Daniel Healy "Dan" Solwold Jr. (April 15, 1978) better known by his ring name Austin Aries, is an American professional wrestler. In Impact Wrestling (formerly known as Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA)) he is a former three-time Impact World Champion, six-time Impact X-Division Champion and one-time Impact World Tag Team Champion making him the fifth TNA Triple Crown Champion. He is also known for performing in Ring of Honor (ROH) where he became the first two-time ROH World Champion. Aries also worked with WWE in the development territory NXT, in the cruiserweight division 205 Live and Main Event as a color commentator.
Professional wrestling career
Solwold began training under Eddie Sharkey and Terry Fox in 2000 and debuted on November 24, 2000, facing "Sheriff" Johnny Emerald. He wrestled in the midwest for several years before his east coast wrestling career was jumpstarted after he progressed to the finals of the 2004 ECWA Super 8 Tournament, where he was defeated by Christopher Daniels.
Ring of Honor (2004–2007)
From there, he joined Ring of Honor. Aries made his ROH main show debut at ROH: Reborn Stage 2 in Chicago Ridge, Illinois on April 24, 2004. Aries was unsuccessful, however, losing a four corner survival match also involving Jimmy Rave, Rocky Romero, and the winner, Nigel McGuinness. Aries was scheduled to return at the May 22 show, Generation Next, to compete in a one night series which would showcase young, upcoming ROH talent. Alex Shelley, however, hand-picked Aries, along with Roderick Strong and Jack Evans, as members of a new stable (also meant to promote young, upcoming ROH talent) who, instead of earning their spots, would simply take them. The group took the name Generation Next as their own.
Aries captured the ROH World Championship at Final Battle 2004 on December 26, 2004, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by defeating the longest reigning ROH World Champion, Samoa Joe. On June 16, 2005, Ring of Honor named Aries the new head trainer at the ROH wrestling school, replacing the former head trainer, CM Punk, who had agreed to a contract with World Wrestling Entertainment. After a six-month string of non-stop defenses, many of which were international, Aries lost the championship to CM Punk on June 18, 2005.
On December 17 in Edison, New Jersey at Final Battle 2005, Aries teamed with Strong to defeat Sal Rinauro and Tony Mamaluke for the ROH World Tag Team Championship. The two would then disband Generation Next on June 3, 2006. In a first time ever match, Aries took on Pro Wrestling Noah star and former GHC Jr. Heavyweight champion KENTA in Chicago on June 24, but was defeated following KENTA's Go 2 Sleep.
On September 16, he and his partner Strong lost the ROH World Tag Team Championship to the Kings of Professional Wrestling (Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli). Aries and Strong continued to team together for the rest of the year. At Battle of the Icons on January 27, 2007, Aries and Strong teamed up with Jack Evans to defeat Davey Richards, Delirious and SHINGO. This apparent Generation Next reunion was short lived when, at the following show on February 16, Strong attacked Aries after their tag team title match against Christopher Daniels and Matt Sydal. Strong then formed the "No Remorse Corps" with Davey Richards. Jack Evans ran down and pulled Strong off Aries, but refused to side with either of them. The following night, Aries called out Strong twice, but was unable to get his hands on him. When Evans refused to side with him, Aries said he was going to form a new faction with members of the next generation of wrestling. With that, he formed "The Resilience" with Erick Stevens and Matt Cross.
On April 27, Aries unsuccessfully challenged Takeshi Morishima for the ROH World Championship. On May 4, 2007, Ring of Honor announced on their website that they had signed a pay-per-view deal with G-Funk Sports and Entertainment. Following the announcement, TNA pulled Aries and Homicide, both under contracts with TNA, from all Ring of Honor shows.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2005–2007)
In July 2005, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling held an Internet poll to select an opponent for the TNA X Division Champion Christopher Daniels at their August 14 pay-per-view, Sacrifice. Billed as an "Internet dream match", the poll offered voters the choice of Aries, Roderick Strong, Jay Lethal and Matt Sydal, none of whom were contracted to TNA or had even appeared with the company on a regular basis in the past. Aries won the poll by a landslide, and thus faced Daniels in a non-title match at Sacrifice, which he lost. Following the event, it was rumored that TNA officials had been impressed by Aries and were considering offering him a contract, and these rumors were seemingly substantiated when Aries faced and defeated Roderick Strong at Unbreakable on September 11 in a "showcase match".
