Opinion: Austin Aries may not need WWE either to succeed
In 2016, Cody Rhodes handed in his notice to WWE. Many fans and performers thought he was crazy but as things turned out, it was the best decision he had ever made. Cody has since wrestled for Impact Wrestling, New Japan and Ring of Honor, where he has been ROH World Champion.
Cody was probably the most surprising WWE departure of 2016. The most surprising departure of 2017, however, has to go to Austin Aries.
Austin Aries was a hell of a talent that fans wanted to see in WWE for years. A former TNA World Champion and ROH World Champion, 'The Greatest Man That Ever Lived' finally signed with WWE in early 2016, debuting as a part of the NXT roster.
Aries' time in NXT was short before an injury took him down but later he was moved full time to WWE 205 Live, first an announcer and then a wrestler. He unsuccessfully challenging Neville for the Cruiserweight Championship on several occasions.
The surprising news came on 7 July 2017 when Aries was released from his WWE contract. Initial reports stated that Aries was frustrated with his role in the company and asked to be let out of his contract, but Aries later revealed on Talk Is Jericho that WWE released him because they had nothing for him.
Aries has since returned to the independent scene and most recently to Impact Wrestling, with incredible success. Aries won the World Series Wrestling Heavyweight Championship on 27 November 2017 in South Wales.
Aries then debuted for Defiant Wrestling after General Manager Stu Bennett (Wade Barrett) had teased a big signing and would defeat the Bullet Club's Marty Scurll to win the Defiant Championship on 5 December 2017.
Aries would then defeat Mark Haskins at IPW:UK The Big Bang Undisputed to win the IPW:UK World Championship on 17 December 2017. Finally, on the most recent set of tapings, Aries would return to Impact Wrestling and defeat Eli Drake for the Impact Global Championship in mere moments.
Aries may not be making the headlines like Cody Rhodes but his success has already rivaled that of Rhodes. There is no doubt that Austin Aries could be another very regretful WWE release.
Austin Aries is slowly piling up his list of achievements and showing that he does not need WWE to be one of the biggest stars in all of professional wrestling. Despite everything Aries has accomplished already, you can't help but wonder whether his best is yet to come.