Daniel Healy "Dan" Solwold Jr. (April 15, 1978) better known by his ring name Austin Aries, is an American professional wrestler best known for working for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, where he is a six-time TNA X Division Champion, with his first reign lasting 301 days and remains the longest in the history of the championship. Aries is also a one-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion, and one-time TNA World Tag Team Champion, making him the fifth TNA Triple Crown Champion. He is also known for performing in Ring of Honor (ROH), where he became the first two-time ROH World Champion. Aries also worked with WWE in the development territory NXT, the cruiserweight division 205 Live and Main Event as a color commentator.
Professional wrestling career
Solwold began training under Eddie Sharkey and Terry Fox in 2000 and debuted on November 24, 2000, facing "Sheriff" Johnny Emerald. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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). 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. 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. Strong then formed the "No Remorse Corps" with Davey Richards. 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. 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. Following the announcement, TNA pulled Aries and Homicide, both under contracts with TNA, from all Ring of Honor shows.
Return to TNA Wrestling
X Division Champion (2011–2012)
On June 13, 2011, at the tapings of the June 16 episode 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. On July 10 at Destination X 2011, Aries defeated Jack Evans, Low Ki and Zema Ion to win the tournament and earn a contract with TNA. 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. On the July 21 episode 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. Two weeks later, Aries defeated Shelley in a singles match. 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.
On the August 18 episode of Impact Wrestling Aries won an eight-man gauntlet match to earn another shot at the X Division Championship. On September 11 at No Surrender, Aries defeated Kendrick to win the X Division Championship for the first time. On October 16 at Bound for Glory, Aries defeated Kendrick in a rematch to retain the title. On November 13 at Turning Point Aries defeated Jesse Sorensen and Kid Kash in a three-way match to retain the X Division Championship. On December 11 at Final Resolution Aries defeated Kash in a singles match to retain the X Division Championship. On January 8, 2012, at Genesis, Aries successfully defended the X Division Championship in a four-way elimination match against Jesse Sorensen, Kid Kash and Zema Ion. On February 12 at Against All Odds, Aries defeated Alex Shelley with his Last Chancery submission hold to retain the X Division Championship. On the March 8 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries was defeated by Ion via disqualification, after Aries was caught using Ion's hair spray on him; as a result, Aries retained his title. On March 12, Aries became the longest reigning X Division Champion in history by breaking the previous record of 182 days, set by Christopher Daniels in 2005. On March 18 at Victory Road, Aries successfully defended the title against Zema Ion. On the following episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries again retained the title after he wrestled Ion, Kid Kash and Anthony Neese to a no contest, following interference from Bully Ray Aries finalized his face turn the following week, when he teamed with James Storm to defeat Ray and Bobby Roode in the main event. The rivalry between Aries and Ray continued on April 15 at Lockdown, where the two were on opposing teams in the annual Lethal Lockdown match. Aries' team, led by Garett Bischoff, ended up defeating Ray's team, led by Eric Bischoff. Aries continued his record-breaking title reign on the May 10 episode of Impact Wrestling by successfully defending the X Division Championship against Zema Ion. Three days later at Sacrifice , Aries defeated Bully Ray in a singles match, submitting him with the Last Chancery. On May 19, Aries announced that he had signed a contract extension with TNA. On the live May 31 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries successfully defended the X Division Championship against Chris Sabin. Earlier in the episode, Aries had a run-in with Samoa Joe, which led to Joe costing Aries his match with Crimson the following week. On June 10 at Slammiversary, Aries defeated Joe to retain the X Division Championship. On the following episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries competed in his first Ultimate X match, where he successfully defended the X Division Championship against Chris Sabin and Zema Ion.
