Push or NXT: What Ought to WWE Do With Austin Principle After Ice-Chilly Run as US Champion?
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With correct reserving, Austin Principle can emerge from his uneventful U.S. title run higher than earlier than.Credit score: WWE.com
All indicators pointed to Austin Principle being WWE’s subsequent massive breakout star right now one yr in the past, full with a Cash within the Financial institution briefcase that will have catapulted him to the primary occasion stage had he cashed in efficiently.
Alongside the way in which, although, WWE dropped the ball–on a number of events.
Contemporary off a forgettable run as United States champion, Principle finds himself at a pivotal level in his profession. What the corporate chooses to do with him subsequent is of utmost significance, as it is going to decide how vivid his future is and whether or not he finally sinks or swims.
The 26-year-old has already overcome quite a few obstacles–together with questionable reserving choices–since signing with WWE within the fall of 2019. There is not any purpose to assume he cannot rebound from this newest setback, except officers really feel he is didn’t dwell as much as the lofty expectations set for him and is not value investing in once more.
Is one other return to NXT for Principle on the horizon, or can he be redeemed with an actual push on the primary roster?
The place WWE Went Mistaken with Him
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To ensure that Principle to be constructed again up, WWE should guarantee the identical errors aren’t made with him once more.
The previous Evolve champion was mere months into his run with the corporate when he was known as up prematurely to the primary roster firstly of the 2020 pandemic. The powers that be finally realized he wanted extra seasoning and put him again in NXT, repackaging him as a comedy character in The Manner.
Regardless of not profitable any gold, his time alongside Johnny Gargano, Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell was well-spent and earned him one other shot at stardom on Uncooked in late 2021.
He shortly captured the US Championship and the boys’s Cash within the Financial institution briefcase quickly after.
If his unsuccessful cash-in final fall did not do sufficient harm, the dearth of follow-up to what ought to have been a career-altering win for him over John Cena at WrestleMania 39 fully ended any momentum he had left.
Having been handled like a complete afterthought post-‘Mania, dropping the U.S. title was the one means he might transfer ahead.
WWE should begin from scratch from Principle, as persevering with on his present path won’t yield constructive outcomes.
Hitting the Reset Button
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The various losses Principle endured throughout his time as Mr. Cash within the Financial institution final yr harm his possibilities of being considered as a professional risk to a world title, and thus WWE felt it made essentially the most sense to construct him again up by first knocking him down just a few pegs.
That led to essentially the most affluent interval of his profession so far.
The primary 5 months of his second stint as U.S. champion noticed him rack up wins over the likes of Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, Edge and others. It was solely after he was verbally eviscerated by John Cena within the leadup to their WrestleMania match that he turned much less of a focus in WWE.
There was nothing extra he might do with the star-spangled prize that will have modified his positioning on the cardboard. Hitting the reset button is the strongest resolution, and that features one more character overhaul.
All the things about Principle’s presentation for the higher a part of 2023 has come off as generic. The lack of the U.S. title is usually a catalyst for adopting extra of an edge, one thing that was teased with him late final yr however amounted to nothing.
Why One other NXT Run Is not Crucial
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Sure stars ought to be above one other run in NXT, and Principle is amongst them. Even with the way in which he is been dealt with this yr, being despatched to the developmental model can be a big step backward for him.
Such a transfer would not communicate too extremely to his worth to WWE following his win over John Cena at WrestleMania 39 and a United States Championship reign that ended lower than two weeks in the past. All of that, regardless of the botched aftermath, would have been for nothing.
Baron Corbin, Dana Brooke, Dijak and Mustafa Ali have all benefited from returning to NXT this yr, however none of them have been wherever close to the highest of the cardboard on the primary roster earlier than heading again to the gold model.
As beforehand famous, Principle initially returned to NXT in 2020 and wound up being higher off for it. Nevertheless, that was earlier than he turned a longtime act on Uncooked and SmackDown and reached the heights he has.
NXT champion Carmelo Hayes has a plethora of challengers ready within the wings, so it is not as if he might instantly contend for the model’s prime title if he was reassigned there.
It is totally attainable for Principle to have his redemption story on the primary stage in entrance of the largest viewers.
All Hope Is Not But Misplaced
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WWE’s poor reserving choices with Principle through the years have clearly been well-documented, however none of them have been unhealthy sufficient to change the course of his profession ceaselessly.
Not solely has he merely scratched the floor of what he can do, he is proved he can bounce again from his failures and are available away from them higher than earlier than. Placing his abysmal United States Championship reign behind him ought to be the highest precedence proper now.
In fact, that may’t occur till he will get his rematch with Rey Mysterio and loses once more.
Past that, although, there was nothing to counsel WWE has given up on Principle and does not see him as a future world champion.
His tv time stays constant and he faces essential occasion gamers pretty frequently. He will not enter “broken items” territory till he has extra start-and-stop pushes over an extended stretch of time.
There is not any defending his fall from grace in 2023, however he should not be written off as a case of “what might have been” when he nonetheless has a lot untapped potential and room to develop.
Turning Face Is Not the Reply; Greatest Choices for a Repackaging
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Above all else, Principle should be the focus of his personal program, no matter what he does subsequent.
For a lot too lengthy, he is been booked because the third wheel, and even towards Cena, he was unsuccessful in exhibiting the world he was on the 16-time world champion’s stage. He’s in determined want of a rivalry with a top-tier expertise the place he could be made to look sturdy.
SmackDown is loaded with in style babyfaces he could be paired with, resembling LA Knight, AJ Kinds and Bobby Lashley. As soon as he finishes his feud with the Latino World Order, he can set his sights on any of the aforementioned fan favorites and start to get his warmth again.
For that very purpose, WWE experimenting with Principle as a face any time quickly can be the unsuitable transfer. He’d get misplaced within the shuffle on the blue model behind everybody a lot greater on the totem pole than he’s.
The identical could be mentioned for reuniting him with The Manner on Uncooked. There’s nothing he can acquire from them at this stage, so preserving him separate on Friday nights is the higher choice.
A collection of pre-taped, sit-down interviews and vignettes that discover Principle’s background and supply the viewers with causes to care about him might work wonders. That method mixed with an additional edge would give him his greatest likelihood but at escaping his present rut and breaking by WWE’s glass ceiling.