TNA Conference Call: Austin Aries teases new X Division wrestlers and returning talent, changes he's made in his second run with the company, the prestige of the X Division, what's different about ROH today compared when he was with the company
TNA held media conference call with Austin Aries on Thursday, June 28 to promote the TNA Destination X pay-per-view. The following are the highlights of the call.
-TNA's Chris Thomas opened the conference call and touted the TNA Destination X pay-per-view, which takes place on July 8. He noted that they were holding the call earlier than usual due to the July 4 holiday next week. Thomas promoted tonight's Impact Wrestling television show. Thomas also revealed three new pay-per-view matches for Destination X (see the main page).
-Aries was asked about changes between his first run and his current run. He said he was able to step back and learn from his first run with the company. He said the company is giving him a chance this time around and he's letting his work speak for itself.
-Aries was asked about auditioning for WWE Tough Enough. He said he was dealing with a talent agency and not with the company itself. He compared it to acting in that sometimes you get the part and sometimes you don't.
-A caller was asked what made him want to go back to TNA. He said you don't always get second chances and he wanted to take advantage of that. "It was a pay day and I didn't have anything going on that week, so I figured why not I've got nothing to lose," Aries said.
-Aries was asked whether he would prefer to work with X Division wrestlers or heavyweight wrestlers. He said he feels comfortable with anybody in the ring.
-Regarding Impact going live, Aries said he feels everyone amps it up an extra notch because the show is live. He said he hopes it continues beyond the summer.
-Aries was asked about wrestlers he would like to see join the roster. He mentioned Rhett Titus, Kenny King, and Grizzly Redwood. He noted that he trained Titus and Grizzly. He said they have something to offer in the ring and in the locker room.
-A caller asked if there's a moment that stands out most to him in his TNA run this far. He said the securing his contract during his second run was a big moment. He said there were no promises and he was able to step up.
-Aries was asked whether he feels it is important to showcase the X Division in pay-per-view and television main events more often or if he's comfortable with the current setup. He said there will always be some debate regarding whether the division is a top championship or a secondary championship. He feels the Destination X setup is a step in the right direction and he leaves those calls to the company's decision makers.
-Aries was asked if there's anyone in particular that he would like to see become the face of the X Division now that he's stepping aside. He said he felt Chris Sabin was ready to step up and resume his singles career if it wasn't for his injury. He feels Jesse Sorensen was also on the path before he suffered his neck injury. He teased that there will be new X Division talent and names from the past returning as they head into the pay-per-view. He said he hopes someone steps up like he did.
-It was noted that the X Division Title belt's prestige was raised during his reign. He was asked what the company can do to make sure the title remains as important. He said he feels the championship is only as important as the guy who holds it. He recalled joking recently that he rubs belt, they don't rub him. He said it's about having quality talent and competition. He said there have been injuries and departures, and the division became a little less competitive that he hoped it would be. He said there are efforts to restock it and so it's a matter of accumulating talent and letting the best guys get ahead. "I'm a big proponent of that," Aries said about giving guys the ball and seeing if they can carry it.
-A caller asked what changed about Ring of Honor that led to him being critical of it. He said that he didn't want to get into talking about other companies on a TNA conference call, but he noted that the people who had the original passion and energy are no longer there. He said that's what separated Ring of Honor from the pack previously and he doesn't know if that exists today.
-Aries was asked about TNA's shift to using elements of reality television. He said it's a slippery slope. He feels there are elements they can use and pull the curtain back a bit, but he said they should only want to pull the curtain back so much. "The bottom line is I don't think we want to put a product out there that looks over produced," Aries said. He said he wants to see guys sound like themselves and he feels they have the talent to pull that off.
-Aries was asked about being vilified at times during his career. He said it's nice to get a chance to show "some people and some places" what he can do when he's given the chance. He said his second run with the company has allowed him to prove some of the things he's said. "I've always been a polarizing figure," he said. "I have a strong personality." He said he's comfortable with who he is. "If you're not stirring the pot a little bit and you're not making people nervous, then you're not doing something right."
-A caller mentioned that Aries was trained by Eddie Sharkey and Terry Funk. Aries said the thing he learned the most were respecting the business and the basics. He said neither guy was going to go out there and have a five-star match, so they focussed on the basics. He said Eddie is as carney as it gets. "I got a glimpse at maybe the old guard of wrestling," Aries said. He noted that the things that were pounded home were "basics, basics, basics, and respect, respect, respect." He said you need a foundation to build a house.
-Aries was asked which wrestlers influenced him. He noted that Jerry Lynn and Sean Waltman came out of the Twin Cities like he did and they were inspirations to a lot of the smaller guys. He also mentioned the Four Horsemen and the Midnight Express when he was younger, and Chris Jericho, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, and Chris Benoit as he got older. He said it was the guys who felt the most believable and had the most conviction in what they were doing.
-Aries said he has absolutely changed his style as he's gotten older. He noted that he's phased out the 450 splash and saves it for special occasions whereas it was a regular finisher for him previously. He said he's tried not to be pigeonholed into a cruiserweight style because your career is essentially over you lose your athleticism goes.
-Aries noted that he only lives 90 minutes from Orlando so it's nice to be close to home, but he feels they need to take the show on the road for growth. He said the crowds in Orlando have improved since they've gone live.
-Aries was asked what it means to main event his first TNA pay-per-view. He said he has main evented elsewhere and will have the same mindset. He said he hopes he and Bobby Roode will bring the best out of one another. "It's my time to put up or shut up and I'm looking forward to that opportunity," he said.
-A caller noted that a number of TNA wrestlers are going to be working for Pro Wrestling Noah. He was asked whether he'd like to see talent from Noah come to TNA. He said it would be great even if it's for a short run. "If I was making that decision, it's something I would definitely explore," Aries said.
-Chris Thomas wrapped up the conference call.
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