Austin Theory needs a change of character to get over with fans

Apr 1, 2023; inglewood, CA, USA; Austin Theory during Wrestlemania Night 1 at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 1, 2023; inglewood, CA, USA; Austin Theory during Wrestlemania Night 1 at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

WWE continues to show an interest in Austin Theory for the future and it is time for him to change his character direction. 

WWE has a stacked roster, with talent on every brand. The promotion stands firm on building either babyfaces or heels, not giving much wiggle room to the grey area in between that seems to produce some of the biggest stars. There are individuals who continue to fail to get over, as Austin Theory stands as such an example. WWE has tried to build him into the future of the promotion, but fans don’t seem to be interested in that development. Could a babyface run help this young performer? It’s a hard question to answer, but perhaps one that needs to be tested.

It’s understandable why WWE leadership looks at Theory as someone they can build for the future. He’s only 26 years old and stands at 6’1” and 220 pounds. This company has long built itself around the idea of putting looks first, sticking with the prototypical “body” men and women. Theory fits that mold. But he’s struggling to translate all those gifts into a fanbase or even a steady reaction from the fans.

Theory is a two-time WWE United States Champion. He held that title for a combined 333 days from April 2022 through August 2023. What did he have to show for it? To be honest, not much of anything. The second reign allowed him to pick up some big wins, but nothing that translated into a bit of star power. His victories over Seth Rollins, Edge, winning the Elimination Chamber, and even defeating John Cena at WrestleMania 39 could not elevate his name on the roster. Cena was right when he ripped into Theory during the build to WrestleMania, as Theory hasn’t been able to do anything of value with that victory.

He’s since dropped the title to Rey Mysterio and was embarrassed during a segment with The Rock. Almost a literal Rock Bottom. So now what? How could WWE shift Theory’s character to build him into a babyface that fans want to see perform and cheer for along the way?

There’s a way to get Theory back in the good graces of fans, and it leads through The Way. Bringing Johnny Gargano back together with Candice LeRae, Indi Hartwell, and Dexter Lumis is the answer to the equation. Tell the story of that group coming together and Theory attempting to get back in their good graces. Especially when Tommaso Ciampa is thrown into the mix.  When the group was formed back in NXT, Theory was able to get over – much of that based on what Gargano was able to do as a fan favorite. Bringing that act to the main roster with a twist of Ciampa’s character play woven in creates a new wrinkle to the angle.

Set the stage with the rest of The Way not wanting to bring Theory back into the mold. Yet, there’s one voice of “reason” that’s ready to welcome Theory back into the mold. That would be Ciampa. The build to the moment when the group is back at full power is the moment that would test whether Theory can go over or not. It is sink or swim time.

WWE needs to do something with Austin Theory. They’ve invested a lot of time in him, and it’s clear they intend to continue that investment. The current path isn’t working, so perhaps the shift to push him into the space of a babyface is what’s needed to turn the corner.

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