Austin Aries joined Doug Mortman and Dave lagreca on SiriusXM’s Busted Open. You can hear Busted Open on Sports Zone; Sirius 92, XM 208 and on the app. Here is the link of the video of this interview:
Difference a year makes:
It kind of just snowballed. I was given opportunities obviously I felt I took advantage of them. The people with the company agreed with me and I kept getting bigger opportunities which obviously cumulated in Bound for Glory with Jeff Hardy and winning the World Heavyweight Championship. Before that I was excited for the momentum I had and for whatever reason it came to a halt and now I’m trying to rebuild that and I think I’m slowly doing that and hopefully in a year from now, we are talking about me in the main event at Bound for Glory once again as World Heavyweight Champion.
The buzz behind TNA fading:
I know why it’s gone and I’ll keep that to myself. I don’t control those decisions, all I can control is what’s in front of me and I feel whatever you put on my tee, I’m going to knock out of the park. I’ve always felt that way and the decisions that are made and what’s going to happen creatively that’s above my pay grade as they say and quite frankly, it’s not something that I want to stress myself out too much because I’m a passionate guy, I’m an opinionated guy. I love the industry and I’ve followed it ever since I can remember and I got to control the things that I can control and that’s usually with a microphone in my hand and when I step in between the ropes.
Turnover in the TNA locker room:
You look at it two ways. Some people look at the turnover and the releases and they put a negative connotation on it but I think in any business and especially in the sports world, you need to keep that middle ground fresh and in wrestling, it’s the same way. You give guys opportunities, some guys run with the brass ring and some don’t but you can’t stagnant with that, you need turnover because it keeps that fire lit under everybody, keeps everyone performing to the best of their abilities, no one gets comfortable, you don’t want anybody getting comfortable and going to work and collecting a paycheck. You want to keep people on their toes and I don’t think the turnover is a bad thing. It gives new guys opportunities, it keeps fresh faces for the fans and they don’t get sick with the same old, same old and that’s a successful recipe for any business.
The feeling in the TNA locker room:
I think it’s the same as it’s always been. I’m sure it’s like here when you guys come in and you got a great feeling in things and other weeks, your down about this, that and the other but overall, I haven’t seen a huge change in the locker room. I think we all understand what the company is structured like, why things happen and again, I think a lot of the guys take the same approach I do on let’s focus on what we can do and make the best of what we are given.
Being a leader, professional, company guy and helping the X-Division:
I wouldn’t define and say I’m back in the X-Division per say. Right now, I started a little something with Chris Sabin and interjected with him, a little banter back and forth and we will see where that progresses to. I do think I have always been a company guy and I think that my passion and outspokenness can be misconstrued. I never been a selfish performer, I’m always coming up with the best ideas for the company to succeed. It’s never really been about myself and I’ve always prided myself on where ever you need to slot me in on the card, I can do that. If you need me to get the card off on a good start, I can do that. Opening the night out, I can do that. You need to give me a thirty minute, main event caliber match, I can do that. You need to put me in the tag (team) division, I can do that. You need me to go into the X-Division, I can do that. I think that was something that was important to me since I broke in; I never wanted to be pigeon holed as just this and just that. I want to be well-rounded and versatile as I can because that just means you are much more valuable to whatever company you work for.
.Bring reality to wrestling:
I’ve always said that the best pro wrestling is from when you pull from reality the most you can. The more authentic you can make it, the more tied to reality it is, the more people grab on to it. I think that’s the reason why people have gravitated to my character over the years, there’s an authenticity to it. I’m not putting too much of an act, I might be turning up the dial one way or the other but I am who I am and that comes out in my character when I’m on screen. As the fans get smarter or think they are getting smarter, we have to find ways to keep them on their toes, off balance and keep them guessing because that’s the name of the game and that’s where the drama comes in.
Crowd reaction during Bound for Glory:
Absolutely not! I told the powers to be that’s exactly how it would be whether or not I kicked Jeff Hardy in the balls a week before, they disagreed with me and well, I was right and they were wrong and I have a job there and they don’t. Something too that I didn’t make public at the time was for about four or five months before that and year after that I was dealing with an annular tear in my lower back and a bulge in the herniated disc in my back so I was battling through a lot of injuries so from a personal standpoint, I was taking a lot of pride in my performance cause the pain I was dealing with to perform at that level but when you have those limitations and create that kind of atmosphere and put on that performance, its satisfying and that’s not to say that we all don’t do it at some point in our careers, Jeff (Hardy) has done it at some point of his career, he’ll do it again, I’ll do it again, it’s part of the game. I think one place where wrestling is progressing and needs to progress is that in life, there is not clear cut bad guys and good guys. Everybody is a shade of gray and we can talk about “Sons of Anarchy”, well whose a good guy and whose a bad guy, it’s a shade of gray and I think as long as you have strong, authentic characters people are going to gravitate to the characters that they can relate to and Jeff Hardy is a strong, authentic character and he’s got his fan base and they are very loyal to him and I think I am the same way and I was trying to express that you can’t just change that overnight. People that have followed me over a long time, they feel a passion and a loyalty to me and my character and the same way with Jeff (Hardy)and why turn one whole side against the other, it’s just not going to happen. It’s better off just playing against each other and everything is a shade of gray. Sometimes you wake up and you’re a better person then others, some days you’re in an ornery mood, you walk around with piss and vinegar, and other days you’re in a great mood. I think wrestling should dictate real life and that’s how it is. It’s also who I am interacting with because there are guys like Jeff Hardy, he is universally loved and he is one of the last true good guy and baby face who the people just take to. When I interact with him, it might seem like I’m being more of a dick for lack of a better term. If I’m dealing with Bobby Roode, who is kind of a dick himself, now they are looking at me and saying: “Maybe I like this Aries guy a little more” and that’s where the dynamics of the characters coming in. That’s why when you have strong, authentic characters, it’s how the characters and the dynamics of those different characters and not everybody is going to be playing the same role or being taken the same way every time. Every time I have got in to the ring with Jeff (Hardy ), I’ve always enjoyed it. He’s so unique, one of a kind, we meshed together well and our chemistry just happened to click. To be quite honest, our styles out of the ring, I think we are a like-minded then people realize as far as articulacy and mindset. I’m a little out there; I view the world in a whole different shade then most people.
