When SmackDown comes to an end tonight on Fox, someone will walk out of the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, as the United States Champion, either Austin Theory or Santos Escobar… or Damian Priest, if he opts to cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase and pull off one of the strangest heists in recent WWE memory.

Assuming that third option doesn't happen – which, again, it almost certainly won't – that just leaves the current reigning champion, who is on day 258  of his second reign with this title, and the “Emperor of Lucha Libre,” who has held titles around the world and has been wrestling for nearly as long as his opponent has been alive, as the contenders for the US Title crown.

No pressure, right?

So, with the duo set to throw down in Alberta, Canada, for a title designed to represent the United States – which could soon be held by a Mexican-born luchador, for even more North American fun –  WWE's production department took it upon themselves to get both performers into (separate) rooms to cut a promo about themselves and why they deserve to be one of the top acts in the promotion ahead of their big match. Would it have been cool to get these packages on the actually show? Most definitely, but hey, better late than never.

“Do you think that confidence creates success? No, it doesn't; it's just a result of success,” Austin Theory noted. “The world steps aside for a man who knows exactly where he's going, and no man's called his shot more than me, Austin Theory. I've stood face-to-face with the legends of this industry, even my own personal heroes, and one by one, I've put them all in the dirt. But I get why you hate me, it's because your life sucks; it's miserable, it's never going to amount to anything. And really, the only chance you have at tasting success is when you try to take a bite out of me. Now, I know I embody every characteristic of the egotistic, but I'm not cocky; I'm just right.”

Now, at this point, fans pretty much get the Theory schtick, as he's been a fixture of WWE for almost half a decade and has been getting pushed hard since he took part in the bizarre Red Notice egg tie-in episode of RAW. While he hasn't been featured much on television lately, as he's barely been afforded a chance to talk since being drafted onto SmackDown during the 2023 WWE Draft, only two performers, Dean “Jon Moxley” Ambrose and MVP, have held the strap for longer since Eddie Gurerro first held it in 2003. Even if Theory's days with the title may be numbered either way, as LA Knight may be calling himself the US Champion by Halloween, right now, it's hard to bet against the champ.

Santos Escobar is ready to prove the world is his on SmackDown.

While Austin Theory used his opportunity to address the WWE Universe well, as he ran through his accomplishments in the ring before effectively declaring that his cockiness is justified due to his success, he wasn't the only performer who felt that they have a right to the United States Championship, as Escobar too cut a promo explaining why there's no better time to put him over than the present.

“The key to realizing a dream, is to focus; not on success but significance,” Santos Escobar said. “I don't focus on what I'm up against, I focus on my goals; my goals. Represent my heritage and to get what's coming to me, the world, and everything in it. Limitations only live in my mind, and the only person I'm destined to become is exactly who I want to be. Yo soy Santos Escobar.”

Though Escobar hasn't won a main roster title in WWE just yet, he did hit his mentor, Rey Mysterio, so hard in their qualifying match in the United States Championship Invitational tournament that the match was called off due to severe whiplash, signifying that the leader of Legado Del Fantasma isn't messing around when it comes to the pursuit of championship gold. Will that same level of “ruthless aggression” – as Theory's former hero John Cena would say – be on display in Calgary, when the “Emperor of Lucha Libre” attempts to stampede his way through the youngest United States Champion in WWE history on his way to adding his name to that title's impressive legacy? Only time will tell, but after securing a win over the reigning champion on SmackDown last month, it's worth wondering if that same good fortune will hold over into August.