Source: Sporting News

Austin Aries recently spoke with Brian Fritz of Sporting News to promote tonight's WWE NXT "Takeover: The End" match against Shinsuke Nakamura. The full interview is at this link. Below are highlights:

Are you surprised it took you 15 years to make it to the WWE?

"I don't know if surprised is the right word. When I started back in 2000, there were more entities than just WWE. A lot of guys who were coming out of my camp at that time like Lenny Lane were working for WCW making very good money. There were a few different places where you could go and make a living. When I started my journey, my goal at the beginning was I want to do this for my job. When people ask me what I do for a living, I want to say I'm a professional wrestler. Beyond that, I didn't have any parameters of what I could or I couldn't do. Everything is timing, everything is the right fit at the right time. To WWE and myself, it just never quite gelled for one reason or another but I continued to ply my trade and get to do a lot of great things at a lot of different places.

"At a certain point, I didn't know if that was going to be in the cards, at least while I was an active wrestler. And I was OK with that. I'm very proud of the things I've accomplished, the places I've got to travel and see that wrestling's afforded me. I was cool with the idea if I didn't go there. That being said, you always want to test yourself on the biggest playing field and that is the WWE. I'm grateful for the opportunity that it presented itself."

If he expects to be on WrestleMania next year

"I don't know if expect is the right word. As I lay out my goals in front of me, that's what I put on the board but there's so many different factors that play into that I can't say I expect it. I'm going to work toward it. I'm going to do the best I can with everything they put in front of me. 33 is one of my favorite numbers and it'd be pretty fitting if WrestleMania 33 right here in Florida was the one that I broke through at. I still have enough left in the tank so if I don't make it to next years there the year after and the year after that and I don't plan on going anywhere for a long time in the wrestling industry. Once my in-ring days start to wind down, I think there's a lot of other roles I'd love to have the opportunity to try and fill. Hopefully one day I'll be able to cross that off the bucket list."

Aries also discussed facing Shinsuke Nakamura at NXT: Takeover tonight, if the style in WWE is different from what he's used to, if the brand expansion will affect him and more. You can read the full interview at this link.

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