Superstar Spotlight: Austin Aries
Austin Aries is a guy who I am mostly familiar with through his two stints in TNA/Impact Wrestling, and I wish I could have watched independent shows more frequently. I have watched YouTube videos of him with Generation Next and there are great matches featuring him against CM Punk, Samoa Joe and Age of the Fall, but I usually knew the results. (That doesn't take away from a great match, but sometimes it is fun not knowing the results and watching something fun and unexpected.) Aries came back to Impact Wrestling and this time around, he has been the face of the 'new movement' X-Division, and you won't hear a complaint from me.
Austin Aries came to TNA Wrestling in 2005 when he won a poll to have a "dream match" against Christopher Daniels. He wasn't under contract, but shortly after a match against Roderick Strong he signed one and started a stable. Aries' first run didn't last long, because he was suspended after showing up late to a TNA show. He was brought back as "Austin Starr", and was heavily promoted before he won the 'Kevin Nash X Division Gauntlet Battle Royal' at Bound For Glory. Starr aligned himself with Nash and Paparazzi Productions then feuded with Senshi before being suspended again for a misunderstanding and ended up asking for his release.
Aries went on to ROH and Dragon Gate USA before returning to Impact Wrestling in June 2011 as part of the X Division Showcase. He beat Jack Evans, Low Ki and Zema Ion for a TNA contract, then won the X Division Championship from Brian Kendrick in September. The feud between these two was good and got TV time, and Aries is still the champion after beating Kid Kash and newcomer Jesse Sorenson. Aries may not be the direct cause of appearances from new guys like Sorenson, Zema Ion and Anthony Nese, but he makes for a credible champion that everyone wants to beat. His latest feud with Alex Shelley was fun to watch, and could have benefitted from more time but alot of people liked the nod to Gen-Next. This week's Impact looks to give Aries an expanded role, but I will (like always) wait and let it flesh out a bit before I rip or praise it.
I like Aries holding the X Division title and I hope he keeps it over along period of time by defeating a number of different opponents. One of the things missing from today's product is a long term mid-card champion, and it would absolutely help build a deeper division. Whoever (eventually) beats Aries should be another star on the rise, but everyone that is unsuccesful can also look good in the process. Jesse Sorenson and Zema Ion have looked good being paired with Aries, and I'm sure there are a few more guys we will see before his reign ends. I wouldn't suggest giving Aries a run like RVD had with ECW's TV Title, but holding it for a year or so wouldn't be out of question. Aries can talk, make people look good in the ring, and has an old-school feel that I also said Bobby Roode has. I like that he can feud with a heel like Kid Kash and still end up looking like the bigger jerk. I also like that he has a versatile moveset and he can be a high-flyer, but his finisher (besides Last Chancery as a submission) is a Brainbuster. I can use the internet to continue to find Aries' highlights, but I look forward to seeing him every week on Impact and I hope 'A Double' continues to be a focal point of the show.
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