Austin Aries


Austin Aries
Austin Aries

Aries in November 2007
Ring name(s) Austin Airs
Austin Aries[1]
(The) Austin Starr[2]
Dan Sexon[1]
Billed height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)[3]
Billed weight 210 lb (95 kg)[3]
Born April 15, 1978 (1978-04-15) (age 33)[1]
Milwaukee, Wisconsin[1]
Billed from Minneapolis, Minnesota
Milwaukee, Wisconsin[3]
Savage, Minnesota[4]
TV Land[5]
Trained by Eddie Sharkey[1]
Terry Fox[1]
Debut November 24, 2000[1]

Daniel Healy "Dan" Solwold, Jr.[1] (born April 15, 1978)[1] better known by his ring name Austin Aries, is an American professional wrestler, currently signed to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), where he is the current X Division Champion. He is also known for performing in Ring of Honor, where he became the first and thus far only two-time ROH World champion.

Contents

Professional wrestling career

Solwold began training under Eddie Sharkey and Terry Fox in 2000 and debuted on November 24, 2000, facing "Sheriff" Johnny Emerald.[2] He wrestled in the midwest for several years before his east coast wrestling career was jumpstarted after he progressed to the finals of the 2004 ECWA Super 8 Tournament, where he was defeated by Christopher Daniels.

Ring of Honor (2004–2007)

From there, he joined Ring of Honor. Aries made his ROH main show debut at ROH: Reborn Stage 2 in Chicago Ridge, Illinois on April 24, 2004. Aries was unsuccessful, however, losing a four corner survival match also involving Jimmy Rave, Rocky Romero, and the winner, Nigel McGuinness.[6] Aries was scheduled to return at the May 22 show, Generation Next, to compete in a one night series which would showcase young, upcoming ROH talent. Alex Shelley, however, hand-picked Aries, along with Roderick Strong and Jack Evans, as members of a new stable (also meant to promote young, upcoming ROH talent) who, instead of earning their spots, would simply take them. The group took the name Generation Next as their own.[1]

Aries captured the ROH World Championship at Final Battle 2004 on December 26, 2004, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by defeating the longest reigning ROH World Champion, Samoa Joe.[7][8] On June 16, 2005, Ring of Honor named Aries the new head trainer at the ROH wrestling school, replacing the former head trainer, CM Punk, who had agreed to a contract with World Wrestling Entertainment.[9] After a six month string of non-stop defenses, many of which were international, Aries lost the championship to CM Punk on June 18, 2005.[7][10]

On December 17 in Edison, New Jersey at Final Battle 2005, Aries teamed with Strong to defeat Sal Rinauro and Tony Mamaluke for the ROH World Tag Team Championship.[11][12] The two would then disband Generation Next on June 3, 2006. In a first time ever match, Aries took on Pro Wrestling Noah star and former GHC Jr. Heavyweight champion KENTA in Chicago on June 24, but was defeated following KENTA's Go 2 Sleep.[13]

On September 16, he and his partner Strong lost the ROH World Tag Team Championship to the Kings of Professional Wrestling (Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli).[11][14] Aries and Strong continued to team together for the rest of the year. At Battle of the Icons on January 27, 2007, Aries and Strong teamed up with Jack Evans to defeat Davey Richards, Delirious and SHINGO.[15] This apparent Generation Next reunion was short lived when, at the following show on February 16, Strong attacked Aries after their tag team title match against Christopher Daniels and Matt Sydal.[16] Strong then formed the "No Remorse Corps" with Davey Richards.[16] Jack Evans ran down and pulled Strong off Aries, but refused to side with either of them. The following night, Aries called out Strong twice, but was unable to get his hands on him. When Evans refused to side with him, Aries said he was going to form a new faction with members of the next generation of wrestling. With that, he formed "The Resilience" with Erick Stevens and Matt Cross.

On April 27, Aries unsuccessfully challenged Takeshi Morishima for the ROH World Championship.[17] On May 4, 2007, Ring of Honor announced on their website that they had signed a pay-per-view deal with G-Funk Sports and Entertainment.[18] Following the announcement, TNA pulled Aries and Homicide, both under contracts with TNA, from all Ring of Honor shows.[18]

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2005–2007)

In July 2005, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling held an Internet poll to select an opponent for the TNA X Division Champion Christopher Daniels at their August 14 pay-per-view, Sacrifice 2005. Billed as an "Internet dream match", the poll offered voters the choice of Aries, Roderick Strong, Jay Lethal and Matt Sydal (none of whom were contracted to TNA or had even appeared with the company on a regular basis in the past). Aries won the poll by a landslide, and thus faced Daniels in a non-title match at Sacrifice, which he lost.[19] Following the event, it was rumored that TNA officials had been impressed by Aries and were considering offering him a contract, and these rumors were seemingly substantiated when Aries faced and defeated Roderick Strong at Unbreakable on September 11 in a "Showcase match".[20]

Aries in the ring in 2006

On September 22, 2005, Aries announced on his website that he had received a contract offer from TNA, and intended to sign it. He became a regular member of the TNA roster, and formed a stable with Roderick Strong and Alex Shelley. Many fans referred to this group as the second coming of Generation Next, which had contained Shelley, Strong, Aries, and Jack Evans in Ring of Honor.

