In a recent interview with Chris Van Vliet as part of the INSIGHT With Chris Van Vliet podcast, WWE United States Champion Austin Theory discussed several topics, including the first time meeting John Cena, taking a Stunner from Steve Austin at WrestleMania 38, his favorite selfie, losing his surname and getting it back and more.

Highlights of the interview are below:

On meeting John Cena for the first time: “Man, the first conversation came about, and it’s funny because I brought up that photo that he posted on his Instagram. It was at the Performance Center one day, and we were all leaving and we got told, hey, just everybody stay, we’re gonna have a little meeting before everybody leaves, and out comes John Cena. And he took the time out of his day to come down there and talk to you know, everybody that’s aspiring to be on the main roster. And a lot of us weren’t even on NXT TV then. So, this was the very beginning for me. And he told us, you know, I’ll answer any questions you guys have, but if there’s anybody that wants to talk to me, you know, personally, I’ll stay here all day I’ll go in this room in the office, and you guys one by one can come in there. And I remember waiting, like three hours to talk to him. And I just went in there, and I remember the first thing I showed him was the picture of me as a kid, where I couldn’t afford the actual, like, the shirt and the wristband, so I made my own kind of off brand stuff. But I was eight years old, and I showed him the picture. I was like man, this is probably crazy. But check it out. He’s like, man, that’s not crazy, that’s awesome. And we got to sit there and I kind of just really just asked, you know, everything I could, you know, because this is the source. This is the man that’s, you know, held it down for well over a decade. And it was just, it was a lot for me to take in though at the time, you know, because he was spitting knowledge. But you know, I’m still, you know, whoa, this is John Cena, you know, so I’m, I’m just trying to take everything in, man. But that moment specifically, I’ll never forget. And I just remember like, leaving that room that day like, whoa, like I’m here, like I met the person that inspired me and motivated me, and now it’s on me to build this journey and to actually make it happen. And I know I can do it, because I’m the inevitable Austin Theory.”

On taking a Stunner at WrestleMania 38 from Steve Austin: “Yeah, so when I was on the independent scene, I would wrestle in Evolve. And sometimes on other shows, if somebody hit me with a Stunner, I remember one time, I just jumped as high as I could, and just with the roar of the crowd, you know, you want to bring that energy. So, I remember being really high in the air and landing on my back and then I’m flipping and I’m on my feet again. And then I’m flying into the ropes. And I was like, man, and I knew at WrestleMania, the day of, Austin is, there’s the little, you know, golf cart pulling up. And it’s right out front of the locker room and Stone Cold has his back to me. And I go up to him, and I’m like, Hey, how’s it going? I just want to introduce myself. I’m Austin. And he’s like, very nice to meet you, I’ll be seeing you later, and then that was it. And I was like, what? So that’s how that day went. And then I find out you know, no, I’m gonna get Stunned. And sure enough, and I knew the entire time that that is how I was going to do it. And I didn’t tell anybody because I didn’t want anybody [saying] no, don’t do that. Because that’ll make this look, you know, like this or it’s like, Nah, I’m gonna take my moment and that’s gonna be it.”

On his favorite selfie: “Man, there’s so many I think one of the funniest ones was when Brock Lesnar put the cowboy hat on my head in the corner, you know, trying to downgrade me and I just took a selfie with it on you know, I thought that was a great one. A funny quick story about those selfies though, is, I guess the phone that I was using is tied to like the company tablet, which I guess like certain people have the tablet and Wade Barrett specifically has the tablet. So, at NXT every Tuesday after all, even from the live events he would see every selfie that I took, he can see them all. Yeah, so it’s cool but I mean, in some matches man I probably took 30, like it would be a lot of photos. Like I was just clicking away man you know you want to try to get that perfect one and you’re sweating and you just you know beat somebody up it’s a lot of work.”

On losing and regaining his surname: “Yeah, so I remember walking into, this is the time you know, Mr. McMahon was head of creative. And I remember the writer bringing my promo and the promo said, you know, don’t call me Austin, it’s just Theory. And I was like, what, like, the names gone? And, you know, I was wondering why. And 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. And 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. But the funny story about Austin Theory coming back, is I just got a text one day, or like that just pretty much said, like your Austin Theory. And then I show up to the show and the, you know, the matches are on the wall, and there was my full name again. And I’m like, I guess I’m Austin Theory again, you know, so I thought it was kind of funny. Like, that’s how I find out, you know what I mean? But, uh, I never, I never felt like, I guess like 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. And 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.”

The full interview is available at this link.