Newly crowned TNA World Champion Austin Aries gives his first interview since winning the title to Busted Open with Dave Lagreca and Doug Mortman. You can hear Busted Open from 2-4 ET on Sirius 94, XM 208, and Sportszone 860 on the internet. Here are some highlights:
His emotions on winning the TNA World title: "It was GREAT. I don't know if you can sum it up in a sentence or two, but a lot of emotions kind of hit me. The culmination of not only my year in TNA, twelve years in the wrestling business, but really just a lifelong love affair with the wrestling business. To think back to the early days of my childhood and getting into professional wrestling and to think where I am some twenty five years later, it's hard to put that all in perspective, but I'm sure in the coming days and weeks, it will start to sink in a little more. It was a great feeling and a great moment. The energy coming out the Impact Zone, the response I have seen so far in the wrestling community has been overwhelming. I'm glad I can be somebody that can help create a buzz right now in this business."
If winning the TNA World title was the highlight of his career: "Yeah I have to say it ranks right up there. I was always one of those people who never had a favorite this or a favorite that. This right now, with everything that went along with it and the culmination of it, I think it ranks right up there with the greatest moment so far of my career."
The year he has had starting with last year's Destination X: "When I walked in there, I had come to a decision that I wasn't really happy with the opportunities I was getting in the wrestling business. I felt I was at a certain level as a performer and a competitor and if I wasn't going to get that opportunity or get treated in a way that was fitting for someone of a guy with my talents, then I decided it was time to do something else. I've always been a guy that did his own thing, and set all my own rules, and that was a decision that I made, but when TNA offered that opportunity, I had to take it. It was a great opportunity to come back and have a second chance at a place where you don't always have a second chance at. I didn't look back and had nothing to lose at that point and I said 'here I am, this is me. Either take it or leave it.' But I can be a money guy in this business and in this company and so far I have proven that and it's been great."
Positive reaction he has been getting from fans: "Part of that overwhelming reaction and that moment, it could not have been created had Bobby Roode not had such a successful run as champion the last 7 or 8 months, and the job he has done as World Champion I don't think can be taken for granted or give him enough accolades on what he's done. That helped create that special moment last night. I just try to go out there and be myself. My job is to go out there and entertain people and get a reaction out of them. Make them care, one way or the other. I guess just go out there and be myself and if you love me that's great and if you hate me that's great too. As long as you care when I walk out that curtain or when you see me on camera, that's all I care about. I think people can gravitate to someone who's authentic, who know who he is, who's comfortable with who he is, who goes out there and expects a lot out of himself. Makes some boisterous claims but backs them up. I also think my passion and love for this business is something I hope translates. It's been an interesting ride going in there obviously I was new to them and maybe it took them a while for them to warm up to me, but right now each and every time I step out there, it seems like the Aries Army just keeps growing."
How his title victory is a great moment for not only TNA, but all of wrestling: "It's touching and I'm glad they feel that way. I think that over the years and I'm a wrestling fan too and there have been moments and you go back to the night Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero became wrestling champions. You go back to when CM Punk became champion. The night Daniel Bryan became champion. AJ Styles getting the opportunity in TNA to be the man. I think as a wrestling fan, when you see performers or colleagues succeed and you know they are the type of people that have the same love and passion and respect for the business that you do, that's what you want to see. You want to see those people succeed because you know the right people are making it to the top and then it's our job to make sure the wrestling industry thrives and continues to grow. I feel like we are primed for the next boom in wrestling. If you look at the two major companies, you got the right guys in the right positions. I think with some good thought behind it we can really create a buzz and get people interested in the mainstream and the masses get interested in wrestling again."
On Hulk Hogan being behind him: "Initially I didn't deal with Hulk a lot.We didn't have a lot of interaction. But I hear a lot of the criticisms within the company and outside the company about his role. My dealings with him have been great. He has a really good mind for the business. I don't think people understand that. He was one of the most successful performers of all time in this business for a reason. It went beyond just his charisma, his look and all these other factors. He has a great mind for it and I appreciate that he had confidence in me and everyone else in the company had the confidence in me."
On the X division: "I think if you look at the pay per view last night there was some quality talent that was on the PPV. I imagine some of those guys will continue to be a part of Impact Wrestling moving forward. I think if you look out there, there is a lot of talent who are not under contract to another company or soon will not be under contract to another company, who we definitely want to take a look at and see if they have something to bring to TNA Impact Wrestling. We tried to do the reboot of the X division last year and we tried to infuse some new talent into it. Just through some circumstances and some injuries and some departures, I don't think it sustained itself as they had hoped. So I think there will be more effort going forward. When you couple that with the Gut Check concept too, it's another tool to infuse new talent. Kenny King and Mason Andrews and Rubix, those are all guys who I think if you continue to give opportunities too, will grow with the company and become guys who will definitely be entertaining in the X division and beyond."