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Austin Aries on his controversial Impact Wrestling departure, what went wrong during his WWE tenure

Austin Aries joined VOC Nation’s In the Room podcast this week to talk about a wide range of topics including his exit from both Impact Wrestling and WWE.

During the interview, the former Cruiserweight Champion was asked what went wrong during his time in WWE.

Aries was under contract with WWE from 2016-2017 where he mostly worked in NXT and the cruiserweight division in addition to commentary. In July 2017, WWE released Austin although initial reports stated that he was frustrated in the company and asked for his release. That wasn’t true as WWE decided to let him go.

“I can give you six different answers depending on what talking point I want to use, but at the end of the day it wasn’t my decision there.  It was nothing that I asked for, and it was nothing that I was given a heads up that was coming.  That question is probably better to ask Vince or to the people that were in charge.  I’ll be honest…I came in as a short old white dude.”

Aries stated that he was 38 years old at the time and told that he basically came in on secret double probation because he was told that he had to be on his best behavior. He stated that WWE never had a plan for him and listed how he got his “eye hole broken,” did commentary, which led to the main roster run that ultimately got him a WrestleMania match. He mentioned how all of that happened in 18 months.

He stated that he doesn’t know what else he was supposed to do or what people were expecting. He doesn’t think walking in there he felt like this was going to be a fit for the next 10 years of his career.

“I think we both went in there with some reservations, and I think we both proved each other right as far as what they thought of me and what I thought of the system….Ultimately it was their decision to move on and I can only go by what I’m told.”

Up next was his controversial departure from Impact Wrestling in 2018 that all started at the Bound For Glory pay-per-view. He dropped the World Title to Johnny Impact, but after the match, Aries immediately got up and no-sold the finish, which was Impact’s finisher. He walked to the back and shouted towards Don Callis at commentary as he made his exit. He gave fans a two-finger salute as he left.

There were mixed reports at the time whether Aries did business for himself or if it was a work. According to Aries, this wasn’t supposed to be the end of his time in the promotion.

“It was never intended for me – the way I walked out at Bound for Glory – that was not supposed to be the last that you saw me (there).  That was never the intention.  I certainly wouldn’t be trying to create a bunch of controversy for no payoff…Did it come off exactly as I envisioned in my head before hand?  Probably not.”

Aries stated that it’s possible that he could’ve one a couple of things that still would have maybe gotten the point across without taking one of the criticisms that he’s seen.

“Tweets I put out, they started that controversy for that whole angle – You’re always taking risks.  If you don’t step on the line enough, people don’t care and they don’t notice and it didn’t happen.  You step over the line too much, and especially in this culture they want to cut your head off.”

Aries also talked about AEW and WWE running shows during the shutdown, the state of the country and the world, his work with BioXcellerator, and much more.

You can listen to the entire interview by clicking on the player below:

In the Room airs live on VOC Nation every Tuesday night at 9PM ET with Pro Wrestling Illustrated contributor Brady Hicks, former WCW star The Maestro, Kathie Fitzpatrick, legendary guests, and listener calls.

VOC Nation provides daily, interactive talk radio, geared toward the professional wrestling community.

Other notable show hosts include former WWE/AWA announcer Ken Resnick (Wrestling with History – Wednesdays), former WCW performer The Maestro (WCW Retro – Thursdays), former TNA Impact talent Wes Brisco (Brisco and Big Ace), former WWE and TNA star Shelly Martinez (Shelly LIVE – Tuesdays), and more!

Since 2010, VOC Nation has brought listeners into the minds of the biggest stars in pro wrestling and entertainment.  Subscribe to the podcasts for free, and visit for live programming.


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