WWE cruiserweight standout Austin Aries has been released from his contract, the company announced Friday over Twitter and on its official website.
Prior to his stints with WWE’s developmental territory NXT, and the company’s Cruiserweight Division, the 39-year-old Aries, real name Daniel Solwold, was an established veteran of the U.S. independent wrestling scene, and had spent several years competing in both Ring of Honor and TNA (now GFW). Most notably, Aries had won the TNA World Heavyweight Championship in the company’s Bound for Glory pay-per-view in October, 2012, defeating Jeff Hardy for the title, as PWTorch recapped.
Austin Aries was released from TNA in 2015, and after a brief stint in ROH, he signed a contract with WWE in January, 2016. He made his NXT debut as a developmental talent two months later, and after suffering an orbital socket injury in October, he provided commentary on multiple WWE television shows, including the cruiserweight-centric 205 Live.
Fortunately for Aries, he recovered right in time to kick off a feud with Cruiserweight Champion Neville, and while he was unsuccessful in challenging for his title at WrestleMania 33, their match, as well as their feud in general, was generally well-reviewed, with ProWrestling.net noting that it was nice to see Aries “go from working local indies to working his first WrestleMania match.”
Aries had last wrestled at WWE’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view on June 4, where he again failed to win Neville’s Cruiserweight Championship. He later announced that he would be taking some time off from wrestling, and as he told the Busted Open podcast, he simply needed to recover from some injuries. Interestingly, he did not go into any further specifics.
“So I got a couple things going on and obviously at this point it might be a good time to take a little break which really could consist of two days to just adjust some of those things, try and get my mind and my body right and then come back and figure out what’s gonna be next and what the direction’s gonna be.”
As WWE kept its news on Austin Aries’ release as short and succinct as possible, it’s not known whether his departure is related to injuries or not. But the indie wrestling veteran-turned Cruiserweight Championship contender did post a few tweets after the news broke, seemingly taking things in stride as he prepares for the next stage in his wrestling career.
Austin Aries’ release is likely to trigger some talks of upcoming “future endeavors” within the WWE roster — fan jargon for talent getting released from their contracts, oftentimes en masse in the spring. As seen on Smark Out Moment‘s list of WWE releases for 2017, there haven’t been any mass releases of note this year, but the last time WWE released a slew of talent in the early summer months came in June, 2014, when more than 10 wrestlers were cut from the company’s roster, including recent returnees Jinder Mahal, Drew McIntyre, and Curt Hawkins.
[Featured Image by WWE]