Some of the creative decisions WWE made surrounding its cruiserweight division and 205 Live left Austin Aries scratching his head at times.
Appearing on the latest episode of Chris Jericho's Talk Is Jericho podcast, Aries said that when he was approached to be a part of 205 Live -- first as a commentator, and then as an in-ring competitor -- he relished the chance to help put a new WWE brand on the map.
"When you say, hey, we want to make this a brand, we want to market it and we're looking at you as one of the guys to help us do that, that's a great challenge for me. Give me that. I wish that I would've felt like that was really what the intention was," Aries said. "The frustrations that I had weren't necessarily with myself. It's frustrations we all have as performers and artists. We can only control so much of what we do and that can be frustrating at points. you go out there and you do the best with what you've been given, and as you know what you're given depends on where you are on the totem pole. And that leaves you with what you have to work with."
Aries, who challenged Neville for the Cruiserweight Title at WrestleMania, had three shots at the championship in pay-per-view matches and never successfully dethroned Neville. After that, Aries felt he didn't "have any worth anymore as a babyface" and needed to make a change -- whether it be turning heel, becoming a mouthpiece for someone else, or going back to NXT.
"I would have relished the opportunity to do what I think I do well, which is get under people's skin and have it shoved up my ass," Aries said.
Jericho asked Aries if any other cruiserweights stood out during Aries' time in WWE. Aries mentioned Rich Swann, Brian Kendrick, Mustafa Ali and Jack Gallagher specifically while also identifying the challenge of introducing an entire division of wrestlers to the WWE audience at once and expecting them to get over.
"The cool thing was there was a lot of diversity and there was and there are a lot of talented guys, characters from different backgrounds, but it does take time and you can't do 10 at once. And you need those couple of guys to help lift guys up," Aries said. "I figured that was my role. My role wasn't to be the dude. My role was to help the dude to help the next guys be the dude."
Aries left WWE in July, and told Jericho during the podcast he was released because the company had nothing for Aries creatively.