WWE Raw Star Believes His Recent Booking is Setting Him Up to Challenge Roman Reigns

WWE's booking of Austin Theory for a good chunk of 2022 has mostly left fans scratching their heads. After Vince McMahon's departure from the company and a promo where he was emasculated by Roman Reigns, Theory started consistently losing on TV despite still holding the Money in the Bank contract. He eventually cashed it in, but instead of using it on a world title like every other former briefcase holder, he tried going after Seth Rollins' United States Championship and lost in about five minutes. But just a few weeks later he lucked his way into winning the title at Survivor Series during a triple threat with Rollins and Bobby Lashley.

With the title back over his shoulder and a slightly altered heel persona, Theory now believes he's being elevated to eventually challenge Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. Theory's two attempts to cash in on Reigns on pay-per-view ended in disaster, with him getting knocked out by Brock Lesnar (SummerSlam) and heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury (Clash at the Castle). 

"The cocky, arrogant, douchy persona just really gets under people's skin and it did its purpose," Theory told City News this week. "And having the Money in the Bank contract and the way that character was, there's a little bit of a ceiling there just because when you look at Roman Reigns being so unstoppable and everything. Whoever is going to beat Roman Reigns it's gotta be someone that is really going to beat Roman Reigns and not just by some luck and I think the chapter that Austin Theory is headed now, is setting him up to build to being that qualifier to stand toe to toe with Roman Reigns."

Brian "Road Dogg" James, one of WWE's EVPs, also defended Theory's recent booking on his latest podcast — "Sometimes, people get over through defeats. If you think about Austin Theory, working a bunch, having great matches, hadn't won any of them. I don't think about that. This is where I'm going to anger more people. Austin Theory is putting on some bangers. Don't you get over by having great matches? If wrestling is so good and profitable and marketable, then why isn't his ability to wrestle greatly getting him over? I would argue that it is getting him over. The kid is a stud athlete, good-looking, and can go. Sure, he's losing some matches, so has Seth Rollins, so has everybody."

"His character is getting established. He's going to put on great wrestling matches. He lost the briefcase, to me, that was the thing that kept his heat," he continued. "Now, I don't want to see him lose so much. When you have that briefcase, you can beat me every day until Sunday, but at the right time, when that champion is down on his luck just enough, here I come, and that's all you have to say in every promo. 'You got beat last week, how do you feel?' 'I feel I'm the youngest ever Money in the Bank winner and I'm going to cash this in and become the champion, how do you feel?' My point was, he's putting on great matches. I will watch next week when he has a great one, I probably know he's going to lose, but I don't care because he's going to have a great match."