It’s been weeks since Austin Aries’ short, yet memorable WWE run ended, and up to now, a lot of fans are still wishing the self-proclaimed Greatest Man that Ever Lived did more than just feud with Neville for the Cruiserweight Championship. And while reports claimed Aries proved to be a handful backstage, hence WWE’s alleged decision to release him, he does have a prominent wrestling veteran sympathetic to his plight in Sean “X-Pac” Waltman, who talked about Aries’ release on a recent podcast appearance.
In his latest appearance on The Tomorrow Show with Keven Undergaro, Waltman talked about a variety of wrestling-related topics with his co-host, including WWE’s recent decision to release Austin Aries. As Waltman sees it, WWE may have truly missed the boat on A Double, as there may have been some people backstage who didn’t quite know how to book him. On the other hand, he also hinted that Aries might have indeed been upset and showing it because WWE wasn't recognizing his true value as a respected, multi-titled veteran, and acknowledged that it may have been all for the better that WWE cut ties with Aries earlier this year.
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“He’s great, I’m a huge fan of his. It just didn’t work out,” said Waltman, as quoted by EWrestlingNews.
“There was a lot of, somebody didn’t feel it. It’s too bad because, their loss on that one…Here’s the thing with him, he’s one of these people that knows his value… Whatever they do to try and make– and when I say they, it doesn’t matter what company, it doesn’t work on him. He knows what he’s worth, and he wasn’t going to stay there and not be utilized properly…It wasn’t going to work. You don’t want a guy like that there.”
The 39-year-old Aries was released by WWE in July 2017, ending a one-and-a-half-year stint with the company that included about a year on NXT, and an eye injury suffered last year that had temporarily put him behind the announce table as he recovered. At WrestleMania 33, he fought Neville for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship, but would lose the match and the feud, and go to the back of the proverbial line as he mainly appeared on 205 Live.
Per PWTorch, Aries was allegedly not a popular person backstage due to his “bad attitude,” and asked for his release as he wasn’t happy being relegated to the Cruiserweight Division. However, separate accounts from the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer suggest that Aries may have actually been fired due to said attitude problems, with his release “probably (being) a mutual thing” between both sides.
All in all, Sean Waltman's account is just another piece of corroborating evidence suggesting that Vince McMahon never got Austin Aries. It goes without saying that the man deserved so much better and that even with his small stature, he was essentially slumming it by working in the Cruiserweight Division. But given those past rumors of attitude issues behind the scenes, we hope Aries himself gets to set the record straight and clears the proverbial air on what turned out to be a short and unsatisfying big break, one that probably came too late in his career for anyone's liking.
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