In February 2006, he and Strong were both suspended for two months for arriving four hours late for the pay-per-view Against All Odds 2006. This occurred because of Aries and Strong's decision to remain in Long Island for an ROH show, despite TNA's last minute request to travel to Florida because of the potential of a snowstorm.[21]

In the build to Bound for Glory 2006, promos began to air advertising the debut of a new wrestler, "Austin Starr", at the event with the slogan "A Starr is Born". Starr appeared for TNA on October 22 as the first entrant and became the winner of the "Kevin Nash Open Invitational X Division Gauntlet Battle Royal at Bound for Glory.[22] After the match, Kevin Nash presented Starr with a bowling trophy and a hug.[22]

On the following edition of Impact!, it was announced Starr would work closely with Nash's group Paparazzi Productions, much to the dismay of one of the group's founders, Alex Shelley. Starr replaced Johnny Devine as a member of Paparazzi Productions and participated in the Paparazzi Championship Series along with Shelley, eventually losing to Shelley in the finals at Final Resolution 2007.[23] Starr then went on to feud with Senshi.

On April 18, 2007, Starr was suspended for ninety days.[24] On May 7 it was reported by The Wrestling Observer Newsletter that the suspension branched from TNA asking Austin to tape promo vignettes on a day he believed to be his day off. Starr did ultimately agree to do the vignettes but TNA saw this as a bad attitude and was reason for his suspension. During the suspension, Aries requested, and was granted, his release from TNA.

Return to Ring of Honor (2007–2010)

One month after being granted his release from TNA, Aries would make his return to Ring of Honor. At United We Stand on June 22, 2007 Aries was in attendance, but as a "fan". During a match between the No Remorse Corps and The Resilience, he was verbally called out by Roderick Strong. Aries tried to climb over the guard rail, but was held back be security as he was no longer employed by the company. The following night, at Driven, Aries was again in attendance. Following a six-man tag team match between the No Remorse Corps and Delirious and The Resilience, Aries ran through the crowd and attacked the NRC. He then signed a ROH contract in the ring.

Aries' first match back came at Race to the Top Tournament: Night One, when he faced Roderick Strong, Jimmy Rave and Gran Akuma in a Four Way Fray for the FIP World Heavyweight Championship.[25] The feud between The Resilience and the No Remorse Corps would continue at ROH's Death before Dishonor V weekend. The first night, Aries teamed with Erick Stevens to defeat Roderick Strong and Rocky Romero.[26] However, they would not be as lucky the following night, when they, along with Delirious, lost in a Street Fight to the No Remorse Corps and Matt Sydal.[27]

At Manhattan Mayhem II, Aries defeated former Generation Next stable mates Roderick Strong and Jack Evans in a triple threat match.[28] At Glory by Honor VI: Night Two, Aries disbanded The Resilience in order to focus on regaining the ROH World Championship. At Rising Above, Aries faced current ROH champion Nigel McGuinness in a losing effort in an attempt to regain the ROH World Championship.[29]

Aries began to act frustrated due to losing matches and began refusing to shake hands after matches. Jimmy Jacobs displayed interest in adding Aries to The Age of the Fall (AotF). Tammy Sytch also offered Aries her managerial services. Aries was defeated by McGuinness a second time at Supercard of Honor III in March 2008.[30] Afterwards, Aries left with Lacey, seemingly joining the AotF. Aries returned in April and revealed that Lacey had decided to leave the AotF and that him and Lacey had become a couple. This outraged Jacobs, who attacked Aries and started a feud with him. Shortly afterwards, Lacey was apparently attacked by Jacobs outside a gym.

On April 23, Aries was chosen by Jay Briscoe as his replacement for brother Mark Briscoe as to defend the ROH World Tag Team Championship against the The Age of the Fall after Mark was forced out of action due to an injury. The reasoning for this choice was Aries and the Briscoe Brothers' shared hatred for the Age of the Fall. Aries was not considered to have won the championship a second time, but rather to have been a substitute in a title defense. After their first and only title defense, the championship was vacated.

Aries (right) facing Davey Richards in 2008.

