Apparently, the WWE is no longer the only game in town, and Austin Aries is proving he can make more on the indie scene than with the biggest promotion in the world. Back in the day, when WCW was competing with Vince McMahon's company, talent had leverage and could play one company off the other if they were a desired enough commodity. In the last sixteen years, however, it's been WWE or bust.
Despite the fact that most wrestlers still work their entire careers to make it to the WWE, lately, reputable talents have been leaving or turning the company down completely. Stars like Cody Rhodes have left to find tremendous success on the independent scene and in companies like Ring of Honor (ROH), Neville just recently walked out and is looking to be headed somewhere else if his issues with the WWE cannot be resolved, and almost everyone knows that Daniel Bryan is just waiting for the day his contract ends.
It's also not just wrestlers leaving that should have the WWE a bit concerned. Popular stars that, at one time, might drop everything to join the WWE are turning McMahon and the WWE. The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega are staying put, and wrestling on their own schedules all over the world. They seem completely happy to do so, and in some cases, have gone to war with a company that might not hire them if they burn their bridges.
The reality is, there are perks in not "going WWE". The freedom of a less hectic schedule, the ability to wrestle under non-exclusive contracts and being a bigger fish in a smaller pond has its draws. It wasn't money that had most staying away from the WWE, but it might be soon.
On October 14, 2017, former WWE Superstar Austin Aries showed just how much those perks add up financially. In a tweet, Aries let everyone know he was making more money wrestling the indies that he did in WWE over the final six months of his contract.
What's interesting about that comment, if Aries is accurate in his timeline, is that within the last six months, he would have received his WrestleMania payday and bonus. If so, it's shocking that a wrestler who was being highlighted at the top of the Cruiserweight Division wasn't making the kind of money he's now making wrestling in smaller venues on the independent scene.
Also interesting is that Aries would release this tweet right after being spotted at the WWE Performance Center. Something so potentially damaging wouldn't be made public by Aries if that trip went well.
This is the kind of news that spreads quickly, and when current WWE talent, many of whom are rumored to want out of their current contracts, things could get interesting and flood more requests for releases could be on their way.