Pro Wrestling Illustrated sent us the following:

Austin Aries final interview as a WWE employee is featured on the latest episode of the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Podcast. Talking to PWI Senior Writer Al Castle on the day before WWE announced his release, Aries, while promoting his new book "Food Fight," talked about critics of the WWE cruiserweight division, his goals outside the wrestling ring, and some frustrations with WWE's marketing of unhealthy food to children.

Here are some highlights:

His wrestling bucket list:

"I don't have a bucket list... Right now, I'm just focused on this book. It's a new endeavor. I've got a great platform and I want to use it to spread an equally important message. Listen, I can sit and talk wrestling all year. I've talked about it for a decade. And it's cool, but I want to talk about this book and I want to talk about the importance of what we put in our bodies multiple times a day."

WWE's potential influence on children's food decisions:

"As I go around the country and I'm seeing all the fans in the WWE Universe, there's a lot of young kids and they're off to the wrong start, because they're being fed the wrong food. They're being fed poison . . . I've been known to sneak a banana or two on screen. We're pushing sugary New Day Booty-Os. I thought we'd balance it out with some nutritious fruit. A little banana with your Booty-Os won't hurt."

His thoughts of WWE's cruiserweight division:

"I'll leave the criticism to the critics. I'll leave that for the people who are paid to make those decisions. My job is to go out there and perform and—whatever job they give me to do—to do it to the best of my abilities."

Looking back on when he nearly walked away from wrestling in 2011:

"Sometimes when you're in the situation, it's hard to evaluate it. Sometimes the best thing to do is to take a step back and get a little bit of a different perspective and re-evaluate things. For me, I'm smart enough and have been around the business long enough to know you don't really retire."

In the interview, Aries also discusses performing at WrestleMania, his thoughts on his run as a WWE commentator, and WWE's negative portrayal of vegans. Also on the latest PWI Podcast, Al and PWI Senior Writer Dan Murphy look back on the first half of 2017 and talk about what they're looking forward to in the second half. The entire podcast can be streamed at pwi-online.com or downloaded on iTunes.

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