On June 6 Aries teamed with Bryan Danielson in Ring of Honor's one night tournament to crown new World Tag Team Champions. They defeated Roderick Strong and Davey Richards in the first round before being eliminated in the second by eventual winners Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black.[31] On June 7 Aries and Danielson received a title shot against Jacobs and Black but were defeated when Black pinned Danielson with a Phoenix Splash.[32]

On June 27, Aries was defeated by Necro Butcher in a "Relaxed Rules" match following a chair shot to the head.[33] Aries had unsuccessfully attempted to get Butcher to leave the Age of The Fall and when Necro refused, he ceased fighting back against him. On June 28, Aries pinned ROH World Tag Team Champion Jimmy Jacobs in a "Relaxed Rules" match following a 450° splash despite interference from Necro Butcher, Tyler Black, Allison Wonderland, and MsChif.[34] On July 25, Aries and Jay Briscoe teamed to defeat ROH World Tag Team Champions The Age of The Fall (Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black) in a No DQ Match when Briscoe pinned Black.[35] On July 26, in Detroit, Aries would spend much of the show brawling with Jimmy Jacobs culminating in both men brawling at the top of a 20 foot ladder. Jacobs' partner in the Age of The Fall, Necro Butcher, would eventually tip the ladder over sending them both crashing through a table below.[36]

Aries would continue his feud with Jimmy Jacobs throughout the fall. In the second Steel Cage Warfare Match at Glory by Honor VII, Aries' team (Aries, Briscoe Brothers) defeated Jacobs' team (Jacobs, Black, Delirious) and Necro's team (himself only).[37] The two would have a best of three series to somewhat put a end to the feud. The first match took place at Ring of Homicide 2, where Jacobs (with help from Delirious and Brodie Lee) defeated Aries in a Falls Count Anywhere Match.[38] The second match took place at Bound By Hate, and Aries defeated the bloody Jacobs in a Dog Collar Match.[39] The deciding match was at Rising Above 2009 in a "I Quit" Match. Lacey returned to ROH in Aries' corner, and Aries won the match. Aries would continue his feud with the Age of the Fall this time against the heavily cheered Tyler Black. At Final Battle 2008, Black was defeated by Aries in a Number One Contender's Match.[40] After the match Jacobs would attack Black, and Aries ran in to make the save.[40] Instead, however, Aries teamed up with Jacobs to attack Black.[40] Aries later explained that the reason that he attacked Black was because the fans turned on him.

In addition to his work in ROH, Austin Aries was recently announced as a member of Team Epic War for Chikara's King of Trios 2009 tournament. On the first night, Aries, along with Ryan Drago and Tony Kozina, lost to the F1rst Family (Arik Cannon, Darin Corbin and Ryan Cruz) in the first round. On the second night, Aries would go on to lose to Player Dos in the Rey de Voladores opening four corners match. On the final night, Aries lost to Eddie Kingston in a singles match.

In early 2009, Aries also underwent a complete character transformation, cutting his long hair, donning new pink and black trunks, and coming to the ring in a bright pink fur jacket. He would completely drop his darker type persona and adapt to a new ladies man gimmick, often referring to himself as "A Double" and "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived", the latter after a song by Weezer, which also became his new entrance theme.[41][42]

On June 13, 2009, at Manhattan Mayhem III, Aries won a three-way elimination match against the ROH World Champion Jerry Lynn and Tyler Black, to become the first and only person to have held the ROH World Championship on more than one occasion to date.[7] On December 19, 2009, at Final Battle 2009, ROH's first live pay-per-view, he defended the title by wrestling Tyler Black to a 60 minute time limit draw.[43] On February 13, 2010, at the main event of ROH's 8th Anniversary Show, Aries lost the ROH World Championship to Tyler Black.[7][44] During the following months he feuded with Delirious and Jerry Lynn, while also becoming the manager of Kenny King and Rhett Titus, the tag team known collectively as the All Night Express, dubbing himself the "Greatest Manager That Ever Lived".[45] In October 2010 Aries' profile was removed from ROH's official website, after reports had surfaced that the promotion was going to be cutting down the size of their roster.[46] On October 6, 2010, competing promotion Evolve announced that Aries would make his debut for the promotion on November 20.[47]

Dragon Gate USA (2010–2011)

