With Thanksgiving officially behind us, 2012 is quickly coming to a close. It’s been a great year for wrestling fans, as WWE, TNA, and more have both done some excellent things in the past 12 months.
We have had the chance to see stars return, debut, and emerge, making the past calendar year a truly memorable one. One of these stars to emerge is Austin Aries, as he soared to the top of Impact wrestling.
But Aries wasn’t always at the top of the TNA Mountain, which is what makes 2012 such an intriguing year for the self-professed “Greatest Man To Ever Live”. But to truly be able to look back at the past year for Aries, we have to first look back at what he was before his recent successes in the Impact Zone.
While his current run with the company began in June 2011, Aries first appeared in TNA in 2005 in a match against Christopher Daniels, then the X Division Champion. After being voted into the match by fans, Aries went on to sign a contract with TNA, quickly forming a group with former Generation Next members Alex Shelley and Roderick Strong.
Sadly, the group failed to take off, as Aries was suspended for two months alongside Strong after arriving 4 hours late Against All Odds in 2006.
However, Aries was far from done with TNA, as he aligned himself with Kevin Nash’s Paparazzi Productions upon his return under the name of Austin Starr, much to the chagrin of Alex Shelley. Aries and Shelley would eventually face off in the final of Paparazzi Champions Series, losing the match at Final Resolution.
It wasn’t long before Aries found himself in backstage trouble again though, as he would be suspended after a misunderstanding regarding a taped promo. During this suspension, Aries would be granted his release from the company. It looked like fans may never have the chance to watch A Double rise to prominence in Impact Wrestling.
Luckily, Aries would return in 2011, winning the X Division Showcase tournament, gaining a contract with TNA once again. It looked like Aries was back for good this time around.
Aries quickly entered a feud with fellow X Division standout and former nemesis Alex Shelley, costing him a shot at the X Division title. Aries worked his A Double character throughout the feud, with Shelley being the face.
The duo would eventually take their feud to Hardcore Justice, where they competed in a triple threat match against Brian Kendrick for the X Division title. While neither man would win the prestigious belt, Aries was officially on a roll in TNA, becoming a mainstay of the program.
Just weeks after his failure to win his first ever TNA belt, Aries would get another chance to challenge Kendrick, winning an 8-man gauntlet match for the #1 Contender spot.
Aries would make the most of his chance, beating Kendrick at No Surrender to gain his first ever X Division Championship, thus beginning one of the most successful reigns in X Division history.
For the rest of 2011, Aries ran wild through the X Division, retaining his belt against the likes of Alex Shelley, Zema Ion, Kid Kash, and Jesse Sorrenson.
It seemed as if very few things could slow down “The Greatest Man To Ever Live” as 2011 came to a close, and fans were eager to see what 2012 had in store for Austin Aries, with many predicting even more success for him.
Aries began 2012 as a dominant X Division Champion, with his first title defense being against Jesse Sorrenson, Zema Ion, and Kid Kash at Genesis. In what was a very competitive match up with some awesome spots in it, Aries retained his belt, kicking off the New Year in impressive fashion.
Aries next went to war with longtime rival Alex Shelley at Turning Point. Not surprisingly, the duo put on a great match, as they have always had excellent chemistry in the ring. Once again though, Aries found a way to retain his belt, this time utilizing his submission maneuver Last Chancery to force Shelley to tap out.
By retaining his belt once again, Aries would become the longest reigning X Division Champion in TNA’s 10 year history, surpassing former champions such as AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, and Samoa Joe.
By this point, A Double was one of the most entertaining parts of Impact, cutting excellent heel promo’s and putting on consistently great matches. In fact he was so entertaining, fans began to cheer for the heel Aries rather than boo him, and it seemed like a face turn was just around the corner for the X Division champ.
This turn would occur on Impact in March, as Aries entered a feud with Bully Ray. The feud between the two would be carried into Lockdown, where they fought on opposite teams of the Lethal Lockdown match, with Aries fighting on Garret Bischoffs team and Bully fighting on Eric Bischoffs side. The feud would eventually have its payoff at Sacrifice, where Aries forced the bigger man to submit to the Last Chancery.
Following his entertaining program with Bully, Aries next feud would be with Samoa Joe, which started when Joe cost the champion a match with the then undefeated Crimson. The two would eventually have a match for the X Division Title at Slammiversery X, where they kicked off the show in extraordinary fashion. Aries once again stole the show, picking up the victory and retaining his title in the process.
With the Destination X PPV looming, Austin Aries was absolutely on fire, and it seemed like he could only go up from where he was as the X Division champ. Little did we know, A Double would quickly fly to the top of TNA, in the process becoming one of the faces of the promotion.
Following his Slammiversery match with Samoa Joe, Aries would come out and say he was no longer content with just the X Division Championship, stating he wanted to fight Bobby Roode for the World Title. Impact GM Hulk Hogan obliged, giving him the match as long as Aries dropped the title. Aries agreed to the stipulation, but added one of his own. This stipulation was that in the future, the X Division title holder would be able to cash in his title for a shot at the World Championship at the Destination X PPV, ensuring that one of the most prestigious titles in TNA would remain relevant.
With Aries dropping his title, his record long reign as champion would end at 298 days, but as one door closes, another opens.
Aries was now officially the #1 Contender for the World Champion, and would be meeting Bobby Roode for the title at Destination X. Finally, Austin Aries may finally be able to reach the stardom that his skill set deserved.
Aries and Roode would put on one of the best match 2012 has seen, as the two went back and forth, delivering several punishing maneuvers time and time again.
Finally, after a brutal match, A Double finally won the World Heavyweight Championship from Bobby Roode, in the process making Aries one of the faces of TNA and Impact wrestling.
While Aries would eventually drop the title to Jeff Hardy at Bound For Glory, he has continued to main event the show, as he continues to feud with Hardy.
Austin Aries began 2012 as a strong X Division Champion, and since then has only had more accomplishments. He became the longest reigning X Division Champion, which may have been enough to make him a breakout star, but Aries wasn’t done there. He would go on to become a TNA World Champion, main eventing the biggest TNA show of the year while he was champion.
While Aries is the biggest breakout star of the year, there is no doubt there have been others, and my opponents choice is one of those stars.
Both men have certainly become major pieces of pro wrestling, but Aries started the year in the mid-card and has since become a face of his promotion while my opponent’s choice began 2012 already in the main event and has actually dropped off a bit into the Tag Team Division.
While he was hugely popular for a while, my opponents breakout star’s popularity has since dropped off a bit, and in my opinion has actually become quite repetitive.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day, vote for me because I’m pretty cool