On the final RAW before WrestleMania 39, Austin Theory did something smart. After spending basically his entire United States Championship run getting “what?”-ed by fans in pretty much every arena across the country, Theory decided to take advantage of his final opportunity to address the WWE Universe by removing the audience from the equation entirely by cutting an empty arena promo to no one but the camera crew.
Why? Simply: Theory isn't wrestling for anyone but himself and will keep up the same intensity whether performing in front of 75,000 fans or no fans at all.
“This Saturday at WrestleMania, I’ll lose everything according to you, John Cena,” Theory said. “But that’s where you’re wrong. Because for some reason, you seem to have thought that you exposed me right here on this mic. You exposed yourself; you showed the entire world that the one thing that John Cena can’t see is the future right in front of his eyes. I mean, it’s like you wanted to hit me with a reality check, trying to tell me that nobody believes in me. No one, not even you. Not even John Cena.
“But John, you're probably wondering why I’m in this arena all alone. Well, it’s simple; it’s because there’s no difference being in the middle of this ring in an empty arena or being in the middle of this ring in a sold-out SoFi Stadium. And do you want to know why? Because I don’t do this for the WWE Universe. I don’t do this for some kid growing up who wants to become the next Austin Theory. And I certainly don’t do this to become the next John Cena. I do this for me. I do this because I had a purpose before anybody had an opinion about me. It’s sad. It’s so sad to know that I would have let you to go down as the hero, but do you know what you did, John? You made things personal. And I already said it before and there’s a lot of people and h*ll, everybody looks up to you, but it’s going to be so fitting when you’re looking up to me. And I’m telling you right now, that’s not a Theory, because John Cena, I’m going to make you, make you believe in me, in Austin Theory. And the WWE Universe that you love so much, I’m going to make them stop believing in you. And that’s all going to happen of so very soon on the grandest stage of them all, this Saturday at WrestleMania.”
On paper, Theory's idea was actually really smart, as he allowed himself to be vulnerable without having to worry about a less-than-receptive crowd making light of him. Fortunately, if Theory's words hold true, then it shouldn't really matter what fans might say, as he's not wrestling for anyone but that eight-year-old John Cena fan who wanted to become a WWE Superstar back in Atlanta during the early 2000s.
Austin Theory credits this NXT faction for helping him find his ‘Way' in WWE.
Discussing his path to WrestleMania in an exclusive interview with Fightful, Theory shouted out his former NXT family for helping him find his “Way” in WWE.
“I would say, when you get to the WWE, you’re trying to figure everything out, trying to figure out how everything works and what you need to do right,” Theory said. “It keeps you on edge a little bit. But when I met Johnny (Gargano) and Candice (LeRae) and got to work with them in The Way, it almost let me relax a little bit and find that personality that I have and not just go through the motions or trying to figure out all this stuff. ‘Hey, just relax. Let’s do this.’ We just had fun. Honestly, when we were filming stuff or giving advice on, ‘Hey, can we say this instead? Because it might work better.’ It just naturally all flowed. It was bringing that personality and turning it up a lot.”
While Theory and Gargano haven't exactly been on the same page as members of the RAW roster, with the former giving his previous mentor a hard time pretty much any opportunity he has, it's nice to know that their time together in NXT helped to ease the transition from middle-of-the-road NXT performer to the youngest United States Champion in WWE history. If Theory secures a win over Cena at WrestleMania 39, Gargano, LeRae, Dexter Lumis, and Indi Hartwell can all take pride in their former pal's accomplishments.