Wrestling Inc. President Raj Giri was recently on a media conference call with Impact Wrestling superstar Austin Aries. Giri asked The Greatest Man That Has Ever Lived about what has changed for him personally since his last run with Impact.
Aries' second run with Impact was from 2011-2015. He became a six-time X Division champion and still holds the record for longest title reign. He also held the TNA World Heavyweight title twice. After a yearlong stint in WWE, Aries was released and worked the independent scene where he delivered a memorable promo at a House Of Hardcore show. The promo drew a mixed reaction, but Aries said he has no regrets about it because it was his goal to stay true to himself in that moment.
"People were expecting me to go out there and start launching napalm and burning bridges, and it's easy to do, right? It's easy to always point the finger at other people and blame them, but I wanted to go out there and do something that people weren't expecting and I wanted to take personal accountability, because again, the only thing we can truly change is ourselves," Aries said. "The only thing we can look at in situations that maybe don't work out the way we'd like them to work out is, 'What did I do to contribute to that?' I can't change all the other factors in play other than the factors that I bring to the table. For any backlash that I did get from certain people or from certain contingencies on the internet, I got a lot of messages and a lot of comments from fans who really appreciated someone stepping out and doing that and also made them feel like someone understood some of the things they struggle with."
Aries said he believes he hasn't changed much since his time with Impact Wrestling, but he did say he is more mature this time around. His personal beliefs still hold true, but he is more aware of how he should conduct himself in certain situations, especially while working for a new regime in Impact.
"From my first run in Impact, I don't know that I've changed a whole lot other than trying to be more mindful of how I handle situations. My convictions are my convictions, my philosophies on how you treat people and how you go about business haven't really changed," Aries said. "But now as I come back for the third time, some of the people in positions of power have changed, and the way they want to go about business and the way they want to treat people [changed too]."
One of Aries' most firm beliefs is the importance of honesty. He does his best to be upfront about his feelings, but he admits that being so blunt can sometimes rub people the wrong way. Now that he's more mature he's become more mindful of how people might see him, so he tries to take a more diplomatic approach at times.
"Unfortunately, when you look in somebody's eyes and you're honest with them and you tell them things maybe they don't want to hear, it doesn't always make you the most popular person. But luckily for me now I'm in a position where I don't have to win popularity contests to be successful," he said. "I can rely on my skill, my passion and my philosophies on wrestling and don't have to worry about winning the popularity contest. So I try to handle things a little more diplomatically at times, I try to make sure that I'm not letting my emotions get the best of me, but the things that I still hold true haven't really changed much from the beginning of my career."
Aries was also asked about reports of him being someone who was difficult to work with while he was in WWE. He said he could understand if some of the writers didn't enjoy working with him because he is a writer himself and he knows what's best for himself.
"I'll bet you [some of] the [WWE] writers probably didn't like working with me very much because understand that in that environment, when I'm given something that the writers hand me, if I have any things that I think should be adjusted or things that I wouldn't personally say, as someone who's been doing this for 17 years and as a writer it's not easy for us to just go and change those things, but then to have to march back into the office and have those things changed for them," he said. "So the process is a little tedious, and to me it really takes a lot of the artistic and creative freedoms away from the wrestlers. I don't know any writer that would know my voice better than myself, I've been doing this a long time. I'll say this: if there's any writers that had any issues with me while I was in WWE, they certainly never expressed that to me. That's something that was never brought to my attention, so I can't speak on anonymous reports."