John Cena’s harsh words about Austin Theory have come to fruition months after their WrestleMania battle.
Across WWE, the mid-card thrives. GUNTHER is putting together a run that should have him in consideration for 2023 wrestler of the year. Wes Lee is one of the best working champions in wrestling as the WWE NXT North American Champion. And then there’s Austin Theory. A man who continues to be heralded as the “future” of the promotion. Well, after a subpar run as WWE United States Champion, that immediate future must involve him dropping that championship.
As of this writing, Theory has held the US title for 226 days. Along the way, he’s picked up wins against Sheamus, Jey Uso, Edge, Seth Rollins, and Bobby Lashley. But it was the victory over John Cena that basically sealed Theory’s fate as a subpar champion, and Cena predicted it all.
“You’re not ready,” Cena said heading into WrestleMania. “If you and I have a match at WrestleMania and I win, you lose everything. You’re done. And if we have a match at WrestleMania, and you win – you lose everything. Sure, you may win the day, but then you gotta go out the Monday after, all by yourself, and explain. You won’t have me to lean on. No, it will be you against the most harsh, vocal, critical audience in the WWE and they will eat you alive. Because they see what I see, and what they say, you are full of crap.”
Perhaps fans should add psychic abilities to the list of things John Cena can do. Since defeating him, Austin Theory has been on a downward spiral – and not because of anything he’s done himself. He can’t get over with fans, and his booking hasn’t helped one bit. It’s almost as if creative has shrugged its shoulders on what to do with the golden child because nothing is working. With established stars like Sheamus, Shinsuke Nakamura, Mustafa Ali, and Chad Gable, then new names like Carmelo Hayes and more ready to take over the mid-card, Theory just doesn’t fit in his current position any longer.
Cena wasn’t the only main event star to verbally castrate Theory. Remember when Roman Reigns tore into him once Vince McMahon was pushed out? It was the first step in Triple H attempting to rebuild Theory, and there were some moments of success. But a year later the performer is right back to where he was and continues to struggle in his current role.
WWE must figure something out as the promotion heads into SummerSlam. As one of the tentpole events of the year, it is expected that Theory will defend the title on the card. There’s no telling against who because he doesn’t have any quality feuds going on at this point. That’s a blaring signal to get that championship off Theory and around the waist of someone who can build that belt and that portion of the roster at the same time. Look at what both Lee and GUNTHER are doing weekly as examples, or even Orange Cassidy’s run as AEW International Champion and one will see how important it is to build up mid-card champions and present them like the names at the top of the roster.
Something must be done with Austin Theory because every day that passes and that title sits on his waist doing nothing is another day that the WWE Universe can point and say, “John Cena was right.”