Questions Surround WWE’s Release of Austin Aries

Aries is likely headed back to the indie circuit ...

WWE announced through its Twitter account on Friday that it had released 205 Livestar Austin Aries. But, in the 48 hours since the announcement, several reports have surfaced surrounding the circumstances that led to his release.’s Sean Radican was first to report on Friday evening that Aries asked for his WWE release, reportedly being unhappy with his positioning on the card as a cruiserweight. Later, Dave Meltzer from the Wrestling Observer reported that Aries didn’t ask for his release, and was essentially fired, while also adding that he was “unpopular with the writing staff.”

Regardless, Aries seemed happy with the news on Friday, tweeting that it was a “beautiful day.” Radican reported that Aries is likely to hit the indie circuit again soon, but his 90-day no-compete clause in his WWE contract might limit what larger shows he can work until that 90-day clause expires in early October. Radican, who has great indie sources, speculated that a return to Ring of Honor could be difficult for Aries unless some “fences were mended.”

The other televisied option for Aries, at least here in the United States, is Global Force Wrestling. It remains to be seen what the new Anthem Sports ownership has done for the company’s financials, but as a former world champion, Aries would be a huge addition for a GFW brand that’s still trying to find its stride under new creative leadership.

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Aries, 39, was under-utilized in WWE. At his size (5-foot-9, 202 pounds), the people in charge there had no clue what to do with him. They had him strapped as a cruiserweight wrestler and that wasn’t going to change. At first, they even had Aries doing commentary as opposed to working in the ring. It never felt like he had a home with WWE. 

According to Meltzer, Aries signed a three-year contract with WWE and he joined the company in 2016, meaning his contract likely ran until January 2019.