Against two former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) champions at Survivor Series, Austin Theory proved he can hang with the best of them.
In a triple threat match for the United States Championship against the current champion Seth 'Freakin' Rollins and the other challenger, 'The All Mighty' Bobby Lashley at this year's edition of WWE's marquee pay per view event, Theory pinned Rollins to become the United States champion for the second time in his blossoming WWE career.
It was a redemption moment for the 25-year-old, who, just a few weeks ago on a recent edition of Monday Night Raw, was unsuccessful in cashing in his Money in the Bank contract in hopes of reclaiming the United States championship.
Yes, he's the youngest United States champion in the history of the WWE. He's also the youngest Mr. Money in the Bank winner.
But Theory is tired of being told he's the youngest this, or the youngest that.
Gone are the days of the selfie. Gone are the days of talking.
This is a new, motivated and determined Theory who is out to prove that he's not the future of the WWE.
Austin Theory is 'The Now'.
We have seen his character evolve over the past few weeks into something new and improved. And he is ready to take Theory to the next level and write the next chapter in his WWE story.
He wants be a credible threat to the WWE's top dog, the Undisputed WWE Universal champion, Roman Reigns.
"The cocky, arrogant, douchy persona just really gets under people's skin and it did its purpose," said Theory in an interview with CityNews Ottawa. "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."
Born Austin White on Aug. 2, 1997, the man known as Austin Theory is living out his childhood dream of being a WWE superstar, and grew up idolizing John Cena.
Cena, who many consider in the conversation as the greatest WWE superstar of all time, has transitioned into a full-time movie star, but he still makes appearances here in there on WWE programming.
The man who commands hustle, loyalty and respect returned to WWE Raw in June of this year to celebrate his 20 year anniversary as a WWE superstar and Theory had the opportunity to share a promo, and some screen time, with his wrestling idol.
"That was a huge moment for me actually because that was the first time that I have done anything on screen with John and for it to be a promo was pretty special and not just a walk by, it was a confrontation and just getting to have that two minutes with him, it meant a lot to me," he said.
Having the chance to come face to face with his idol was just some of the unforgettable moments Theory has had in the past year. Aside from capturing the United States title and winning the Money in the Bank contract, he has shared screen time with Vince McMahon, went toe to toe with the likes of Pat McAfee, Shelton Benjamin and Dolph Ziggler and has come face to face with the 'Beast Incarnate', Brock Lesnar.
Despite losing his Wrestlemania 38 match against McAfee in what many consider to be an instant classic, Theory shared the ring with Mr. McMahon and the legendary 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin at the 2022 edition of the showcase of the immortals, and was the recipient of a Stone Cold stunner, courtesy of the Texas Rattlesnake himself.
"Having a great match with Pat McAfee and then after that, having Mr. McMahon and 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin standing in the ring together, and then later, me getting stunned into the skies of Dallas, was pretty amazing," he added. "You are just flying through the skies man you are literally up in the air flying. It's one of those things, you think about 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin and me being one of those guys selling the stunner, I had to put my own stamp on it and being able to share the ring with 'Stone Cold' is definitely a memorable moment."
He has nothing but high praise and appreciation for Mr. McMahon, who saw something in the young and up and coming star.
"It was one of those things where there's a lot of pressure especially I was 24 at the time and finding out that you are working with Mr. McMahon and he said he was never coming back on TV but he came back to work with me and I knew I had to stand up and perform," he said. "It was a make or break moment for me."
Now that he has won back the United States title, Theory said, nobody is safe.
"I am just going to go after whatever I want and whatever I see," he said.
Theory is looking forward to be on the road to Wrestlemania 39 as WWE Raw is returning to Ottawa for the first time in 12 years as the live television experience makes its way to the Canadian Tire Centre on Monday, Feb. 20.
Tickets can be purchased by visiting ticketmaster.ca or canadiantirecentre.com. Tickets start at $25.
The card is subject to change.