On October 12, 2010, Dragon Gate USA announced that Aries had signed a contract with the promotion.[48] Aries made his debut for the promotion on October 29 at the Bushido: Code of the Warrior pay-per-view, where he was defeated by Open the Dream Gate Champion Masato Yoshino in a non–title match. After the match, Rich Swann, whom Aries had offered to adopt as his protégé, turned his offer down.[49] On January 28, 2011, at United: NYC, Aries defeated Swann in a singles match.[50] The following month Aries started a storyline, where he claimed to have lost the motivation to continue his professional wrestling career, after failing to make the cast of WWE Tough Enough, before offering to put his Dragon Gate USA career on the line in order to get one last shot at Yamato and the Open the Freedom Gate Championship.[51][52] On April 2 at Mercury Rising 2011, Aries was unsuccessful in his challenge, thus seemingly bringing his Dragon Gate USA career to an end.[52] The following day at Open the Ultimate Gate, Aries was defeated by Jimmy Jacobs in what was billed as his Dragon Gate USA farewell match. However, after the match Aries feigned passing the torch to Chuck Taylor, Johnny Gargano and Rich Swann, the trio known collectively as Ronin, before turning on them and joining the promotion's top heel group, Blood Warriors, claiming to have found his purpose under the leadership of CIMA.[53] Blood Warriors and Ronin faced each other in a six man elimination tag team match on June 5 at Enter The Dragon 2011, which Ronin won after Johnny Gargano managed to submit both CIMA and Aries.[54] On June 9 it was reported that Aries had left both Dragon Gate USA and Evolve to reportedly pursue a career outside of professional wrestling.[55]

Return to TNA Wrestling (2011–present)

Aries making his return to TNA in June 2011.

On June 13, 2011, at the tapings of the June 16 edition of Impact Wrestling, Aries made a return to TNA, defeating Jimmy Rave and Kid Kash in a first round match of the X Division Showcase tournament for a contract with the promotion.[56][57] On July 10 at Destination X, Aries defeated Jack Evans, Low Ki and Zema Ion to win the tournament and earn a contract with TNA.[58] In his first match on Impact Wrestling since being officially re-signed, Aries defeated Shannon Moore in a singles match, after hitting him with a steel chain and then pinning him for the victory, thus returning to his A Double character and establishing himself as a heel.[59] On the July 21 edition of Impact Wrestling, Aries cost Alex Shelley, who had previously confronted him on his win over Shannon Moore, his shot at the X Division Championship.[60] Two weeks later, Aries defeated Shelley in a singles match.[61] On August 7 at Hardcore Justice, Aries and Shelley competed in a three-way match for the TNA X Division Championship, but were both unable to win the belt from the defending champion, Brian Kendrick.[62] On the August 18 edition of Impact Wrestling Aries won an eight man gauntlet match to earn another shot at the X Division Championship.[63] On September 11 at No Surrender, Aries defeated Kendrick to win the X Division Championship for the first time.[64] The following month at Bound for Glory, Aries defeated Kendrick in a rematch to retain the title.[65] On November 13 at Turning Point, Aries defeated Jesse Sorensen and Kid Kash in a three-way match to retain the X Division Championship.[66]

Personal life

His ring name is a combination of his astrology sign (Aries) and the first name of one of his favorite wrestlers when he was growing up (Austin Idol). He has a tattoo of the Chinese symbol for the astrological sign of aries on his arm, which is one of the distinguishing features he uses to claim that he and former persona Dan "Casual" Sexon are in fact different people.

In April 2008, Aries opened up "The Foundation", a wrestling training school located in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. He opened up this camp with friend and former trainer Terry Fox. Fox has trained numerous wrestlers, including Josette Bynum, Bonnie Maxon, Lacey, Justin LaRouche, Shawn Daivari and Aries himself.

As of September 2010, six students have graduated from The Foundation and now wrestle in the Midwest area.

Aries became a vegetarian in 2001. He stated on his official twitter page that his choice to do so was a result of a "healthier lifestyle" and to "stop animal cruelty."

Aries considers himself a liberal on the political spectrum.[citation needed]

Aries provided the voice for the main character Jacob Cass in the Road to WrestleMania mode of WWE video game WWE '12.[67]

In wrestling

Aries performing a brainbuster on Jimmy Rave.

Championships and accomplishments

Aries with the ROH World Championship during his second reign in 2009 at a PWG show.
  • Mid-American Wrestling
    • MAW Junior Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[2]
  • Midwest Championship Wrestling
    • MWCW Light Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[2]
  • Midwest Independent Association of Wrestling
    • MIAW Cruiserweight Championship (1 time)[2]
  • Minnesota Independent Wrestling
    • MIW Cruiserweight Championship (1 time)[2]
  • Neo Pro Wrestling
    • NPW Cruiserweight Championship (1 time)[2]
    • NPW Cruiserweight Championship Tournament (2002)[2]
  • Pro Wrestling WAR
    • PWW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[2]
  • Steel Domain Wrestling
    • SDW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with "The Piston" Ted Dixon[2]

References

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