A few months ago, Shinsuke Nakamura exploded Austin Aries’ face with a kick. Since that injury (and subsequent surgery), Aries has been on the shelf, but his visibility has actually been raised, as he’s now a fixture on commentary during the cruiserweight matches on WWE Raw.
This past week, he got a chance to be at the center of an in-ring segment, as he tried to conduct an interview with Cruiserweight Champion Neville, but got increasingly frustrated as he kept getting interrupted by challengers to the title. As it turns out, that might have been the first step towards an Austin Aries match at WrestleMania 33.
According to the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Aries has been cleared to return to action, and WWE officials are considering having “The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived” be Neville’s challenger for the Cruiserweight Championship at the biggest show of the year on April 2. Dave Meltzer says this is not a “confirmed done idea,” but it’s being bandied about.
When Aries went down with his injury, he was teaming with Roderick Strong in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, and that team seemed to be what Aries would do to bide his time until Hideo Itami returned to NXT from his own injury. Now Itami has also been cleared for a return, but if these plans do indeed go down, Aries would possibly bypass NXT shenanigans altogether and become a fixture of the cruiserweight division instead.
The only sticking point would appear to be the alignment, as Aries has been a heel for some time now (and that’s what he’s best at), and Neville is also a heel. Still, it probably won’t be hard to get WWE fans to cheer Austin Aries, so we could see some creative booking coming up if WWE decides to pull the trigger on that match.