Austin Aries thinks it is much more feasible now to make a living as an independent wrestler than it was when he was making his name in the business.
Aries reflected on how the industry has changed during an interview on the latest episode of Chris Jericho's Talk Is Jericho podcast. Specifically, Aries was clarifying what he meant by a tweet he posted that stated he was going to make more money in six weeks of bookings than he did in his final four months in WWE before being released.
Aries said the following:
"That was not taking a shot or a knock at the WWE money or the job there, man. It's phenomenal. And the upside there is unlike anywhere else. But there's also something to be said for actually having control over how much money you can make and you don't always have that there. And the nice thing is, and this is really all I was speaking about, I've been a quote-unquote top name on the indies for most of my career and I know the money that wasn't or was there for you. It didn't matter how good your name was, how good you were in the ring, the money just wasn't there because the fans weren't coming up to pay it. So I know what the limits were and the caps were five years ago and 10 years ago to what a guy could go out and make on his own. When I look at the landscape now, man, it's all different and that's an awesome thing."
Aries, who made his wrestling debut in the latter part of 2000, was a fixture for promotions like Ring of Honor and PWG in the mid 2000s. He also appeared in well-regarded tournaments like the ECWA Super 8 and IWA-Mid South's Ted Petty Invitational. He made his WWE debut last year, ultimately making his way to the main roster as a commentator for 205 Live while recovering from an eye injury before transitioning back into an in-ring role and challenging Neville for the Cruiserweight Title at WrestleMania 33. He left WWE in July, and told Jericho during the podcast that he was released because he was told they had nothing for him creatively.
With several bookings scheduled before the end of 2017, Aries thinks that pro wrestling as a whole is on strong footing.
"It's awesome because I think that WWE's business is as healthy as ever, they're expanding into more and more international markets, they've got their own network, they're making ties within the industry, more people have jobs, that's a great thing. Outside of that, the pro wrestling scene is as vibrant and thriving as it's been since I started," Aries said, adding, "It's on an upswing man. Not just in the states but globally. Professional wrestling is becoming cool again because there is a market for adult-themed professional wrestling."