Exclusive Interview – Austin Aries: “To See What The Company’s Done Over the Last 12 Months, and To Be a Big Part of it, I Feel Pretty Good About”

The Belt Collector, The Bridge Builder, The Wrestling Ambassador. Over the last 9 months, Austin Aries has received many monikers that were all so true. But as of today, being Impact Wrestling World Champion may be the best compliment you could make to him, as “A-Double” is at the top of his game and at the pinnacle of Impact Wrestling. Thanks to his new acolytes Killer Kross and Moose, he has shown the world what it is to be the best, and most importantly how it works to stay so. 

SteelChair Magazine had the chance to talk to the Champion a few days before his upcoming match against Johnny Impact at Bound for Glory. He talked about his ride with Impact Wrestling, his BFG opponent, and why 40 seems to be the new 20 in the wrestling business.

Your tweets this weekend about Johnny Impact and his wife Taya Valkyrie created a stir over the Internet and social media. Do you want to say something about it?

What else to say? People reacted and responded exactly the way I said they would. They thought they made some point. You made a personal comment towards me, I found the fact out there in that nowadays society, everybody gets so outraged over making fun of people, telling people they’re less than nothing because of their wage, because of their sexual orientation, because of their race, all these things. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, I personally grew up during the time where with sticks and stones may break your bones but names will never hurt you. That’s no longer the world we live in. Now works trust your soul. But the point I was making is when it comes to height, that’s the one works, it’s still okay, like feelings don’t matter. They’re there, it’s just funny. I was trying to make the point and I made my point and people started throwing a bunch of insults at me because they got upset about the words I used and they really read the context out of what the message was saying. From Johnny’s standpoint, you only have one place where you can go to attack me, where you got to go to my height, that’s cool man, I’ve only been hearing that for the last 25 years. And to show what? You made your comment back, you were left a little upset about it. We’ll move on with our show, on Sunday we’ll take care of this.

You’ve been back on Impact Wrestling for nine months now. Do you feel you made the right choice and feel fine in the company right now?

I have no reason not to feel fine, I’m the Champion, I’m running the show and I’ve got two of the biggest guys with the most upside potential in the company standing right next to me. If you look at the landscape of the company as a whole, it’s a really good place, we’ve got some exciting talents. You’ve got some guys there who have been considered some of the most exciting and top professional wrestlers, they’re making their home here. If you have set a year ago, before I came to this place, that in a year time, we were going to be in New York City, will sell out for a PPV and let people excited, ready to spend their money to get in that seat and watch some great Impact Wrestling action, I’m not sure a lot of people would have been taking that tack. To see what the company’s done over the last 12 months, and to be a big part of it, I feel pretty good about.

You built a stable with Killer Kross and Moose. Isn’t it better to have these men by your side as friends rather than as enemies? Just three months ago, you were competing against Moose at Slammiversary XVI.

You’re right, it’s better for me to have these guys alongside me because I don’t have to worry about fighting them. I think from their standpoint, Moose learned you had better off to learn by tricks than to be fooled by them. Same for Killer Kross, he’s still relatively new to the industry, he’s a very smart man and he decided ‘I’m going to go and find myself the most stressful, powerful guy in the company’. Again he has all the physical tools and skills that I don’t necessarily possess. This guy is in his prime years, he’s 6’4 and 260 pounds, he probably can learn a lot from me. Conversely, for me, a guy like Kross with his background in mixed martial arts, the military, and all the techniques and things that he has, he’s very beneficial for me. You try to find answers in several people who are either in the places you want to be, like mine. I think right now the three of us are in a very, very good position in Impact Wrestling and I think other people, I’m sure, took notice and are wondering if maybe they won’t be better off doing the same.

You already competed against Johnny Impact last March at Crossroads for the World Championship. Do you see a difference between this match and the upcoming Bound for glory one?

I think this match is going to be a whole different. Not the same level of energy going into this match, more personal. All I remember about this March match is I beat him. I know this time around is going to be different, he’s going to have a little something different he’s going to bring in and I’m going to have to counteract fast and bring out something dip in myself. Again, he says this is what’s important to him, he wants to be the Champion, okay, but show me, because you’ll have to show me. 

What is your favourite match or moment since your comeback on Impact Wrestling?

I think probably I’ll go back to what they say, you’re never as good as in your last match. The last pay-per-view match I had against Moose, not only the fans but there are some people in the back that still don’t get it and they were surprised how good the match was. They weren’t expected it to be that well. People don’t really pay attention to details and nuances and all factors on it. But if you really dig deep into it, that’s the truth and that match is the proof of it. Not only I beat Moose, but he walked back, he was more valuable than he was when he walked out there. I beat that guy but I raised his value just by him being in the ring with me for 20 minutes. He saw that and imagined ‘what about spending a bunch of time with this guy’. No one else is doing that for those guys. I hope they all do realize that. These guys and women, when they step in the ring, they compete with the level of passion and conviction that if you don’t match it and you can’t keep up, you get exposed. About setting the tone and setting the bar, if you want to be at my level and be the Champion, you’d better come with the same amount of passion and conviction and emotion when you step in the ring. And the pretenders are out really quick. 

Who are the guys in the Impact roster you haven’t already worked with but you wish you could work with?

Who do you want to see me wrestle?

I would like to see you wrestle Sami Callihan or Brian Cage. 

I wrestled Sami a long time ago, I mixed up with Brian Cage a bunch over Australia. You can go up and down the roster. I had a match against Matt Sydal who’s a great talent. You mentioned Sami Callihan and Brian Cage, you’ve got Pentagon that never really had his rematch, even if there was a rematch clause in the contract. You’ve got Fénix, you’ve got Eli Drake with whom I only scratched the surface of what we could do. We had a great rematch. Why not Fallah Bahh? All the guys. If you want to sit on the top, you have to fight to stay on the throne. 

Abyss is going to be inducted into Impact Wrestling Hall of Fame. What are your thoughts about it?

He’s been loyal to the company since the very beginning. In my opinion, nobody deserves a place to the Hall of Fame more than Abyss. Period. 

It seems like 40 is the new 20 in wrestling today. AJ Styles and Samoa Joe stole the show last Saturday in Australia. You’re Impact World Champion. What is the recipe for it?

I take it as a huge compliment to be put on the same level than AJ and Joe because I have a lot of respect for those guys. We kept ourselves together, we trained and kept ourselves in shape over the years. We took care of our bodies. For my generation of wrestlers, and even the newer, training is more like a true athlete world. Making sure you’re taking care of yourself and of your body, as opposed to maybe the old rockstar lifestyle, allows you to be able to do these things way later. These guys are original talents, we get older but we get farther. AJ had plenty of athleticism, way more than he ever needed, I had more athleticism than I really needed, Joe is an athletic freak. Athleticism is one thing, but these guys are smarter now and able to be complete wrestlers.

Follow Austin Aries on Twitter @AustinAries. All pics and screencaps courtesy of Impact Wrestling.