On September 22, 2005, Aries announced on his website that he had received a contract offer from TNA, and intended to sign it. He became a regular member of the TNA roster, and formed a stable with Roderick Strong and Alex Shelley. Many fans referred to this group as the second coming of Generation Next, which had contained Shelley, Strong, Aries, and Jack Evans in Ring of Honor.
In February 2006, he and Strong were both suspended for two months for arriving four hours late for the pay-per-view Against All Odds. This occurred because of Aries and Strong's decision to remain in Long Island for an ROH show, despite TNA's last minute request to travel to Florida because of the potential of a snowstorm.
In the build-up to Bound for Glory, promos began to air advertising the debut of a new wrestler, Austin Starr, at the event with the slogan "A Starr is Born". Starr appeared for TNA on October 22 as the first entrant and became the winner of the "Kevin Nash Open Invitational X Division Gauntlet Battle Royal" at Bound for Glory. After the match, Kevin Nash presented Starr with a bowling trophy and a hug.
On the following episode of Impact!, it was announced that Starr would work closely with Nash's group Paparazzi Productions, much to the dismay of one of the group's founders, Alex Shelley. Starr replaced Johnny Devine as a member of Paparazzi Productions and participated in the Paparazzi Championship Series along with Shelley, eventually losing to Shelley in the finals in 2007 at Final Resolution. Starr then went on to feud with Senshi.
On April 18, 2007, Starr was suspended for ninety days. On May 7 it was reported by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that the suspension stemmed from TNA asking Austin to tape promo vignettes on a day he believed to be his day off. Starr did ultimately agree to do the vignettes but TNA saw this as a bad attitude and was reason for his suspension. During the suspension, Aries requested, and was granted, his release from TNA.
Return to ROH (2007–2010)
One month after being granted his release from TNA, Aries made his return to Ring of Honor. At United We Stand on June 22, 2007, Aries was in attendance, but as a "fan". During a match between the No Remorse Corps and The Resilience, he was verbally called out by Roderick Strong. Aries tried to climb over the guard rail, but was held back by security as he was no longer employed by the company. The following night, at Driven, Aries was again in attendance. Following a six-man tag team match between the No Remorse Corps and Delirious and The Resilience, Aries ran through the crowd and attacked the NRC. He then signed an ROH contract in the ring.
Aries' first match back came at Race to the Top Tournament: Night One, when he faced Roderick Strong, Jimmy Rave and Gran Akuma in a Four Way Fray for the FIP World Heavyweight Championship. The feud between The Resilience and the No Remorse Corps continued at ROH's Death before Dishonor V weekend. The first night, Aries teamed with Erick Stevens to defeat Roderick Strong and Rocky Romero. However, they were not as lucky the following night, when they, along with Delirious, lost in a Street Fight to the No Remorse Corps and Matt Sydal.
At Manhattan Mayhem II, Aries defeated former Generation Next stable mates Roderick Strong and Jack Evans in a triple threat match. At Glory by Honor VI: Night Two, Aries disbanded The Resilience in order to focus on regaining the ROH World Championship. At Rising Above, Aries faced current ROH champion Nigel McGuinness in a losing effort in an attempt to regain the ROH World Championship.
Aries began to act frustrated due to losing matches and began refusing to shake hands after matches. Jimmy Jacobs displayed interest in adding Aries to The Age of the Fall (AotF). Tammy Sytch also offered Aries her managerial services. Aries was defeated by McGuinness a second time at Supercard of Honor III in March 2008. Afterwards, Aries left with Lacey, seemingly joining the AotF. Aries returned in April and revealed that Lacey had decided to leave the AotF and that he and Lacey had become a couple. This outraged Jacobs, who attacked Aries and started a feud with him. Shortly afterwards, Lacey was apparently attacked by Jacobs outside a gym.
On April 23, Aries was chosen by Jay Briscoe as his replacement for brother Mark Briscoe as to defend the ROH World Tag Team Championship against The Age of the Fall after Mark was forced out of action due to an injury. The reasoning for this choice was Aries and the Briscoe Brothers' shared hatred for the Age of the Fall. Aries was not considered to have won the championship a second time, but rather to have been a substitute in a title defense. After their first and only title defense, the championship was vacated.
On June 6 Aries teamed with Bryan Danielson in Ring of Honor's one night tournament to crown new World Tag Team Champions. They defeated Roderick Strong and Davey Richards in the first round before being eliminated in the second by eventual winners Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black. On June 7 Aries and Danielson received a title shot against Jacobs and Black but were defeated when Black pinned Danielson with a Phoenix Splash.
