Austin Theory has recalled being given some initially confusing advice from Shawn Michaels which has helped him raise his game.
As Austin Theory prepares for his first-ever singles match at WrestleMania, the young star sat down with talkSPORT’s Alex McCarthy to discuss his WWE journey to date.
Theory signed with WWE in October 2019, initially appearing on NXT. However, in a matter of months he was performing at WrestleMania 36 where he teamed with Angel Garza in an unsuccessful bid to win the Raw Tag Team Titles.
As 2020 progressed, Theory remained on the main roster where he teamed appeared alongside Seth Rollins and Buddy Murphy. Although by August, the star was back in NXT where formed part of The Way.
During his time in NXT, Theory came under the tutelage of WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels. Reflecting on his time working with Michaels, Theory recalled being given some advice which initially left him confused. Despite this, the words from HBK have since become clear.
“We’d go back and watch matches, and I remember something specifically he said when I first got there, when I was 22,”
“He told me, ‘Hey, when you go out there,’ he was like, ‘Are you having fun?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m having fun.’ And he said, ‘You know, like hearing the people and everything?’ And I was like, I don’t really know if I hear the people and everything because I’m so focused on what I’m trying to do in the ring.
“He said, ‘You’ve got to find who you are and be yourself,’ but at 22, I didn’t know who I was. So I’m like, ‘Wait, what? What do you mean?’ I would think about that a lot. I was still doing the same thing but I was trying to figure out his advice. Be yourself? Then I realized it was about letting a little loose. Have fun. Everybody knows being outside of the ring and being able to do promos and backstages, that’s what makes the character.
“That’s what gets people invested. It would be like watching a movie and it’s just action the whole time, you’re not really going to relate to anybody. That little piece of funny advice he gave me at the time went a long way. But I really tried to figure it out because I was like, Shawn Michaels isn’t just going to say this to me.”
After a little over a year in NXT, Austin Theory returned to Monday Night Raw as part of the 2021 Draft. The move has since seen him come under the guidance of WWE Chairman, Vince McMahon. It is this partnership which has led to his upcoming WrestleMania bout against Pat McAfee.