TNA World Heavyweight Championship (2011-2012)
Following his win, Aries announced that he was not satisfied with being just the X Division Champion, which led to General Manager Hulk Hogan promising him a shot at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, but only if he first vacated the X Division Championship. The following week, Aries agreed to Hogan's terms with the caveat that every year before the annual Destination X pay-per-view, future X Division Champions be given the same opportunity. Aries relinquished the X Division Championship two weeks later, ending his record-breaking reign at 298 days. On July 8, Aries defeated Bobby Roode in the main event of Destination X to become the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion. On July 17, TNA president Dixie Carter announced that Aries had signed a new long-term deal with the promotion. Aries and Roode had a non-title rematch on the July 19 episode of Impact Wrestling, which ended in a no contest, when both competitors were attacked by a group of masked assailants, known only as the "Aces & Eights". On August 12 at Hardcore Justice, Aries successfully defended the TNA World Heavyweight Championship against Roode, with a pre-match stipulation preventing Roode from getting another rematch for the title as long as Aries was champion. During the following weeks, Aries moved from Roode to defending TNA against the Aces & Eights. On the September 20 episode of Impact Wrestling, after Jeff Hardy had won the 2012 Bound for Glory Series to become Aries' next challenger for the World Heavyweight Championship, Aries began working as a tweener, claiming that he could match anything Hardy had ever done in his career. On October 11, during the final episode of Impact Wrestling before Bound for Glory, Aries continued his turn into a villainous character, claiming that he worked best when people were against him, before crotching Hardy on the ring ropes and dropping him with a brainbuster. Three days later in the main event of Bound for Glory, TNA's largest annual event, Aries lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Hardy, ending his reign at 98 days.
On the October 25 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries attacked Hardy, after he had successfully defended his title against Kurt Angle, stealing one of his two title belts and announcing that a rematch between the two would take place at Turning Point. On November 11 at the pay-per-view, Aries failed to regain the World Heavyweight Championship from Hardy in a ladder match. On the November 22 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries moved from Hardy to becoming a disruption around the Impact Zone by revealing a secret relationship between Bully Ray and General Manager Hulk Hogan's daughter Brooke. The following week, Aries was chosen by Hogan as the number one contender to Rob Van Dam's X Division Championship. Aries defeated Van Dam in the main event via disqualification, following interference from Bully Ray, but as the title does not change hands on a disqualification, Van Dam retained. On December 9 at Final Resolution, Aries defeated Ray in a singles match, following a distraction from both Brooke and Hulk Hogan and a low blow from Aries. On the December 13 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries was revealed as the man who paid the Aces & Eights to prevent Bobby Roode, who originally paid the group to help him win the World Heavyweight Championship, from winning at the pay-per-view, which led Jeff Hardy to issue him a title challenge. On the December 20 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries was unsuccessful in his challenge for Hardy's World Heavyweight Championship, following interference from Bobby Roode. Aries and Roode faced off in a number one contenders match on the December 27 episode of Impact Wrestling. The match ended in a no contest after the two attacked referee Earl Hebner and then were, in turn attacked by Hardy. The rivalry culminated in a three-way elimination match on January 13, 2013, at Genesis where Aries failed again to regain the World Heavyweight Championship from Hardy.
Championship reigns (2013-2015)
On January 25, at the tapings of the February 7 episode of Impact Wrestling in Manchester, England, Aries and Roode defeated Chavo Guerrero Jr. and Hernandez to win the TNA World Tag Team Championship, thus giving Aries the TNA Triple Crown. Aries and Roode made their first successful title defense on March 10 at Lockdown, defeating Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels and Kazarian) and Chavo Guerrero, Jr. and Hernandez in a three-way match. On the March 21 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries and Roode defeated Guerrero and Hernandez to retain the TNA World Tag Team Championship, following interference from Daniels and Kazarian. Afterwards, the champions would be attacked by Daniels and Kazarian On the April 11 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries and Roode lost the TNA World Tag Team Championship back to Guerrero and Hernandez in a Two-out-of-Three Falls match, ending their reign at 76 days. Aries and Roode received their rematch on the April 25 episode of Impact Wrestling, but were again defeated by Guerrero and Hernandez after an inadvertent interference from Christopher Daniels and Kazarian. Aries and Roode faced Daniels and Kazarian in number one contenders match on the May 9 episode of Impact Wrestling, however, the match ended in a no contest after special guest referee James Storm superkicked Aries and Daniels and walked out on the match. Aries and Roode received another shot at Guerrero and Hernandez's titles on June 2 at Slammiversary XI, in an fatal four-way elimination match, which was won by Gunner and James Storm.