On June 27, Aries was defeated by Necro Butcher in a "Relaxed Rules" match following a chair shot to the head. Aries had unsuccessfully attempted to get Butcher to leave the Age of The Fall and when Necro refused, he ceased fighting back against him. On June 28, Aries pinned ROH World Tag Team Champion Jimmy Jacobs in a "Relaxed Rules" match following a 450° splash despite interference from Necro Butcher, Tyler Black, Allison Wonderland, and MsChif. On July 25, Aries and Jay Briscoe teamed to defeat ROH World Tag Team Champions The Age of The Fall (Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black) in a No DQ Match when Briscoe pinned Black. On July 26, in Detroit, Aries spent much of the show brawling with Jimmy Jacobs culminating in both men brawling at the top of a 20-foot ladder. Jacobs' partner in the Age of The Fall, Necro Butcher, eventually tipped the ladder over sending them both crashing through a table below.
Aries continued his feud with Jimmy Jacobs throughout the fall. In the second Steel Cage Warfare Match at Glory by Honor VII, Aries' team (Aries, Briscoe Brothers) defeated Jacobs' team (Jacobs, Black, Delirious) and Necro's team (himself only). The two had a best of three series to somewhat put an end to the feud. The first match took place at Ring of Homicide 2, where Jacobs (with help from Delirious and Brodie Lee) defeated Aries in a Falls Count Anywhere Match. The second match took place at Bound By Hate, and Aries defeated the bloody Jacobs in a Dog Collar Match. The deciding match was at Rising Above 2009 in an "I Quit" match. Lacey returned to ROH in Aries' corner, and Aries won the match. Aries continued his feud with the Age of the Fall this time against the heavily cheered Tyler Black. At Final Battle 2008, Black was defeated by Aries in a Number One Contender's Match. After the match Jacobs attacked Black, and Aries ran in to make the save. Instead, however, Aries teamed up with Jacobs to attack Black. Aries later explained that the reason that he attacked Black was because the fans turned on him.
In addition to his work in ROH, Aries was announced as a member of Team Epic War for Chikara's King of Trios 2009 tournament. On the first night, Aries, along with Ryan Drago and Tony Kozina, lost to the F1rst Family (Arik Cannon, Darin Corbin and Ryan Cruz) in the first round. On the second night, Aries lost to Player Dos in the Rey de Voladores opening four corners match. On the final night, Aries lost to Eddie Kingston in a singles match.
In early 2009, Aries also underwent a complete character transformation, cutting his long hair, donning new pink and black trunks, and coming to the ring in a bright pink fur jacket. He dropped his darker persona and adapted to a new ladies man gimmick, often referring to himself as "A Double" and "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived", the latter after a song by Weezer, which also became his new entrance theme.
On June 13, 2009, at Manhattan Mayhem III, Aries won a three-way elimination match against the ROH World Champion Jerry Lynn and Tyler Black, to become the first person to have held the ROH World Championship on more than one occasion. On December 19, 2009, at Final Battle 2009, ROH's first live pay-per-view, he defended the title by wrestling Tyler Black to a 60-minute time limit draw. On February 13, 2010, at the main event of ROH's 8th Anniversary Show, Aries lost the ROH World Championship to Tyler Black. During the following months he feuded with Delirious and Jerry Lynn, while also becoming the manager of Rhett Titus and Kenny King, the tag team known collectively as the All Night Express, dubbing himself the "Greatest Manager That Ever Lived". In October 2010 Aries' profile was removed from ROH's official website, after reports had surfaced that the promotion was going to be cutting down the size of their roster. On October 6, 2010, competing promotion Evolve announced that Aries would make his debut for the promotion on November 20.
Dragon Gate USA (2010–2011)
On October 12, 2010, Dragon Gate USA announced that Aries had signed a contract with the promotion. Aries made his debut for the promotion on October 29 at the Bushido: Code of the Warrior pay-per-view, where he was defeated by Open the Dream Gate Champion Masato Yoshino in a non–title match. After the match, Rich Swann, whom Aries had offered to adopt as his protégé, turned his offer down. On January 28, 2011, at United: NYC, Aries defeated Swann in a singles match. The following month Aries started a storyline, where he claimed to have lost the motivation to continue his professional wrestling career, after failing to make the cast of WWE Tough Enough, before offering to put his Dragon Gate USA career on the line in order to get one last shot at Yamato and the Open the Freedom Gate Championship. On April 2 at Mercury Rising 2011, Aries was unsuccessful in his challenge, thus seemingly bringing his Dragon Gate USA career to an end. The following day at Open the Ultimate Gate, Aries was defeated by Jimmy Jacobs in what was billed as his Dragon Gate USA farewell match. However, after the match Aries feigned passing the torch to Chuck Taylor, Johnny Gargano and Rich Swann, the trio known collectively as Ronin, before turning on them and joining the promotion's top heel group, Blood Warriors, claiming to have found his purpose under the leadership of CIMA. Blood Warriors and Ronin faced each other in a six-man elimination tag team match on June 5 at Enter The Dragon 2011, which Ronin won after Johnny Gargano managed to submit both CIMA and Aries.
