NXT is full of superstar talent, and the talent pool got another shot in the arm when Austin Theory made his debut on the black and gold brand. Theory is just 22 years old, but he's already accomplished quite a bit on the independent circuit, including a big-time run in Evolve. Now he's set his sights on NXT, and as we saw last Wednesday, he's going all-in on Tommaso Ciampa after Ciampa tried to make an example of him. Tonight he is set to even the score, and ComicBook.com had the chance to chat with Theory all about tonight's big match, his tie in NXT so far, and what's to come.
First, we had to ask what prompted him to attack Ciampa during his lengthy promo last Wednesday, and specifically if there was a moment that pushed him over the edge.
"Well I think from my standpoint, a lot of people are saying that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time," Theory said. "But to me, I think I was in the right place at the right time. You know, I saw him standing there, and he was saying what he had to say, and obviously it wasn't about me, so that bothered me. But why not take a shot at the guy that is basically on top of NXT? I mean where does that put me? And now here we are going into tonight with a match against him, and in my head I'm thinking 'I pull this one off, where does that put Austin Theory?'"
Theory is known for spotlighting how athletic he is and putting on a show in the ring, but don't get it twisted, because he is not playing around with Ciampa.
"I do like to show off, but tonight I want to set an example for who I am," Theory said. "Because last Wednesday Tommaso basically tried to make me an example, and let Johnny Gargano know this was what's going to happen to you, and you just don't do the future like that. That's where I'm looking at this match totally different. It's not about me showing out, showing off. It's about me proving a point that I am the future of NXT, and Tommaso Ciampa made a mistake. If he thinks I'm just a bull in the wind and he's focused on Johnny, that's just not good for him."
Theory has already put on some impressive matches in NXT, and the star feels that Evolve really got him ready in the perfect way for his time on NXT.
"I would say that Evolve was very good at preparing me for this change," Theory said. "A lot of what's looked at down at Evolve is basically development to get guys ready to come to NXT, so it wasn't really a huge change. Obviously there's a lot more with just the technical stuff and cameras and stuff like that. That's a bigger thing here, but I think they just did a very good job at preparing me for NXT and being ready for what's next."
While everyone is looking to prove themselves in the ring, the locker room is a different story, and there's always someone willing to answer a question or give some advice.
"Everybody is very motivating here," Theory said. "And if you want advice, if you have a question, if you don't know the answer to something, there's always somebody that'll give you that resource. Nobody ever holds back, and honestly, everybody here just wants to be better and improve. Even from the coaching standpoint and somebody like Triple H, they just want to make everybody better and have the best brand possible."
Theory recently shared his goals for 2020, and one of them is to main event a TakeOver. So, at the moment, who would his opponent be?
"There's a lot of guys, but I'd say right now just because of what I need to prove, right now it would be Tommaso Ciampa because I want to tear his head off right now," Theory said.
You can't have NXT without Full Sail, and it kind of gives the black and yellow brand its own home town crowd, something that is quite hard to replicate.
"They have just so much energy, and it's kind of different, I feel like it's like a family with them," Theory said. "Just the way, like any other sport, it just feels like the WWE fans are, it's insane. It feels like there's more than just them just being fans and us just being sports entertainers. It feels like there's more, it feels like we're closer. And if feels like they feel all the emotion. And they give us that energy, and we give them the same energy."
As for who else he wants a crack at, there is one person on the roster who Theory would love to get in the ring with once more, and that would be Mr. Velveteen Dream.
"I mean, I'm sure I'm going to wrestle everyone here. But I would definitely love to have another match with Velveteen Dream," Theory said. "I had a match with him at Evolve back in, I want to say it was 2000 maybe 17 or 18, I'm not sure. Maybe it was 2018. But it was a lot of fun. And that would be somebody now, even I feel like both of us have stepped our game up. And I think that would be like a really cool mix to have on NXT."
You can watch Theory take on Ciampa on tonight's NXT, which airs on USA at 7 pm CST and make sure to check out more of our NXT coverage right here. You can also hit me up on Twitter @MattAguilarCB for all things NXT!0comments