On June 20, 2013 at the Impact Wrestling tapings for June 27, Suicide defeated champion Chris Sabin and Kenny King to win the X Division Championship. After GM Hulk Hogan demanded Suicide unmask himself (due to discovering the real Suicide was jumped backstage), Aries revealed himself as the imposter. This marks Aries' second reign as X Division Champion, and he announced that he intended to trade in the X Division Title for a World Heavyweight Championship match at the Destination X special on July 18. On July 11 Chris Sabin would regain the X Division Championship in a triple threat match that also included Manic. On the August 1 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries turned face after praising AJ Styles, before being interrupted by his former tag team partner Bobby Rhode. Aries also competed in the Bound For Glory Series before being eliminated by Styles on September 12 at the Impact Wrestling: No Surrender event. On October 20 at the Bound for Glory pay-per-view, Aries competed in a Ultimate X match for the X-Division Championship but the match was won by Chris Sabin.
On the December 12 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries defeated Sabin to win the X-Division Championship for a third time. On the January 2, 2014 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries drop the X Division Championship back to Sabin. Three weeks later, on the January 23 special episode of Impact Wrestling:Genesis, Aries once again defeated Sabin to win the TNA X Division Championship for the fourth time. On the February 6 episode of Impact Wrestling, Aries successfully defended his X Division Championship against Zema Ion, who cashed in his Feast or Fired briefcase. Three weeks later, on the February 27 episode of Impact Wrestling, served as the special guest referee in a match between Bobby Roode and M.V.P.. Aries attacked MVP, allowing Roode to win the match, turning heel once again. On March 2, Aries lost the X Division Championship to Seiya Sanada at Wrestle-1's Kaisen: Outbreak event in Tokyo, Japan. On the May 22nd edition of Impact, Aries helped Eric Young against MVP, Bobby Lashley, and Kenny King but was attacked by the trio, turning face once again. On June 15, 2014 at Slammiversary, Aries faced Kenny King in a one-on-one match to determine one of the challengers for Eric Young's world title later in the night. Aries would defeat King and advance to the main event match for the TNA World Championship, in which he lost by pinfall to the retaining champion Eric Young.
At the June 20 Impact Wrestling taping, Aries won back the X Division Championship from Sanada for his fifth reign. A mere five days after regaining the championship, Aries chose to invoke "Option C" to vacate the championship for a title shot at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship at Destination X on June 26, where he lost to the champion Lashley. On January 7, 2015 Aries would defeat Low Ki to regain the X Division Championship for the 6th time on the debut edition of Impact Wrestling on Destination America. Low Ki would recapture the title during the January 16 Impact Wrestling taping after interference from Beat Down Clan.
That same night, during the January 23 Impact Wrestling taping Aries would win the annual Feast or Fired affording him an opportunity at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Throughout February and March, Aries would continue to feud with the Beat Down Clan with Low Ki stealing Aries briefcase after a match with Samoa Joe, with Aries eventually taking it back. Aries would also reform The Dirty Heels with Bobby Roode, with the two challenging The Wolves to a best of 5 series for the Tag Team Titles. The Wolves would win the first two matches and Aries and Roode won the third. At Destination X Aries would cash in his Feast or Fired briefcase for an opportunity at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship on Kurt Angle however Angle would retain the championship.
There's been a lot of speculation about Austin Aries leaving TNA as his contract reportedly expires with on June 28, 2015 Slammiversary XIII pay-per-view and now we know he is on his way out.