On June 9, 2011, it was reported that Aries had left both Dragon Gate USA and Evolve to reportedly pursue a career outside professional wrestling. Aries later revealed that he considered retiring from professional wrestling because he "didn't want to be Randy the Ram in 10, 20 years." However, he decided to continue wrestling after receiving an offer from Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
Return to TNA Wrestling
X Division Champion (2011–2012)
On June 13, 2011, at the tapings of the June 16 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries made a return to TNA, defeating Jimmy Rave and Kid Kash in a first round match of the X Division Showcase tournament for a contract with the promotion. On July 10 at Destination X 2011, Aries defeated Jack Evans, Low Ki and Zema Ion to win the tournament and earn a contract with TNA. In his first match on Impact Wrestling since being officially re-signed, Aries defeated Shannon Moore in a singles match, after hitting him with a steel chain and then pinning him for the victory, thus returning to his A Double character and establishing himself as a heel. On the July 21 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries cost Alex Shelley, who had previously confronted him on his win over Shannon Moore, his shot at the X Division Championship. Two weeks later, Aries defeated Shelley in a singles match. On August 7 at Hardcore Justice, Aries and Shelley competed in a three-way match for the TNA X Division Championship, but were both unable to win the belt from the defending champion, Brian Kendrick.
On the August 18 episode of Impact Wrestling Aries won an eight-man gauntlet match to earn another shot at the X Division Championship. On September 11 at No Surrender, Aries defeated Kendrick to win the X Division Championship for the first time. On October 16 at Bound for Glory, Aries defeated Kendrick in a rematch to retain the title. On November 13 at Turning Point Aries defeated Jesse Sorensen and Kid Kash in a three-way match to retain the X Division Championship. On December 11 at Final Resolution Aries defeated Kash in a singles match to retain the X Division Championship. On January 8, 2012, at Genesis, Aries successfully defended the X Division Championship in a four-way elimination match against Jesse Sorensen, Kid Kash and Zema Ion. On February 12 at Against All Odds, Aries defeated Alex Shelley with his Last Chancery submission hold to retain the X Division Championship. On the March 8 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries was defeated by Ion via disqualification, after Aries was caught using Ion's hair spray on him; as a result, Aries retained his title. On March 12, Aries became the longest reigning X Division Champion in history by breaking the previous record of 182 days, set by Christopher Daniels in 2005. On March 18 at Victory Road, Aries successfully defended the title against Zema Ion. On the following episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries again retained the title after he wrestled Ion, Kid Kash and Anthony Neese to a no contest, following interference from Bully Ray Aries finalized his face turn the following week, when he teamed with James Storm to defeat Ray and Bobby Roode in the main event. The rivalry between Aries and Ray continued on April 15 at Lockdown, where the two were on opposing teams in the annual Lethal Lockdown match. Aries' team, led by Garett Bischoff, ended up defeating Ray's team, led by Eric Bischoff. Aries continued his record-breaking title reign on the May 10 episode of Impact Wrestling by successfully defending the X Division Championship against Zema Ion. Three days later at Sacrifice , Aries defeated Bully Ray in a singles match, submitting him with the Last Chancery. On May 19, Aries announced that he had signed a contract extension with TNA. On the live May 31 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries successfully defended the X Division Championship against Chris Sabin. Earlier in the episode, Aries had a run-in with Samoa Joe, which led to Joe costing Aries his match with Crimson the following week. On June 10 at Slammiversary, Aries defeated Joe to retain the X Division Championship. On the following episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries competed in his first Ultimate X match, where he successfully defended the X Division Championship against Chris Sabin and Zema Ion.
