to play things close to the vest – the perfect way to keep champions off-guard.
Ever since his arrival in WWE, Austin Theory has been linked to Vince McMahon – both on and off-screen. The internet rumor mill has been running wild ever since Triple H took over as WWE’s Head of Creative. Was Austin Theory only successful early on in his WWE career because Vince McMahon took the young Superstar under his wing? Will he hit his head on the glass ceiling because Triple H is now in charge? For the first time, Austin Theory spoke candidly about this very topic and aimed to put the speculation to rest.
“Triple H has always been there and always has been behind the scenes – he just didn’t appear recently out of nowhere. When I signed with WWE, Triple H was the one who knew who I was and what I’ve done. And of course, when I was in NXT, I was working with Triple H,” he said.
“So for me now, I wouldn't really say I'm tagged as anybody’s guy. I look at it as Austin Theory is his own person. I've got myself here on my own. And when it comes to the direction now – I’m in very good hands. Honestly, when there’s change everybody gets a little worried, right? But look at somebody like Triple H who’s always been behind the scenes, who’s always been guiding the company. And because of that, I’ve been having a great time. So, yeah – everything is good.”
Once Mr. Money in the Bank had the opportunity to put that – ahem, theory – to bed once and for all, he turned his attention to one of the Superstars he’s been compared to the most ever since he made his WWE debut – John Cena. Blessed with a similar body type and showing the same type of charisma that made the WWE Universe so enamored with Cena during his “Doctor of Thuganomics” phase, fans have been pegged Theory as the “next John Cena” for a while now.
As it turns out, Theory doesn’t care one bit about that
“I always respect that – when people make that comparison,” he began. “You know, Cena was the guy who motivated me when I was younger and the guy who made me want to be a WWE Superstar in the first place. But as I’ve gone further into my career and learned things on my own – I’ve realized I want to be my own. I want to be the first Austin Theory, not the next John Cena. So anytime there’s that comparison, that’s awesome, but I'm aiming to be my own person.”
Of course, one doesn’t become one of WWE's potential future leading lights without learning from the ground up. You can’t do it all on your own – even if you’re as naturally gifted as Austin Theory – and he spoke about who in the WWE locker room has been most instrumental in shaping his career progress thus far.
“Of all the people who have helped me during my journey on the main roster, the first person who comes to mind is Jey Uso. That’s somebody that really has helped me a lot, even when I was doing dark matches before I was drafted to Raw, before I was doing all the crazy stuff that I’ve done so far. That’s somebody who has really been there for me. I have to include MVP in this as well – he’s also somebody who I’ve looked up to and who’s helped me out.”
While we never would’ve guessed the influence that Jey Uso and MVP would’ve had on shaping Theory’s career – we’re not surprised. While natural ability can bring you to the dance, the lessons you learn along the way from men and women who’ve been there before are invaluable on the road to fulfilling your destiny.
Will Austin Theory’s destiny involve him becoming involved in the NXT Championship match at Halloween Havoc? That remains to be seen. But judging from the time we spent with him, we wouldn’t put it past him to cash in that contract this weekend!
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