At June 27, 2015 Impact Wrestling tapings in Orlando, Aries wrestled his final match with the company, at least for now, against Rockstar Spud and lost. The stipulation was that if Aries won, he got to take the "Rockstar" from Spud's name but if Spud won, Aries had to leave TNA.
2nd Return to Ring of Honor
On July 6 Aries made his return to Ring of Honor. Aries was then announced as the replacement for Roderick Strong in the Vegas Wild Card 6-man tag match on July 17 alongside Moose and Undisputed ROH World and Television Champion Jay Lethal against Jay Briscoe, Dalton Castle and Kyle O'Reilly.
On January 22, 2016, Aries debuted in WWE's developmental branch, NXT, during the February and March tapings, after being introduced by General Manager William Regal. He was then attacked by Baron Corbin before heading into the ring, setting a match between the two at NXT TakeOver: Dallas on April 1 which Aries won. On the May 25, 2016 episode of NXT Aries announced he wanted to compete against whoever wins the NXT Championship match at NXT TakeOver: The End but was interrupted by Shinsuke Nakamura who claimed he also deserved a shot at the NXT Championship; this made General Manager Willian Regal come out and announce that Shinsuke Nakamura and Austin Aries would face each other on June 8 at NXT TakeOver: The End; this match was won by Nakamura. After his loss to Nakamura, Aries was cheered up by No Way Jose backstage, who told Aries that wrestling was about fun. On the June 22 episode of NXT Aries went to the ring after No Way Jose had a match and thanked him for the message Jose gave him after he lost to Nakamura and the two started dancing as part of No Way Jose's party dancer gimmick, but Aries surprise attacked Jose, turning heel in the process. This generated a match between the two at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II on August 20, which Aries won. Aries announced his participation in the second annual Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament alongside a mystery partner. His partner ended up being the debuting Roderick Strong, whit whom he advanced to the next round after defeating the team of Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight. Strong and Aries were eliminated of the tournament after Aries broke his eye socket in a match against Shinsuke Nakamura in a house show and was not able to compete.
Color commentator (2016–2017)
On the premiere episode of 205 Live, Aries making his appearance as a color commentator, along with Corey Graves and Mauro Ranallo. Aries also making his appearance to call the Cruiserweight division matches on Raw and since Roadblock: End of the Line, and calls every matches on Main Event on December 20, 2016, along with Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton.
On July 7, WWE announced through their official website that Aries had been released from his contract.
He is engaged to professional wrestler Thea Trinidad. He is also a vegan and wrote a book called "Food Fight: My plant-powered journey from the bingo halls to the big time".
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- Sidewalk Slam
- Death Valley Driver
- Fish Hook of Doom
- Forward Russian Leg Sweep
- Frog Splash
- Macho Neck Snap
- Discus Elbow Smash
- Crucifix Bomb
- Heat Seeking Missile
- Scissored Armbar
- Rolling Fireman's Carry Slam
- Shin Breaker followed by a Leg-hook Saito Suplex
- No-handed Springboard Moonsault
- Pendulum Elbow
- Slow Motion Special
- Slingshot Back Elbow to a Cornered Opponent
- Slingshot Corkscrew Splash
- Powerdrive Elbow
- Japanese Arm Drag
- Inverted Suplex Slam
- Figure Eight Leglock
- Head Stand into a Dropkick
- Tag teams and stables
- "The Truth"
- "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived"
- Entrance themes
- "Born Of A Broken Man" by Rage Against The Machine (FIP, IWA MS, PWG, ROH)
- "Devil Ride" by Phil Garrod, Reed Hays & Scott P. Schreer (ROH)
- "Fire It Up" by Black Label Society (ROH)
- "From This Day" by Machine Head (IWA MS)
- "Obsession" by Animotion (FIP)
- "Personal Jesus" by Marilyn Manson (FIP, ROH)
- "Personal Jesus" by Gravity Kills (FIP)
- "Raging Of The Region" by Dale Oliver (TNA)
- "Ambition and Vision" by CFO$ (WWE)
Championships and accomplishments
- Ring of Honor
- Total Nonstop Action Wrestling