Austin Theory is going to be alright

What Austin Theory did on November 7 Raw — unsuccessfully cashing his Money in the Bank briefcase from the United States champion, who had issued an open challenge as yet unanswered — was very stupid.

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

“Because you see, I was promoted to be the next big thing and prove it on day one, and I did. I exceeded that expectation. And what did I do? I broke through the ceiling of being the next big thing and became the face of the franchise. And people still hate me to this day for it. Why? Because they can’t relate. And everyone looks at a person like me and wants to see me fail. He wants to see me fall short of expectations, that’s just not going to happen. But for me, when I think about last Monday, everyone thinks I fell, well they’re wrong. Because I feel more alive than ever.

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

“Look at Roman Reigns. No one has been able to touch it in the last two years. No one. And has he been vulnerable? Well, whenever he does, which is rarely, The Bloodline is there. Look at my cash income. i tried it on summer festival. Brock Lesnar was there. clash in 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 charging doesn’t exist.

“So what did I do? What did I put into my brain and decide to do? I thought, ‘What’s the best thing to do after this?’ And that goes after one of the greatest champions of the last decade, Seth Rollins. And where was he? On his back, in the middle of that ring, I made him hit. A-Town Down and Bobby Lashley: Bobby Lashley got me out of that ring and mutilated me like crazy. But if it wasn’t for him, I’d be a two-time United States Champion right now, and I would have had the biggest cash…”

That’s where Dolph Ziggler cut Theory. We’ll get in touch with the man who actually had one of the best cashes on Raw after WrestleMania 29 in a second, but let’s dig a little deeper into this interview first.

Theory (and WWE writers) talk about the pressure that came from being cast as Vince McMahon’s chosen scene partner last year. He addresses previous collection attempts of his, setting out the frustration that led him to do something rash last week.

Should he have been more patient and seen if Reigns was left vulnerable and without backup for the next seven months or more before his Money in the Bank contract expired? Did he use Rollins’ open challenge instead of the briefcase to give the injured United States champion a chance on 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 those imposed on him say he should be “the face of the franchise” by now. That person, especially if it’s also established that he’s a bit of a jerk? That person might not think about his next move if he was too focused on doing something, anything to change the narrative of how he would never beat Reigns.

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

Reigns is one of three established players that Theory promo featured in a big way. He’s a smart move considering he either just lost or been bullied by all of them into doing something stupid. The combination of delusions of grandeur and praise for rivals that Theory delivers can be hard to do believably, but it pulled it off well.

Similarly, the message “Theory breaks!” some of the story that unfolded during and after his match with Ziggler, and in his final attack on Rollins, might seem like a cliché or a caricature. But even though we knew what they were doing and why they were doing it, he still delivered a compelling portrayal of an angry young man, one who’s been hearing the world call him a fool for the past seven days.

Is the bearded, angry, chip-on-the-shoulder theory a piece of cake to become a main event fixture? No, but this version of the character is much more interesting than the briefcase-carrying himbo we’ve been eyeing for the past five months.


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