Austin Theory Explains Why Vince McMahon Took Away His First Name

Austin Theory Vince McMahon

WWE fans have become used to the company shortening names in recent years but when Austin Theory simply became Theory many onlookers were left scratching their heads.

When Austin Theory returned to the WWE main roster in late 2021 he was joined on-screen most weeks by Vince McMahon who returned to a regular TV role for the first time in years.

This on-screen partnership led to a memorable WrestleMania moment when Theory took on Pat McAfee before helping Vince McMahon himself defeat McAfee in 2022.

Not long after this, the current US Champion lost his first name and simply became known as Theory. Now speaking to Chris Van Vliet, Theory has explained how he lost his name:

“Yeah, so I remember walking into, and this is the time Mr. McMahon was head of creative, I remember the writer bringing my promo and the promo said, ‘Don’t call me Austin. It’s just Theory.’ I was like, ‘What? The name is gone?’ I was wondering why. I spoke with Mr. McMahon about it, and he felt that, you know, Theory could be a name that stood alone. He felt it had enough power behind it.

“Also, I think he just wanted to get away from that comparison of Stone Cold because we just did the WrestleMania stuff. So I think maybe out of circumstance, that’s maybe why it happened.”

Theory then explained the understated way his name returned to its full length and says despite being mononymous for a while he never viewed that as a negative:

“The funny story about Austin Theory coming back is I just got a text one day, or like that just pretty much said, ‘Your Austin Theory.’ Then I showed up to the show and the matches were on the wall and there was my full name again. I’m like, I guess I’m Austin Theory again. So I thought it was kind of funny. Like, that’s how I find out, you know what I mean?”

“I never felt negative about it because Theory just meant the most to me, because I’ll always have my first name. People are always going to know me as Austin. But Theory was just that name I came up with as a kid. Even as a kid I was searching for, you know, besides it being a cool name that I came up with, and nobody had it like how can I give it meaning.

For the longest time, Theory was supposed to mean, you know, a Theory is unproven, but to me when you’re unproven, that means you’re not proven, so you can always get better. If you’re somebody that’s proven, that’s it for you. So me being a Theory always being able to change, to adapt, to evolve, that’s what it’s all about, and I still feel like to this day, it still works for that.”

Austin Theory will be in for the biggest match of his career so far when he defends his US Championship against John Cena at WrestleMania 39.