For months and months, Austin Aries has been rumored to be heading to WWE, but nothing ever came of it. There was even the rumor that he was backstage at NXT one night, but there was still nothing to indicate his destination. Finally, on Friday evening, Austin Aries finally arrived, and the former TNA World Champion made his debut at the NXT tapings.
WrestleZone was giving live updates all evening of the NXT tapings that were taking place at the University of Central Florida. It had already been a great night with plenty of awesome matches including one between Samoa Joe and Sami Zayn that ended in a draw.
Then, it happened.
NXT General Manager William Regal
Fans in the arena at UCF lost it and gave Austin Aries a huge pop for his debut, but that was when he was jumped by Corbin. The attack happened before Aries could even get to the ring as he was whipped into the ring apron and then nailed by Corbin’s End of Days.
Needless to say, but his debut caused a big stir on social media.
— Jack Brady (@JackBraydes) January 23, 2016
With Aries, AJ Styles reportedly heading in, Samoa Joe, Jesse Sorenson, and Sting up on the WWE main roster, that’s extremely accurate.
— Tom (@ThomasCosta19) January 23, 2016
Ever since Aries left TNA back in June after his contract expired, there have been rumors of him going to WWE. He ended up back in Ring of Honor and did a bit of work there, and then he even returned to TNA for a short period of time.
Well, he returned to TNA by way of taped shows, that is. In October and November, there was a TNA World Heavyweight Championship Series for the vacant title. In the tournament, Aries ended up with four points which placed him third in his block.
That meant he failed to advance to the round of 16 in the tournament and was eliminated. Honestly, that made perfect sense since he was no longer with the company.
Early in the afternoon, Cageside Seats had reported that Austin Aries was backstage for the NXT tapings, but fans had heard that report before. Just because he was at the CFE Arena didn’t mean he was necessarily going to be on camera, but he was.
Not long after the taping results were out there, WWE.com reported on the debut of Aries and even mentioned that he was indeed signed by the company.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) January 23, 2016
Back in October, James Storm, another former TNA World Champion, debuted in NXT and even wrestled a match. He appeared one other time and has since gone and re-signed with TNA after their debut on POP.
Storm had never signed a deal with WWE and ended up getting a much better offer from TNA Wrestling, so, he went back there.
The main difference here is that Storm was introduced for a match, came out, wrestled it, and that was it. Austin Aries was introduced by William Regal himself and got a full on welcome before being jumped by Corbin. Seems like much more is being invested in Aries with him actually signing.
If Austin Aries has indeed signed a contract with WWE/NXT and then AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, and Shinsuke Nakamura come into the company, then it’s just been an epic month as far as signings go. Throw in Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Sami Zayn, and a host of others and WWE is quickly becoming even bigger as the number one wrestling promotion in the world.
[Image via TNA]