TNA Star Austin Aries recently spoke with the Rack. Aries discussed the upcoming Lockdown PPV, his thoughts on MVP and the Wolves coming to TNA, the recent tour of the UK with TNA and Japan against Wrestle-1, losing the X-Division Title, where else in the world he’d love to wrestle, some of his memorable moments in TNA, the role social media plays on wrestling today, his budding music career, the strangest thing he got from a fan and so much more. Here are the highlights:
On MVP and the Wolves coming in and the recent changes made to TNA: “I think it’s important for any company to keep their product fresh and that really in any facet; whether you’re talking food companies or clothing lines or whatever it might be, in this case entertainment. You want to keep things fresh, you want to keep recycling and cultivating the product so that nothing gets stale. Right now, I think you’re seeing an influx of a lot of really good talent, some really talented people that all bring something to the table, so that’s exciting for the fans.”
If there’s anyone he’d would like to see possibly with TNA: “That’s an interesting question; there’s a lot of talented guys out there, you know, and I could probably list a handful but one guy that’s always stuck out to me that I felt was unique and I felt has always kind of been overlooked would be Jimmy Jacobs. He’s a guy who can play a number of different facets within a company and has been doing this for a long time, has a lot of passion for it. He doesn’t exactly fit the mold of an X-Division wrestler, per se, as far as his style in the ring, but reminds me of someone like a Kevin Sullivan, as an older wrestling fan, who brings a mental aspects into the wrestling business that is kind of not seen a lot anymore. I’ve always been a fan of him, obviously we’ve had some battles in the past so he’s a guy who jumped into my head.
Another guy is Roderick Strong, another guy I know very well and is a friend of mine. He’s just one of the hardest workers in the ring and if it were an opportunity he’d wanted, it certainly one he deserves.”
His involvement with Lethal Lockdown this weekend: “I’m going to be locked inside a steel cage; it’s going to be 4-on-4 and I’m aligned with Team Dixie. Bobby Roode is the team captain and the BroMans, the World Tag Team Champions, are our partners as well and we’ll be facing off against Team MVP and he’s got the Wolves along with a returning Jeff Hardy. There’s a lot at stake; there’s been a power struggle within the company between Dixie and MVP and the stakes are that winner gets operations of the company.
A lot of people are a bit surprised or disappointed by my decision to align myself with Team Dixie but I put out a tweet shortly after that happened that I’m not really on Team Dixie or Team MVP, I’m on Team Aries. I’m typically a guy who goes out and does things for me and in this situation, for right now, and we’ll see how thing play out, but for right now I felt this was my best bet.
The reality was this: there were two sides where I couldn’t fully trust either side but at least the devil I know is on the right hand, and guys I’ve worked with, like Bobby Roode who have a lot of history in this company. Again, things will play out the way their supposed to play out and then we’ll make decisions after that.”
The recent overseas trips to Europe and Japan: “Sometimes this can really be the grind; physically and mentally exhausting with the travel schedule that we do keep, but we are so thankful we get to do something we love for a living. They say you if you can find something you love to do for a living, you never work a day in your life. But no matter how much love and passion you have for it, sometimes the schedule is difficult and it can take a toll on you; that UK Tour especially. We were doing television every day, putting in 12 to 15 hour days and then traveling to the next town and working off of 3 or 4 hours sleep and that was for a week. By the end, it catches up to you but the flip side is you have a bunch of really passionate fans who are waiting a whole year to see us and they bring the energy and trust me, we feed of that and we definitely needed to feed off some of that towards the end of that trip. I know all the guys appreciate the energy that those fans bring and the passion they bring it’s our job to give that back to them.
When you’re out there in front of a crowd and can feel the electricity that they’re bringing, it makes everyone want to step their game up and make sure we can give them every penny’s worth. I think we were all excited because we were doing something historic and we were doing it in front of one of our strongest fan bases globally. This is a global company; many people sometimes get caught up on the Neilsen ratings here in the US and they kind of forget we’re being shown in over 100 countries throughout the world. We’re a global company with a huge fan base and that was a testament to the other markets outside the US and with the successful trip we just took to Japan and the relationship we forged there, we’re just going to expand globally and that’s something important for TNA fans to remember\.”
The role of social media on both wrestling and his personal life: “I think it’s a balance there. I think more than just furthering storylines you see on television; I think it’s an opportunity for us as performers to add more depth to who we are. I know that’s how I use mine. I have personal interests outside of wrestling. Obviously, I follow plant-based lifestyle; I’m very much into food advocacy and healthy lifestyles. I’m into making music; things like that. So, I like to use my Twitter for opportunities for the fans to see another side of me they’re not going to be able to see on Spike Television.
I’m not a big proponent of using it to further storylines, per se; I think it’s fake and in some ways I think and can insult fan’s intelligence. We want them to tune in on Thursdays from 8-10 and suspend their disbeliefs and get into the show. But, I look at my Twitter as my personal social media and that’s an opportunity for people to get to know Austin Aries and get to know the more about the person and the depth I have as a character and as a person in general. That’s how I use it, and I think there’s a value to that too; it allows fans to get more invested in people, to gravitate to people that they can connect with and that’s really hard. We’ve only got two hours a week and a roster full of talented people, and it’s impossible to give them all the time they deserve to do that, so this is a tool that we can all use to do that for ourselves outside of the television show.”