The possibility of Hulk Hogan and AJ Styles leaving TNA:
The tight knit group of wrestling fans that know the information, it might get them excited because they actually know it’s behind the scenes legitimate. I think to the casual fans, it’s lost to them because they do not follow it that closely and that’s not why they watch the product necessarily. The thing that we all have to be mindful with the performers that are out there, we don’t want to be too smart for our audience. We are a lot more plugged in and tuned to those behind the scene things but the vast majority of them are not. Sometime we can outsmart ourselves with the things that we can do out there.
The Bound for Glory series taking away from feuds:
It didn’t turn out good because I didn’t win it. I think the concept has a lot of potential. The Bound for Glory series could provide match ups that you wouldn’t normally see because its guys who would never be feuding and I think for me; it gets drawn out a little too long and also can be streamlined. This is a personal preference if you are going to put up twenty points for some battle royal match or gauntlet match, it defeats the purpose because these should be one-on-one singles matches with a fifteen minute time limits because that’s what this is about. I’m not going to challenge for the World’s Heavyweight Championship in a battle royal and in some ways, it cheats the fans because for those fans who were really invested in it and they thought that this was the last night to see who advances now: “Oh hey, next week we are going to throw another gauntlet match for twenty points”, it’s kind of insult and I can understand as a fan, why at the time, I would tune out. I think it has a lot of potential but I understand there are a lot of moving parts and a lot of factors behind the scenes that had to be changed or maneuvered around and that’s the part that the fans do not understand. The necessities of the life that need to be done and if I was in the position to give suggestions, I think I would bring the competitors down to eight, shorten it up and put a real importance on it and maybe a couple Impacts would be strictly Bound for Glory series matches that night. Maybe once a month it would be nothing but Bound for Glory series matches or the other thing that I heard thrown out there which is a good suggestion is make it more of a tournament style because people can follow tournaments and that’s an easy concept to understand and I think the points can’t get confusing. “Its this amount of points for a victory but for a submission it’s this amount of points but if he’s disqualified, it is this.” To the casual fan who is not that invested in this, it might go over their heads. I think the concept is great, it has a lot of potential and I think it’s a work in progress and every year, we are trying to make it better and listen to all suggestions and hope to progress on it. You want to keep away from the “Team Challenge Series” as much as possible.
The success of the past Ring of Honor stars:
I’ve said this for a long time that if you were able to succeed in Ring of Honor like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan and myself were all able to do and you learn how to get over no matter where you are, WWE is just another place where you can get over. It’s really that simple. Talent is talent and understanding the business and understanding what you need to do to have the people connect with you. That’s not something that you can necessarily teach. That’s something that you have or that you don’t and all of those guys have it and they had it back then and they will have it in ten years. That’s why you can’t judge a professional wrestler with a tape measure, it doesn’t work that way. I’ve been judged that way before and I’m sure I will again and those people all failed in their assessments of my talent and I’ll prove that every time I step out there.
TNA’s fan base being as rabid as ROH’s fan base:
I don’t know if that’s a successful direction to go, if it was then Ring of Honor would be in a lot better position than it is now. Reality is and the listeners do not like to hear this but the hardcore, tight knit wrestling community is just a small overall percentage piece of the pie and if you cater to that small slice, you’re missing out on the rest of the pie. I think the idea is to keep them invested and if you can get a buzz with that core of the fan base, it will resonant to the common fan. They are a very important part of our fan base, they are always going to be there, that’s really the backbone but you need to use them to help excite the common fans and you can’t cater to them because you’re probably going to lose a lot of the other people out there. It’s a slippery slope and you want to include as many people as you can in the entertainment value and for some people, its judging matches, star ratings, false finishes and all these kind of things and for other people it’s something completely different and we need to keep that in mind.
Christy Hemme situation:
That’s a difficult situation. I’m not going to say a whole lot about it but it was an unfortunate event. I’ll just say I was disappointed in the way things were handled in multiple levels and I think I will leave it at that for now.
Will TNA still be on the road a year from now?
I don’t know. I’m not in those meetings and I don’t make those decisions. I hope they are. I don’t make those financial logistics of it. I think there are things that we can definitely do that would help us be successful while on the road as far as promoting and advertising. I think there are things that we dropped on the ball on but again, I don’t get paid to make those decisions. If I did, I think we would be in a little bit of a better position right now.