News of Austin Aries' WWE release came as a shock to the fans who watched him grow into the role of leading baby-face in the ailing cruiserweight division.
The former ROH star made his main roster bow earlier this year after a brief spell on NXT, and immediately found himself positioned opposite Neville for the feud that was supposed to elevate 205 Live, an after-thought since its inception last year. Their matches, including a pre-show curtain-raiser at WrestleMania 33, enthused many - but not, apparently, WWE management.
In some ways, Aries was always going to be a tricky client to satisfy - the 39-year-old, unlike many of his cruiserweight contemporaries, having already spent a career rising up the ranks - but to many, it will be disappointing to see him part ways with the company with so much potential left unexplored.
Whatever the circumstances of his departure (which will, in all likelihood, be brought to light in the coming weeks), Aries is now a free agent again - and that's great news for those who followed his stellar work on the independent scene.