TNA World Heavyweight Championship (2011-2012)
Following his win, Aries announced that he was not satisfied with being just the X Division Champion, which led to General Manager Hulk Hogan promising him a shot at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, but only if he first vacated the X Division Championship. The following week, Aries agreed to Hogan's terms with the caveat that every year before the annual Destination X pay-per-view, future X Division Champions be given the same opportunity. Aries relinquished the X Division Championship two weeks later, ending his record-breaking reign at 298 days. On July 8, Aries defeated Bobby Roode in the main event of Destination X to become the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion. On July 17, TNA president Dixie Carter announced that Aries had signed a new long-term deal with the promotion. Aries and Roode had a non-title rematch on the July 19 episode of Impact Wrestling, which ended in a no contest, when both competitors were attacked by a group of masked assailants, known only as the "Aces & Eights". On August 12 at Hardcore Justice, Aries successfully defended the TNA World Heavyweight Championship against Roode, with a pre-match stipulation preventing Roode from getting another rematch for the title as long as Aries was champion. During the following weeks, Aries moved from Roode to defending TNA against the Aces & Eights. On the September 20 episode of Impact Wrestling, after Jeff Hardy had won the 2012 Bound for Glory Series to become Aries' next challenger for the World Heavyweight Championship, Aries began working as a tweener, claiming that he could match anything Hardy had ever done in his career. On October 11, during the final episode of Impact Wrestling before Bound for Glory, Aries continued his turn into a villainous character, claiming that he worked best when people were against him, before crotching Hardy on the ring ropes and dropping him with a brainbuster. Three days later in the main event of Bound for Glory, TNA's largest annual event, Aries lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Hardy, ending his reign at 98 days.
On the October 25 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries attacked Hardy, after he had successfully defended his title against Kurt Angle, stealing one of his two title belts and announcing that a rematch between the two would take place at Turning Point. On November 11 at the pay-per-view, Aries failed to regain the World Heavyweight Championship from Hardy in a ladder match. On the November 22 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries moved from Hardy to becoming a disruption around the Impact Zone by revealing a secret relationship between Bully Ray and General Manager Hulk Hogan's daughter Brooke. The following week, Aries was chosen by Hogan as the number one contender to Rob Van Dam's X Division Championship. Aries defeated Van Dam in the main event via disqualification, following interference from Bully Ray, but as the title does not change hands on a disqualification, Van Dam retained. On December 9 at Final Resolution, Aries defeated Ray in a singles match, following a distraction from both Brooke and Hulk Hogan and a low blow from Aries. On the December 13 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries was revealed as the man who paid the Aces & Eights to prevent Bobby Roode, who originally paid the group to help him win the World Heavyweight Championship, from winning at the pay-per-view, which led Jeff Hardy to issue him a title challenge. On the December 20 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries was unsuccessful in his challenge for Hardy's World Heavyweight Championship, following interference from Bobby Roode. Aries and Roode faced off in a number one contenders match on the December 27 episode of Impact Wrestling. The match ended in a no contest after the two attacked referee Earl Hebner and then were, in turn attacked by Hardy. The rivalry culminated in a three-way elimination match on January 13, 2013, at Genesis where Aries failed again to regain the World Heavyweight Championship from Hardy.
Championship reigns (2013-2015)
On January 25, at the tapings of the February 7 episode of Impact Wrestling in Manchester, England, Aries and Roode defeated Chavo Guerrero Jr. and Hernandez to win the TNA World Tag Team Championship, thus giving Aries the TNA Triple Crown. Aries and Roode made their first successful title defense on March 10 at Lockdown, defeating Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels and Kazarian) and Chavo Guerrero, Jr. and Hernandez in a three-way match. On the March 21 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries and Roode defeated Guerrero and Hernandez to retain the TNA World Tag Team Championship, following interference from Daniels and Kazarian. Afterwards, the champions would be attacked by Daniels and Kazarian On the April 11 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries and Roode lost the TNA World Tag Team Championship back to Guerrero and Hernandez in a Two-out-of-Three Falls match, ending their reign at 76 days. Aries and Roode received their rematch on the April 25 episode of Impact Wrestling, but were again defeated by Guerrero and Hernandez after an inadvertent interference from Christopher Daniels and Kazarian. Aries and Roode faced Daniels and Kazarian in number one contenders match on the May 9 episode of Impact Wrestling, however, the match ended in a no contest after special guest referee James Storm superkicked Aries and Daniels and walked out on the match. Aries and Roode received another shot at Guerrero and Hernandez's titles on June 2 at Slammiversary XI, in an fatal four-way elimination match, which was won by Gunner and James Storm.
