The Busted Open radio show, hosted by Doug Mortman and Dave lagreca, welcomed The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived, former TNA Heavyweight champion Austin Aries, to their airwaves yesterday. In the video posted on YouTube and embedded below (also available Sirius satellite radio and the Sports Zone app), A-Double is his usual blunt self on a number of topics, mostly related to his present employer (TNA) and former one (Ring of Honor, aka ROH).
Mortman proposed that there was a "buzz" about TNA in Aries' X-Division cash-in and feud with Jeff Hardy around Bound for Glory last year, and asked why that had faded in the last twelve months:
I know why it's gone and I'll keep that to myself. I don't control those decisions, all I can control is what's in front of me and I feel whatever you put on my tee, I'm going to knock out of the park. I've always felt that way and the decisions that are made and what's going to happen creatively that's above my pay grade as they say and quite frankly, it's not something that I want to stress myself out too much because I'm a passionate guy, I'm an opinionated guy. I love the industry and I've followed it ever since I can remember and I got to control the things that I can control and that's usually with a microphone in my hand and when I step in between the ropes.
On recent turnover in the TNA locker room:
You look at it two ways. Some people look at the turnover and the releases and they put a negative connotation on it but I think in any business and especially in the sports world, you need to keep that middle ground fresh and in wrestling, it's the same way. You give guys opportunities, some guys run with the brass ring and some don't but you can't stagnant with that, you need turnover because it keeps that fire lit under everybody, keeps everyone performing to the best of their abilities, no one gets comfortable, you don't want anybody getting comfortable and going to work and collecting a paycheck. You want to keep people on their toes and I don't think the turnover is a bad thing. It gives new guys opportunities, it keeps fresh faces for the fans and they don't get sick with the same old, same old and that's a successful recipe for any business.
Asked if he feels a responsibility to put on five star matches, Austin took the opportunity to talk about match reviewers:
I don't know what constitutes a four star match or a five star match...one of the things I've thought, I've tossed around and when my website's up and running is actually start doing reviews of the guys who do reviews of the matches and give them star ratings of their reviews, to basically call them out on the fact that they don't know what they're talking about nine times out of ten.
He went on to talk about booking for the hardcore versus causal fan:
[Casual fans] don't know what a good match or a bad match is. They know that some matches are more entertaining than others, but they don't have a criteria for what level a match is. And a lot of these guys get more into the characters and the story development. And I think it's important to for us to remember that the passionate hardcore fans are looking at the wrestling and that's maybe where they get their entertainment value, but that whole other large part of the pie - they like the storylines, the characters - they might like the factions - so we have to remember not to alienate those fans because that's a large part of the pie we need to pull from.
On blurring the "reality" line and "new kayfabe":
I've always said that the best pro wrestling is from when you pull from reality the most you can. The more authentic you can make it, the more tied to reality it is, the more people grab on to it. I think that's the reason why people have gravitated to my character over the years, there's an authenticity to it. I'm not putting too much of an act, I might be turning up the dial one way or the other but I am who I am and that comes out in my character when I'm on screen. As the fans get smarter or think they are getting smarter, we have to find ways to keep them on their toes, off balance and keep them guessing because that's the name of the game and that's where the drama comes in.
If there's a common denominator to the success of ROH alumni like himself, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan:
I've said this for a long time that if you were able to succeed in Ring of Honor like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan and myself were all able to do and you learn how to get over no matter where you are, WWE is just another place where you can get over. It's really that simple. Talent is talent and understanding the business and understanding what you need to do to have the people connect with you. That's not something that you can necessarily teach. That's something that you have or that you don't and all of those guys have it and they had it back then and they will have it in ten years. That's why you can't judge a professional wrestler with a tape measure, it doesn't work that way. I've been judged that way before and I'm sure I will again and those people all failed in their assessments of my talent and I'll prove that every time I step out there.
One are he mostly sidestepped was his run-in with and fine for cornering TNA ring announcer Christy Hemme following a flub on Hemme's part earlier this year. He's diplomatic, but not exactly apologetic:
That's a difficult situation. I'm not going to say a whole lot about it but it was an unfortunate event. I'll just say I was disappointed in the way things were handled in multiple levels and I think I will leave it at that for now.
And finally, Aries was asked if he thinks Impact Wrestling will still be on the road in a year's time:
I don't know. I'm not in those meetings and I don't make those decisions. I hope they are. I don't make those financial logistics of it. I think there are things that we can definitely do that would help us be successful while on the road as far as promoting and advertising. I think there are things that we dropped on the ball on but again, I don't get paid to make those decisions. If I did, I think we would be in a little bit of a better position right now.
Never shy or unsure himself, that's for sure. But I'd also like to see more of him on TNA television, and I'd be interested to see what he could do with a little more creative control. He already handles most public relations questions better than Dixie Carter or Hulk Hogan...