TNA Wrestling champ Austin Aries heading to Brooklyn
– Josh Stewart
Austin Aries, relaxed and pleasant while cooking a vegetarian lunch at his Largo, Fla., home, still can’t help cutting a couple of promos on certain pet peeves.
“If you really do some studies into cattle farming methods and meat production, you’d have real problems arguing the benefits to my health,” says Aries during a recent phone call, explaining how he totally went vegetarian in 2001, six months after he began training for pro wrestling.
A few minutes later, he’s using words like “ruse” and “hypocrisy” while railing against the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) before quickly digressing and returning the conversation to the squared circle.
Of course, some of his TSA issues have involved lugging a large gold belt signifying him as the Total Nonstop Action World Heavyweight Champion through assorted metal detectors, so it’s clear from chatting with him that life is going his way.
Aries, who beat Bobby Roode for the title on July 8 during the Destination X pay-per-view, will be at MCU Park in Brooklyn for a TNA show Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Now 34, he has gone from the fringes of pro wrestling relevance to one of the key spots in the industry in a year-and-a-half. He parted ways with Ring of Honor in late 2010 and made his return to TNA Wrestling in June 2011, with just about no one thinking he’d crack the company’s upper echelon — except himself.
“When I think about it, the progression in the last 18 months, I have always been confident that I could be in this position. I don’t know if surreal is the word,” Aries says, repeating a word in the reporter’s question. “It’s more like ‘finally,’ that the hard work, the moments of doubts, in the end all those things work themselves out.”
One could argue that Aries’ success has been as much about the business finding its way as Aries reaching his peak as a performer. Aries — all 5-foot-9, 210 pounds of him — agreed that the pro wrestling landscape, in which the ingredients for success have sometimes seemed as rigid as the minimum height requirements for carnival rides, is currently in his favor.
“I think at the end of the day this is the entertainment business,” Aries says. “There is definitely an athletic, physical nature to it, but it’s about entertainment. In the history of wrestling you’ve had people of all shapes and sizes… The major companies are seeing that talent is talent, and whatever talent you want to utilize that can make money you’ll use, regardless.”
For the rest of the interview, and photos, go to
By JOSH STEWART