On June 20, 2013 at the Impact Wrestling tapings for June 27, Suicide defeated champion Chris Sabin and Kenny King to win the X Division Championship. After GM Hulk Hogan demanded Suicide unmask himself (due to discovering the real Suicide was jumped backstage), Aries revealed himself as the imposter. This marks Aries' second reign as X Division Champion, and he announced that he intended to trade in the X Division Title for a World Heavyweight Championship match at the Destination X special on July 18. On July 11 Chris Sabin would regain the X Division Championship in a triple threat match that also included Manic. On the August 1 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries turned face after praising AJ Styles, before being interrupted by his former tag team partner Bobby Rhode. Aries also competed in the Bound For Glory Series before being eliminated by Styles on September 12 at the Impact Wrestling: No Surrender event. On October 20 at the Bound for Glory pay-per-view, Aries competed in a Ultimate X match for the X-Division Championship but the match was won by Chris Sabin.
On the December 12 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries defeated Sabin to win the X-Division Championship for a third time. On the January 2, 2014 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries drop the X Division Championship back to Sabin. Three weeks later, on the January 23 special episode of Impact Wrestling:Genesis, Aries once again defeated Sabin to win the TNA X Division Championship for the fourth time. On the February 6 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries successfully defended his X Division Championship against Zema Ion, who cashed in his Feast or Fired briefcase. Three weeks later, on the February 27 episode of Impact Wrestling, served as the special guest referee in a match between Bobby Roode and M.V.P.. Aries attacked MVP, allowing Roode to win the match, turning heel once again. On March 2, Aries lost the X Division Championship to Seiya Sanada at Wrestle-1's Kaisen: Outbreak event in Tokyo, Japan. On the May 22nd edition of Impact, Aries helped Eric Young against MVP, Bobby Lashley, and Kenny King but was attacked by the trio, turning face once again. On June 15, 2014 at Slammiversary, Aries faced Kenny King in a one-on-one match to determine one of the challengers for Eric Young's world title later in the night. Aries would defeat King and advance to the main event match for the TNA World Championship, in which he lost by pinfall to the retaining champion Eric Young.
At the June 20 Impact Wrestling taping, Aries won back the X Division Championship from Sanada for his fifth reign. A mere five days after regaining the championship, Aries chose to invoke "Option C" to vacate the championship for a title shot at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship at Destination X on June 26, where he lost to the champion Lashley. On January 7, 2015 Aries would defeat Low Ki to regain the X Division Championship for the 6th time on the debut edition of Impact Wrestling on Destination America. Low Ki would recapture the title during the January 16 Impact Wrestling taping after interference from Beat Down Clan.
That same night, during the January 23 Impact Wrestling taping Aries would win the annual Feast or Fired affording him an opportunity at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Throughout February and March, Aries would continue to feud with the Beat Down Clan with Low Ki stealing Aries briefcase after a match with Samoa Joe, with Aries eventually taking it back. Aries would also reform The Dirty Heels with Bobby Roode, with the two challenging The Wolves to a best of 5 series for the Tag Team Titles. The Wolves would win the first two matches and Aries and Roode won the third. At Destination X Aries would cash in his Feast or Fired briefcase for an opportunity at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship on Kurt Angle however Angle would retain the championship.
There's been a lot of speculation about Austin Aries leaving TNA as his contract reportedly expires with on June 28, 2015 Slammiversary XIII pay-per-view and now we know he is on his way out.
At June 27, 2015 Impact Wrestling tapings in Orlando, Aries wrestled his final match with the company, at least for now, against Rockstar Spud and lost. The stipulation was that if Aries won, he got to take the "Rockstar" from Spud's name but if Spud won, Aries had to leave TNA.
Second Return to Ring of Honor
On July 6 Aries made his return to Ring of Honor. Aries was then announced as the replacement for Roderick Strong in the Vegas Wild Card 6-man tag match on July 17 alongside Moose and Undisputed ROH World and Television Champion Jay Lethal against Jay Briscoe, Dalton Castle and Kyle O'Reilly.
World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE
On January 22, 2016, Aries debuted in WWE's developmental branch, NXT, during the February and March tapings, after being introduced by General Manager William Regal. He was then attacked by Baron Corbin before heading into the ring, setting a match between the two at NXT TakeOver: Dallas on April 1 which Aries won. On the May 25, 2016 episode of NXT Aries announced he wanted to compete against whoever wins the NXT Championship match at NXT TakeOver: The End but was interrupted by Shinsuke Nakamura who claimed he also deserved a shot at the NXT Championship; this made General Manager Willian Regal come out and announce that Shinsuke Nakamura and Austin Aries would face each other on June 8 at NXT TakeOver: The End; this match was won by Nakamura. After his loss to Nakamura, Aries was cheered up by No Way Jose backstage, who told Aries that wrestling was about fun. On the June 22 episode of NXT Aries went to the ring after No Way Jose had a match and thanked him for the message Jose gave him after he lost to Nakamura and the two started dancing as part of No Way Jose's party dancer gimmick, but Aries surprise attacked Jose, turning heel in the process. This generated a match between the two at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II on August 20, which Aries won. Aries announced his participation in the second annual Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament alongside a mystery partner. His partner ended up being the debuting Roderick Strong, whit whom he advanced to the next round after defeating the team of Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight. Strong and Aries were eliminated of the tournament after Aries broke his eye socket in a match against Shinsuke Nakamura in a house show and was not able to compete.
