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Austin Aries

Austin Aries
-courtesy TNAwrestling.com

REAL NAME: Dan Solwold
5' 9", 202 pounds
BORN: April 15, 1978 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
NICKNAMES: Dan "Casual" Sexon

Austin Aries may be on a campaign for more respect in TNA, but anyone who has followed his career through the smaller independents through Ring of Honor and into TNA's X Division has already granted him that.

Born Dan Solwold in Milwaukee, Aries grew up watching pro wrestling, especially the AWA. At the age of 22, Solwold was playing baseball in college when a friend of his told him about the wrestling camp he was attending in Minnesota. After checking out the camp, Solwold decided to pursue a career in wrestling and, after being trained by Ed Sharkey and Terry Fox, made his debut on November 24, 2000 by defeating Sheriff Johnny Emerald.

Aries continued to work his way through the smaller independents, wrestling for Minnesota Independent Wrestling where he won the MIW Cruiserweight Championship and Steel Domain Wrestling where, as as Dan "Casual" Sexon, he teamed with Big Hoofer Daddy, to win the Steel Domain Tag Team titles.

In one of the biggest nights of his early career, Aries defeated Angel Armoni, Shawn Daivari and Dysfunction in a one-night tournament on August 18, 2002 to win the Neo Pro Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship. Despite his success in Neo Pro Wrestling, Aries continued to work for Steel Domain Wrestling and Minnesota Independent Wrestling, where he would face Shawn Daivari, Lenny Lane and his former Tag Team Championship partner, Big Hoofer Daddy.

The Aries/Daivari series of matches spanned several months over the course of 2002-03 and more than a few indy organizations, including the Mid-American Wrestling 10th Anniversary show (April 2003), Wisconsin Organized Wrestling and Revolution Championship Wrestling.

Aries would make his NWA-TNA debut on August 13, 2003, when he lost to Mad Mikey (Crash Holly) in a match taped for TNA Xplosion.

In addition to his series against Daivari, Aries also gained some more recognition and became a bigger blip on wrestling's radar with his appearance at th ECWA Super 8 tournament in Aprl 2004. Aries defeated Daivari and John Walters before losing to Christopher Daniels in the finals.

After some time in IWA Mid-South, where he faced Michael Shane, the Amazing Red, and Matt Sydal among others, Austin Aries began competing for Ring of Honor. In May, Aries teamed with Roderick Strong and Jack Evans to form the Alex Shelly-led faction of "Generation Next". Generation Next feuded with the Second City Saints (whose members included C.M. Punk, Colt Cabana and Ace Steele.

Aries remained with Generation Next and ROH for the spring and summer of 2004, although he returned to IWA Mid-South in the fall to battle ROH foes Samoa Joe and Ace Steele as well as IWA Heavyweight Champion Arik Cannon.

Returning to ROH in the winter of 2004, Aries found Generation Next disintegrating, as he and Roderick Strong turned on Alex Shelly. But in the biggest news of all, Aries defeated Samoa Joe in Philadelphia, PA to unseat him as Ring of Honor Champion on December 26, 2004.

As ROH Champion, Austin Aries had been transformed from the hunter to the hunted. He defended the championship against former Champion Samoa Joe as well as Colt Cabana, Homicide, American Dragon, Alex Shelly, James Gibson and Kevin Steen. In March of 2005, Aries even travelled to Europe to defend the title in Austria and Switzerland during Rings of Europe cards.

Back in North America, Aries put the ROH belt up for grabs on various independent shows for such organizations as UWA Hardcore Wrestling, Far North Wrestling and Pro Wrestling War. On May 15th, Aries defeated Ricky Marvin and Super Crazy on a show in Tulancingo, Mexico to retain the title.

As well as being the organization's champion, Aries became Ring of Honor's top trainer in June 2005. Later that month, Aries suffered a defeat at the hands of Low Ki but because the bout was unsanctioned, Aries remained the champion. He was not so lucky on June 18th, when C.M. Punk defeated Aries for the Ring of Honor Championship.

Later that summer, Aries and Roderick Strong, members of Generation Next, turned face after Alex Shelly left the stable and joined the Embassy. Things began to look up even more on August 14th, when Aries was voted as the opponent for TNA X-Division Champion Christopher Daniels in a non-title match at Sacrifice.

Aries lost the match and returned to Ring of Honor, to team with Roderick Strong against the Embassy. Ironically, Aries would face Strong at TNA's Unbreakable pay-per-view in September.

Aries split time that fall and winter between Ring of Honor, NWA-TNA and various indy promotions. Aries and Strong battled the Embassy in ROH, he competed in the X Division in TNA and wrestled quite a few dates for Full Impact Pro. On December 17th, 2005 Aries and Strong took a break from their feud with the Embassy to defeat Sal Rinauro and Tony Mamaluke for the Ring of Honor Tag Team titles.

Meanwhile, in TNA, Aries, Strong and Alex Shelly joined together in an effort to get more respect within the organization and make some noise in the X Division, hassling TNA officials Jerry Lynn and Larry Zbyszko. The trio has managed to gain victories over the teams of A.J. Styles, Christopher Daniels and Chris Sabin and, at Final Resolution, the team of Sabin, Sonjay Dutt and Matt Bentley.

While retaining the ROH tag titles, Aries and Strong competed in the TNA #1 Contender's tournament, knocking off former NWA Tag Team champions the Naturals before losing to the combination of Sabin/Dutt. (The Naturals avenged the loss at Against All Odds.

Despite several injuries (a knee buckling at Against All Oddds, a broken toe), Aries has continued to remain active in Ring of Honor, TNA and various independent organizations, including Wisconsin Organized Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling and 1 Pro Wrestling.

--- compiled by John M. Milner

AUSTIN ARIES STORIES

  • Oct. 19, 2013: X marks Austin Aries' spot at Bound For Glory
  • July 5, 2012: Austin Aries chooses a new Destination
  • July 24, 2009: Time flies for ROH champ Austin Aries
  • January 5, 2005: Signs point to success for Aries


    Visit the SLAM! Wrestling store!


    Lots of Austin Aries to choose from!
  • ROH: Final Battle 2004 DVD
  • ROH: Generation Next DVD
  • Best of Indys 2004 Volume 1 DVD-R