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So Austin Aries' NXT debut can definitely be looked at as a surprise. When it was first announced on WWE.com weeks ago, it certainly lit up internet wrestling forums.
His debut coming as little more than a beatdown by an unhappy Baron Corbin sets an interesting narrative however. Corbin is the angry WWE trained giant aggravated by the independent talent constantly leap frogging him in NXT. "The Lone Wolf" has grown leaps and bounds since his days as a painfully over-pushed babyface and he literally towers over Aries. And while Austin Aries rarely works for long as a face, he has all the tools to be a great face talent.
And let's be honest: on NXT's roster, he pretty much has to be a face. Tiny heels are incredibly rare in NXT and WWE, and he will have to work from under a lot of giants.
Of course, Aries may have a bright spot in his near future. The Global Cruiserweight Series will debut later this year as a WWE Network exclusive series. Hired talents like Rich Swann, Christopher Girard and Manny (La Sombra) Andrade will almost certainly be key players on that program, with rumors that Andrade will be its focal point. But Aries will fit into the roster as an amazing wily veteran. It might be his only chance to turn heel in WWE.
I honestly have not a clue where Austin Aries will go in WWE. I could see him become a perennial NXT star with the secondary roster just being a much stronger fit for "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived". But if NXT has proven anything, it is that they are always willing to try something new and different. Austin Aries seems destined to follow up his TNA career in the biggest brand in the world.