Color commentator (2016–2017)
On the premiere episode of 205 Live, Aries making his appearance as a color commentator, along with Corey Graves and Mauro Ranallo. Aries also making his appearance to call the Cruiserweight division matches on Raw and since Roadblock: End of the Line, and calls every matches on Main Event on December 20, 2016, along with Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton.
On July 7, 2017, WWE announced through their official website that Aries had been released from his contract.
Return to the Independent circuit (2018 - present)
After a six-month hiatus since his release from WWE, Aries made his in-ring return on November 17 in Tommy Dreamer's House Of Hardcore promotion at HOH 34, defeating Matt Delray. The following day at HOH 35, Aries defeated Alex Reynolds. Six days later, Aries made his World Series Wrestling debut on November 24 during the first day of the WSW International Assault Tour 2K17 event. There he won the qualifying match to enter the WSW Heavyweight Championship Tournament after eliminating Adam Brooks. On the second day, Aries entered a three-way match against Ricochet and Brian Cage for the vacant WSW Heavyweight title but neither Aries nor Cage succeeded in winning the championship. On the third day of the tour, Aries teamed with fellow WWE alumni X-Pac in winning a tag match, defeating The Basso Brothers (Chris Basso & Matt Basso). During the fourth day of the tour, Aries defeated Ricochet to win the WSW Heavyweight title. Aries returned to House Of Hardcore on December 2, at HOH 36 - Blizzard Brawl 2017 where he defeated fellow WWE alumni Joey Mercury. Aries made his Defiant Wrestling debut on December 5, Aries had his first title match, challenging and defeating Marty Scurll to win the Defiant World Championship. He successfully defended the title against Travis Banks and Gabriel Kidd during his first two consecutive title defense matches. On December 17, Aries made his International Pro Wrestling: United Kingdom debut at IPW:UK The Big Bang: Undisputed, where he defeated Mark Haskins to win the IPW:UK World Championship.
On January 20, 2018, Aries made his Xtreme Wrestling Alliance debut at the XWA Xtreme Rumble where he won the 2018 Xtreme Rumble match. On the following day, Aries debuted in Destiny World Wrestling at DWW Carnage, challenging Pete Dunne in two different matches for the DWW Championship, but did not succeed in winning the title from Dunne on either occasion. Five days later, Aries returned to House Of Hardcore at HOH 37 to compete in a HOH Twitch Television Championship Tournament, advancing in the first round after eliminating Matt Riddle. On February 4, Aries debuted in Imperio Lucha Libre in a match at Imperio Año II, defeating Marty Scurll. Four days later, Aries debuted in Major League Wrestling at MLW Fusion 1 - Worlds Collide where he defeated ACH and later in a rematch held on the same day at MLW Road To The World Championship.
On February 18, Aries returned to Defiant Wrestling at Defiant Chain Reaction, where he joined Kyle Fletcher, Mark Davis, Mark Haskins & No Fun Dunne as part of Team IPW:UK in a Winner Takes All Elimination tag match won by Team Defiant (BT Gunn, Martin Kirby, Primate, Rampage & Travis Banks). On the day after Chain Reaction, Aries successfully defended the Defiant Championship against Martin Kirby. Returning to IPW:UK at IPW:UK Parade Of Champions, Aries successfully retained the IPW:UK World title against Mark Haskins.
During March, Aries returned to World Series Wrestling on March during the first day of the WSW International Assault All Star Invasion event, successfully defending the WSW Heavyweight title against fellow Impact Wrestling star Brian Cage. On St. Patrick's Day, Aries again successfully defended the title, defeating Marty Scurll. On March 19, he defeated Brian Cage in a title rematch for the WSW Heavyweight title.
