TNA standout Austin Aries recently chatted things up with Fred Richani from the Sports Courier. During the interview they discussed many topics that ranged from almost retiring to AJ Styles future, Here are some highlights for you to check out.
Wrestling in the X-Division:"I'm competing for a championship. Me and Chris Sabin are going back and forth with that. Again, wherever I can fit in with the Impact roster, wherever I can be an asset, I'm happy to do it. Of course, I feel that I'm a guy who can carry the World Heavyweight Championship. I've done it before. I'd like to do it again, but right now I've got my hands kind of full with Chris Sabin. He's kind of been in a similar position [to what] I've been within the company. We're going at it, and maybe we'll both raise each other's game up to that level and as soon as I can maybe move beyond him, I'll start setting my sights on whoever's got the World Heavyweight Championship."
Almost retiring from wrestling in 2011:"Yeah, you know, just transitioning, thinking about things to do with my life. Sometimes they say if you're in something too close for too long you have to take a step back and get a bigger, a better perspective of it. So, I just felt at maybe that time, taking a step back from wrestling and just focusing elsewhere was good for me on a personal level. But, you know, fate intervened and TNA gave me a call and said come on down for this X Division showcase we're doing. We're having basically a tournament of sorts to see who's going to get a contract. I felt it was an opportunity to definitely take advantage of and I did."
TNA Impact Wrestling success:"I live a mile from Clearwater Beach, so I get down there. I get to sit back and reflect a lot and just think about stuff. My brain's always motoring, so I'm always thinking. And I've definitely reflected on how grateful I am and what an opportunity that came in front of me at the right time in my life for me to take advantage of it. I'm very thankful for that and that being said, I'm not satisfied and I have more things I want to accomplish within the wrestling world, outside of the wrestling world. But absolutely, it's always important to me. I'm a very passionate guy and my emotions can sometimes get the best of me. So it's important for me to step back and be thankful for everything that's in front of me right now."
Hardest guy to get up for the Brainbuster: Joey Ryan. I don't know, maybe it's something with the chest hair, or the mustache maybe. I don't know. He's got something in his boots. Rocks? I don't know. [Richani: I would have thought one of those Aces & Eights guys.] The masked guy who ended up being Knux? No, man. He uh, I don't know. I think just maybe center of gravity thing, he was actually pretty easy to hoist up there. But, man, I remember almost throwing my back out when I gave it to Joey Ryan."
Will the WWE Network hurt or help wrestling:"I don't see how it could be negative. I think it's more of an indication of the way television is going in general. It's starting to transition, and you see people are watching television as much on their computers and through the Internet as they are on typical cable. So, the medium's changing and transforming. I think WWE is just trying to stay ahead of the curve and time will tell how successful it is. But, if anything, I think it's going to open up a lot more opportunities for other programming, other types of shows, other spinoffs. You understand, a lot of professional wrestlers are talented guys outside of just a ring and a microphone, and this will give some opportunities to guys to sort of branch out and do other things that will be entertaining and help do that. Again, just more opportunities for guys to make money."
Dream opponent:"Oh, man. There's a long list. I can never narrow it down to one. You can talk about guys I grew up watching who I would have loved to get into the ring with. I always told Hulk if you got one more in you, I'll make you look great. [laughter] I would have loved to get in there with Eddie Guerrero and had that opportunity, or even to team with him would have been awesome. I love tag wrestling and I think that's an art all and of itself. It's a whole different dynamic. Yeah, I don't even want to name one because I'd be leaving out a hundred others. I always usually answer this question with whoever I'd be facing, I just want Bobby Heenan in my corner as my manager because then I'm doing alright.”
Hulk Hogan giving him an endorsement:"You take everything with a grain of salt with the Hulkster. I've had a chance to get to know him a little bit and chat with him. The one thing about the Hulk is that he loves wrestling. He's dedicated his whole life to it, but even at this point in his career, after everything he's done, everywhere he's been, and the things he's seen, he still watches. He watches as a fan, and that's pretty cool, I think, to still have that part of wrestling in you after all that time.
"So yeah, your seven year old self is sitting there kind of going really? Hulk Hogan's raising your arm and telling everybody how great you are. If I would have told me seven year old self that, he would have called bulls***. It was obviously, getting to work with guys like Hulk Hogan, getting in the ring and wrestling with Sting, those are some things that I'll always remember. Kurt Angle, another guy, pleasure to get in there with because, you know, Kurt Angle's still a guy that's a test. You have to get in there and you have to bring your A game. Luckily for me, I have an A double game."
Does he think AJ Styles will return:"From a wrestling standpoint, I'd love to have a guy like AJ Styles within the company to wrestle. I think the fans would, too. There was a tease of what could have been, but I don't think anybody saw what me and AJ Styles could do in there. On a personal level, I want AJ Styles to do whatever is best for him and his family, and if that's coming back to TNA that would be awesome. If that's working elsewhere, I completely understand that. If that will happen, I have no idea. I guess we'll find out. We all have to stay tuned and see what happens."