Austin Aries Returns Home

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Photo: Impact Wrestling

As you no doubt have heard by now, Impact Wrestling has a new Impact Global Champion. That champion is none other than The Greatest Man That Ever Lived, Austin Aries. Coming back and immediately winning the gold isn’t particularly surprising given his recent trajectory. Since leaving the WWE, Aries has captured championship gold with World Series Wrestling out of Australia, as well as Defiant and IPW:UK, both based out of the United Kingdom.

When The Most Vascular Vegan first signed with the WWE, many thought he was bound for greatness. He was coming fresh off of a main event run with Impact and a cup of coffee spent with Ring of Honor. Unfortunately, he spent some time at the top of the card on NXT before being put on the cruiserweight roster. While today that might not be a big issue, it was a kiss of death at the time. After quickly climbing the ranks of the division on 205 Live, he never was able to take the belt from Neville. His first title shot against the King of the Cruiserweights was at Wrestlemania 33. Sort of. It was actually relegated to the pre-show for the Showcase of the Immortals. Both the Intercontinental Championship bout and Cruiserweight Title match happened before the card truly started.

Photo: WWE

Shortly after his third attempt to capture the belt, Aries was released. On top of the promotions mentioned above, A Double also worked for House of Hardcore and released a book. Food Fight is the story of how Austin Aries went from a mid-west upbringing to one of the most in-demand wrestlers in the world. Along the way, you will read how his plant-based lifestyle evolved, hence the title. All of these things have happened in the past two years. What brought the Common Denominator of Greatness to where we are today?

On November 11th, 2000, Austin Aries made his professional wrestling debut against Johnny Emerald. He spent the next few years cutting his teeth on the indies before joining ROH. During his first year with the promotion, he became ROH World Champion. Not only was he the champion, he defeated the longest reigning champion in ROH history, Samoa Joe. He would later go on to tackle the ROH Tag Team Championship with Roderick Strong.

While he was capturing titles with ROH, Impact, then known as TNA had a relationship that allowed competitors to work for both companies. Aries debuted at Sacrifice against Christopher Daniels. He would go on to form a stable similar to his stable in ROH with Strong and Alex Shelley. After serving a suspension for arriving late to Against All Odds, Aries redebuted as Austin Starr at Bound For Glory. Starr would become a major part of Kevin Nash‘s Paparazzi Productions and the Paparazzi Championship Series. This was a great opportunity for many of the talents of the X-Division to develop stronger characters. Although he didn’t win any championships during his time there, Starr would prove to be a valuable part of the TNA roster.

Photo: ROH

Aries would return to ROH after his second suspension with TNA. During his second tenure, he became the first man to hold the ROH title more than once. To this day, the only other wrestlers to accomplish that feat have been Jay Briscoe and Adam Cole. His next tenure with ROH would end with Aries joining Dragon Gate USA. He would feud with the likes of Rich SwannChuck Taylor, and Johnny Gargano. He would also align with the Blood Warriors, the heel faction sitting atop the card. Swann, Taylor, and Gargano, collectively known as Ronin, would faceoff against the Blood Warriors in A Double’s final match with the company.

Photo: Impact Wrestling

Mere days after leaving Dragon Gate USA, Austin Aries made his return to TNA. He immediately entered a feud with old ally and enemy Alex Shelley. This catapulted Aries to the top of the X-Division, leading to his first title with the company. Aries would elevate the X-Division once again during his reign. His 301-day reign saw him take on all comers, even winning matches against Bully Ray and Samoa Joe. In fact, he never actually lost the title. The championship reign came to an end in a unique way.

Photo: Impact Wrestling

Austin Aries had outgrown the X-Division. Hulk Hogan, the general manager at the time, offered him a World Title match if he would relinquish the X-Division strap. Aries would agree, under one condition. Leading into Destination X, Aries created “Option C”. Option C has given every subsequent X-Division champion a yearly opportunity to trade the title in. In his opportunity to capture the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, Aries would defeat Bobby Roode. Austin Aries would go on to be one of the main players in Impact Wrestling for the few years. He is a six-time X-Division Champion. He also captured the TNA World Tag Team Titles with Bobby Roode. This makes him one of only eight Triple Crown Champions in Impact Wrestling history.

With Impact Wrestling, the Greatest Man That Ever Lived proved that he might be just that. After a less than ideal run with the WWE, fans have seen A Double get back in his groove. Coming back home to the Impact Zone is the smartest move for both Aries and Impact. And with this reign with the Global Championship, Austin Aries is about to prove it.

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