On April 6, Aries debuted in The Crash wrestling promotion at The Crash WrestleCon in a match defeating Penta el 0M. On April 7, Aries returned to House Of Hardcore at HOF 40 where he defeated Brian Cage in a rematch from their WSW encounter. Six days later, Aries made his DEFY Wrestling debut where he successfully defended the Impact World Championship against the DEFY 8xGP Champion Shane Strickland to win his title in a title versus title match. Seven days later on April 20, Aries made his Zelo Pro Wrestling debut at Zelo Pro Arrival, where he successfully defended the Impact World title in a three-way match, defeating Bryce Benjamin and Isaias Velazquez. Eight days later, Aries returned to Defiant Wrestling at Defiant No Regrets where he lost the Defiant World title to Rampage. The following day at IPW:UK International Battle Royale, Aries lost the IPW:UK World title to All England Champion Mark Haskins in a title versus title match.
Impact Wrestling return (2018)
On January 10, 2018, Aries made his return to Impact Wrestling, and defeated Eli Drake to win the Impact Global Championship. A few days later on January 14, Aries won the Impact Grand Championship, defeating Matt Sydal. By this title victory, this makes Aries the fifth Grand Slam winner in Impact Wrestling history. At Redemption, Aries lost the Impact World Championship to Pentagon Jr. in a three-way match involving Fenix. During the April 24 Impact Wrestling Tapings, Aries won the title back from Pentagon Jr. to begin his third reign as World Champion.
Aries once dated fellow professional wrestler Thea Trinidad. He is also a vegan and wrote a book called "Food Fight: My plant-powered journey from the bingo halls to the big time".
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- Crucifix bomb
- Death Valley driver
- Figure Eight Leglock (Modified figure-four leglock)
- Fish Hook of Doom (Presses both knees onto a facedown opponent's arm before applying a fish hook)
- Forward Russian leg sweep
- Frog splash
- Head Stand into a Dropkick
- Heat Seeking Missile (Suicide dive under the middle rope)
- IED (Running corner dropkick)[
- Inverted suplex slam
- Japanese arm drag
- Macho Neck Snap (Neck snap to the rope hung opponent)
- No-handed springboard moonsault
- Pendulum Elbow (Pendulum backbreaker hold followed by an elbow drop to the opponent's face)
- Powerdrive Elbow (Twisting elbow drop, with theatrics)
- Rolling fireman's carry slam
- Scissored Armbar
- Sidewalk slam
- Slow Motion Special (Running jumping delayed knee drop, with theatrics)
- Slingshot back elbow to a cornered opponent
- Slingshot corkscrew splash
- Shin breaker followed by a leg-hook Saito suplex
- "A Double"
- "The Belt Collector"
- "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived"
- "The Greatest Manager That Ever Lived"
- "Mr. It"
- "MV3 (Most Valuable Vascular Vegetarian)"
- "The Star"
- "The Truth"
- "The Vascular Vegetarian"
- Tag teams and stables
- Entrance themes
- "From This Day On" by Machine Head (IWA MS)
- "Born of a Broken Man" by Rage Against the Machine (FIP, IWA MS, PWG, ROH)
- "Personal Jesus" by Marilyn Manson (FIP, ROH)
- "Personal Jesus" by Gravity Kills (FIP)
- "Fire It Up" by Black Label Society (ROH)
- "Devil Ride" (w/ "Personal Jesus" Intro) by Phil Garrod, Reed Hayes & Scott Schreer (ROH)
- "Obsession" by Animotion (FIP)
- "U Are" by Dale Oliver (TNA)
- "Starr March" by Dale Oliver (TNA)
- "Mercenaries of the Elite Guard" (Remix) by Dale Oliver (TNA)
- "Raging of the Region" by Dale Oliver (TNA)
- "Dirty Heels Theme" by Dale Oliver & Serj Salinas (TNA; used while a member of The Dirty Heels)
- "Ambition and Vision" by CFO$ (WWE)
- "Disdain" by Aries Rising (IMPACT / Independent circuit)
Championships and accomplishments
- Midwest Championship Wrestling
- Neo Pro Wrestling
- NPW Cruiserweight Championship (2 times)
- NPW Cruiserweight Championship Tournament (2002)
- Ring of Honor
- Impact Wrestling
- Impact World Championship (3 times)
- Impact Grand Championship (1 time)
- TNA World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Bobby Roode
- TNA X Division Championship (5 times)
- Fifth TNA Triple Crown Champion
- Fifth TNA Grand Slam Champion
- X Division Showcase (2011)
- TNA Gold Rush Tournament (2014)
- Feast or Fired (2015 – TNA World Heavyweight Championship contract)
- Xtreme Wrestling Alliance
- XWA Xtreme Rumble (2018)