Austin Aries was released from his WWE contract last week. Shortly after the announcement was made on WWE's official website, Aries appeared pleased by the news, writing the following on his social media:
"It's a beautiful day."
Shortly after his release, it was reported (via PWTorch) that Aries had requested his release because he wasn't happy in the company's Cruiserweight division.
In the latest issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, it's noted that neither the other cruiserweights nor the writers were unhappy to see him gone. Aries had expressed frustration losing over-and-over to Neville in their program that started at WrestleMania 33 earlier this year. Aries reportedly wanted to be moved out of the Cruiserweight division because he felt there was nowhere to go after his program with Neville ended.
Aries had a 90-day non-compete agreement attached to his WWE contract, which ends on October 5, 2017, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. He'll continue to collect his downside guarantee from WWE until that point and will be able to use the Austin Aries name after the agreement expires. Aries can work indie dates during the next three months but the dates will have to be approved by WWE, meaning he won't be working anywhere WWE doesn't want him working after his non-compete expires.
The Wrestling Observer Newsletter notes the terms of Aries' release are consistent with a WWE-decided release and had he quit on his own, the company could have at least attempted to enforce the remainder of his contract. Aries signed in early 2016 what was believed to be a three-year deal, so had he quit, WWE could have locked him down until January 2019, give or take a few months.
Last month, Aries spoke about whether or not he's happy with how WWE has presented cruiserweights.
"Yes and no," Aries stated on Busted Open after joking that his bio on Twitter states that he's usually never happy. "I think if you ask anybody about any aspect of that I think that would be the answer."
"There are things I think are great, there's things that I think could be changed or made improvements on but at the end of the day I don't get paid to make those decisions, luckily," Aries explained. "I just get paid to go out there and do what I do and perform."
"There's a big vision for this [205 Live]. It doesn't happen overnight," Aries said. "And it's still really in its infancy stages and there's going to be growing pains and there's going to be figuring out the right formula."
In October 2016, Aries suffered a large orbital socket injury while working with Shinsuke Nakamura at an NXT live event in Fresno, California. The injury put him on the shelf for the rest of the year and through the first part of this year. While out, WWE gave him the opportunity to provide commentary for cruiserweights on Raw and on 205 Live as well as on Main Event.
Aries enjoyed the role on commentary and said when he's finished wrestling, if the opportunity is right, it's something he would like to pursue.
Former TNA and WWE star Matt Morgan spoke to WrestlingINC.com owner Raj Giri about how Aries was backstage and he painted a different picture than some have described.
"I never saw him as arrogant. I never saw him as this heat seeker that people think he is," Morgan explained. "I just saw a guy that has been d-cked around an awful lot. And when you're not seven-feet tall, you're not a big guy, you know, unfortunately you do got to fight for everything you get. Especially when you're that talented."
Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter
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