Was Austin Theory Just Buried or Freed?

MITB Cash-In

As we all saw on Monday Night Raw, Austin Theory cashed in his “Money in the Bank” title shot on Seth “Freakin” Rollins for the United States Championship after Bobby Lashley viciously attacked Seth and left him laying injured. During the match, Bobby Lashley came to the ring once again and attached both Seth Rollins and Austin Theory. Seth was able to pull himself together long enough to stomp Theory and retain the title.

Many are viewing this as Austin Theory being “buried”, while I see it as Theory being freed from the chains of the creative corner Vince McMahon booked him in to.

Buried or Freed?

Roman Reigns is the Undisputed Universal Champion and is expected to still be until after Wrestlemania 39. Roman has been booked extremely strong progressively over his title run leading up to this point with the Bloodline behind him and stronger than ever. There was no chance Austin Theory would successfully cash in on Roman Reigns.

What options does that leave?

  • An unsuccessful cash in on the Universal Championship and Theory truly gets buried?
  • Theory holding on to the briefcase until it expires?
  • A match against someone for the possession of the briefcase and he loses?
  • A cash-in on a secondary title like the United States Championship or the Intercontinental Championship?

All of these scenarios would have made Theory look bad.

The US Championship and the Intercontinental Championship are begging to have their prestige restored to it. Both are creatively being written on a slow path to achieve that. A valiant effort with a cash-in on either of these titles makes the title more valuable. A successful cash-in on either of these titles halts the momentum back to becoming prestigious again.

So what did we see on Raw? Yes, Austin Theory unsuccesfully cashed in on the United States Championship. On the surface, it looks like this was a move that will “bury” Theory for the time being. However, Theory didn’t lose “cleanly” to Seth, due to the interference and decimation of Bobby Lashley. With this result, it has achieved:

  • A successful full heel turn for Bobby Lashley.
  • A fresh direction for Seth “Freakin” Rollins as a face.
  • Austin Theory freed from the MITB creative handicap he’s had from Vince’s poor booking and push.
  • A notch of prestige added to the US Championship.
  • A chance for Austin Theory to possibly redevelop himself and build up to a teased Wrestlemania 39 match against John Cena.
  • Neither Seth “Freakin” Rollins or Austin Theory looking “weak” due to Lashley interference.


Austin Theory is very talented and clearly a future hall of famer in WWE. He shall accomplish many great feats in the future. I think Vince McMahon jumped the gun and sent Theory up the ladder way too quickly and ended up hitting a ceiling that he couldn’t surpass without hurting his own momentum or current ranked superstars titles, stories, momentum and rankings. I think this was a very thought out process to reemerge Theory on a new path where he can establish himself without Vince’s disastrous push. It was a creative way to remove the proverbial chains placed upon him by poor booking as Vince’s “pet project”.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below and let me know!