This Sunday at Bound for Glory, Austin Aries will participate in an Ultimate X Match against Chris Sabin, Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe and champion Manik. He took some time to sit down with us to discuss his career and his upcoming championship match.
Tell me about your start in the business. What made you want to go that route?
Back about 2000, I was going to college and trying to figure out my career path. A good friend of mine growing up told me he was going to try out to become a professional wrestler. It kind of blew my mind that you can just go train and become a wrestler. I had a bunch of questions, so I took the two hour drive to go check it out. I walked into Terry Fox’s garage; he and Eddie Sharkey were training guys. I saw the 16ft ring and kind of knew that what was I was going to do. I started working on a deal, and a few weeks later I was crashing with my buddy and I started training in the middle of 2000.
Were you a wrestling fan growing up? Or was this out of the blue?
No, I was a huge fan growing up. I think I saw my first match when I was about 4 years old. I watched some AWA and NWA growing up out in Milwaukee. And of course WWF was on as well. I always had a real passion for wrestling as well as all sports. I went off to college, and didn’t follow as closely. But that was during the Monday Night Wars, so everyone was into it at the time. I started back up following again. It came back into my life at the right time, and I knew that was the path I wanted to take.
Growing up, who were your idols?
Bobby Heenan is one of my favorites of all time. Even back in the AWA, I just always thought he was great. And obviously The Horsemen dominating as well as Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, Magnum T.A., The Midnight Express, and The Free Birds. Of course Jake Roberts and Rick Rude. Those are the guys I grew up watching and idolizing.
Tell me about your training. Where did you start, and how did you end up getting into
Ring of Honor?
Well, I trained in Terry’s garage 3 days a week, 4 or 5 hours a day. I did that for about 6 months before my first match. I just really submersed myself into the business 24/7 and really appreciated getting this opportunity. My life just revolved around it. I was so happy to have this opportunity. For about 3 or 4 years I worked the circuit. Then I did the Super 8 tournament out of Delaware that helps springboard people’s careers. And around that time, Ring of Honor was getting started and they reached out. I did a couple of shows for them. They then wanted me to be there on more of a full time basis, so I packed up my things and moved out to Baltimore for a short time then up to Philly to be more accessible.
Who is your all-time dream opponent?
I could give you 6 different answers, and none would be wrong. The first answer that comes to mind is Hulk Hogan in his prime because it means you are in the main event and making a lot of money. Same goes for Steve Austin and The Rock. It means you are at the top of the industry. Of course, Macho Man or Ric Flair would be amazing. I got in the ring with Sting recently which was a great honor and very special. No matter who I am wrestling, as long as Bobby Heenan is my manager, I’ll be happy.
Who is your favorite guy to work with in the ring?
I always mention Bobby Roode. We just click on a lot of different levels. We grew up appreciating the same type of wrestler and same type of wrestling. We are similar students to the game. We work together against each other or as a tag partner. Guys like Samoa Joe, no matter what it’s been, what promotion, every time we are in the ring there is such an easy storytelling and psychology in there. We always had good matchups. Matches with Brian Danielson (Daniel Bryan of WWE) have always brought the best out of me. We’ve had a number of clashes over the years. Those are some guys off the top of my head.
You had talked about being into other sports. What other sports do you follow, and what do you like to do in your spare time?
I grew up in Milwaukee, so obviously I’m a huge Packers fan. I follow all Milwaukee teams. I’m big into the Bucks and the Brewers. AS far as outside activities, I have a few musical projects going on. Sing in a few bands. I’m into cooking, and since I’ve been a vegetarian and vegan, I am very much into that lifestyle.
Tell me about your start in TNA?
This is my second go around in TNA, and I have had a great amount of success in my short time back. The starts sort of aligned for me there. And if you look at the roster, top to bottom, it is probably the most talented locker room in the industry right now. You have a lot of guys trying to get their break in the industry, plus legends like Sting and Angle. It is a great group. It is also as tight a locker room you are going to find in the business. There is a lot of commrodery in that room in a business where that is very hard to find at time.
Bound for Glory is coming up. Tell us about the Ultimate X Match for the title.
Bound for Glory is Impact Wrestling’s biggest event. It is out in San Diego, and it is a whole weekend event. Unfortunately, I find myself challenging for the X Division Championship in an Ultimate X Match. It is exactly the type of match I look forward to as well as the fans. But there is an extra element of danger, having to scale a 20ft rope to grab the belt where it is hanging over the ring. You have three former world champs (Aries, Chris Sabin, and Jeff Hardy), as well as the current X division champ, Manik, and we all bring a little something different to the table. Anything can happen, and it is an exciting match for the audience and you definitely get sweaty palms participating in it because of the dangers that come with The Ultimate X Match. Note: After the interview, Samoa Joe was added to the match.
Any messages for the TNA fans and fans of Austin Aries?
I like to spread manners! A please and a thank you go a long way, and they don’t cost anything. That is one message I always try to spread. Also be mindful of what you put in your body. We need to put more thought into what we eat and those directly contribute to other diseases and ailments that have stricken our country. Those are my public service announcements! Other than that, keep supporting TNA, Spike TV on Thursday Nights. Spread the word and get it out there to as many people you can to promote our great product.
Catch Austin Aries and other TNA Wrestling Superstars on Bound for Glory airing Sunday, October 20th at 8pm ET.