X-Pac 1-2-360 – Episode 65
Guest: Austin Aries
Release Date: December 6, 2017
Recap by: Sean McGraw
X-Pac is joined by Jimbo, Denise, Bill, and TK. This week’s guest will be Austin Aries. X-Pac says Austin went through Eddie Sharkey’s school in Minnesota and sort of followed his footsteps on the independent scene in that area. Jimbo asks if they told Aries that he was going to be the next Sean Waltman. EVERYONE is going to be the next Sean Waltman according to Sharkey.
X-Pac went to RAW. He didn’t see a lot of the show. He mainly just heard the Woken Matt segment. He praises it for being really good stuff. He talked to Matt about how things came about although he doesn’t want to reveal anything just in case Matt had wanted to speak to him in confidence. It seems like everything has worked itself out regarding that. Pac asked “What’s the point of owning something if you can’t use it?” “What are you going to do with it?” “Let the people enjoy it.” Cooler heads have prevailed when it comes to that.
Matt was telling Pac how he was explaining it to Vince and Vince was just eating it up. Matt had never really spoken to Vince about it before just really recently –within the last few weeks. Pac hopes they keep the parts of it that made it special and worries about it being too over-produced. The charm of the whole thing was using creativity and not a whole lot of budget. It doesn’t look like anything that pro wrestling has done before. Every time WWE tries to step out and do something different it still ends up looking like a WWE production. Pac doesn’t know if they can let Matt have that total creative control over it like he did in TNA.
It’s cool that Matt and Bray Wyatt had gone back and forth on Twitter a whole year ago before they ever worked in the same promotion at the same time. You can really influence things into happening by doing things like that. “You put that out in the universe and s**t happens.”
Pac was actually worried about Matt when he first started doing the “Broken” stuff on Twitter. He thought Matt lost his mind. Either that or Matt is a genius. Pac is going with genius. This leads to a discussion about how Impact is now letting wrestlers keep their intellectual property. Pac believes that both wrestlers and companies should be able to exploit the intellectual property after their business with each other ends. Kind of like how WWE is letting people keep their names when coming in. Everyone can win.
Impact wrestling has two new VPS:
Scott D’Amore and Don Callis were announced as Executive VP’s of Impact wrestling. Pac likes D’Amore – he knows what’s up. He’s curious to see how Callis does. He wants to see what Don brings to the table. It’s speculated that this could re-open the relationships with ROH and NJPW. Pac hopes this happens. The old mentality that competitors have to put each other out of business is not healthy. It’s great for fans to get exposure to other promotions and other types/styles of wrestling.
A WWE Superstar is getting his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Rock is getting a star on December 13th. It’ll be near Hollywood and Highland. The Rock and Vince are the only people involved in the world of wrestling that have a star. No Hogan, Andre, Flair, etc. Starting off a bit of an amusing conversation, TK says The Rock is amazing and looks good with his shirt off. Pac chimes in and says you should see him naked. TK is surprised and Pac says, “Come on I used to work with the guy.” Pac has seen every dong in the business. TK asks how it is. According to Pac its fine and he didn’t notice it being too small. The fact is The Rock has a huge impact in pop culture. Some of his movies might not be that great, but people will go out to see it because he’s in it. He has better movies than Elvis did.
Interview with Austin Aries
This discussion starts out in a bit of disarray. Aries is at the airport and somebody is saying something on the overhead speaker in the background. It takes a few minutes for everyone to kind of get in the groove because the phone is really picking up that background noise and it is kind of annoying.
Pac asks Austin about his travel schedule and about working a show for House of Hardcore in his hometown of Waukesha, Wisconsin (I was at that show. It was a lot of fun and Aries had a pretty good match. Unfortunately the thing that I remember most is some guy in the crowd yelling “Austin Aries” the ENTIRE match. Kind of put a damper on it because it was really distracting.) It was awesome. Austin has wanted to perform there in front of his friends and family. There were half a million Twitch viewers, which was amazing. Pac says he saw that it looked like a pretty packed house (It actually drew pretty well. A lot better than I was expecting given the location). Austin says it was a great crowd and he thinks it maybe had a little bit to do with him being a hometown guy.
Pac says that it was really cool teaming with Aries in Australia. Aries agrees and wants to do it again coming up in March. Pac puts over Aries’ match with Ricochet. They killed it. Aries says thanks. Ricochet is at a different level. A part of him feels like at this point of his career a lot of people are writing him off and he feels he needs to prove that he can still perform at a high level. The tour has lit a fire underneath him. “When your creativity gets taken away from you, when you’re being told who you are and who you’re aren’t, you can start to believe that s**t. Sometimes you have to go out there and remind yourself who you are and who you can be.”
X-Pac asks Austin about the ring that they worked in in Brisbane. The guy really misrepresented the quality and condition of the ring. The first thing that he noticed was the tarp instead of canvas. When he finally got into the ring there was uneven padding in areas, no padding on the apron and a lot of exposed metal. Aries got his eye busted open by the ring and he was a little hot, which led to the bad promo. Pac doesn’t blame him and tells him not to worry about it and that he should just keep it real. That’s why Aries has adopted the moniker “The Truth” because that’s all that you can give people. A lot of the boys thanked him for saying what they were all thinking. At this point Aries is going through customs and asks how much money he has on him. Pac jokes that this is good s**t that we’re hearing (it was pretty amusing).
Aries has some things in the works in 2018 that may or may not be wrestling related. He says he’s a wrestler but it’s not his entire life. There is so much more to him as a person than being a wrestler.
What was Austin’s process like mentally to get back out there in the industry? He was just focused on getting healthy. He’s lucky that he had endless opportunities that he could pick and choose where he wanted to work and what direction he wanted to take things. Was he contacted by the new regime at TNA? He had some talks, but he said that if he were to ever go back there it would be as a decision maker. He would work with anybody but he wasn’t going to work for anybody. He hasn’t and doesn’t intend to sign a contract that would restrict him from working anywhere else. There isn’t anybody that could pay him enough for that freedom.
Pac asks if he Aries was concerned after leaving WWE. Aries didn’t know what to expect. His main concern was getting healthy. He wasn’t fit to work a full-time schedule. He had 90 days to get better and that was his focus, but when WWE put out the tweet, Aries’ inbox was flooded. He knew then that he’d be alright. It’s important for him to pick and choose his spots though. He wants to make sure that he’s going about this business the right way. He is not going to put his name on a product that is stuck doing things the old way. He wants to be able to drive the business forward. Wrestling is the only form of entertainment where the performer is told to get to the back of the bus and be happy with what you get. In other industries the performer is in the driver’s seat. The transition from being a commentator to a talent was tough because things that were being paid for no longer were and his lifestyle was being changed for the worse. He contends that the performers are the ones that are putting their bodies on the line and they are the ones that are getting the short end of the stick. He’d love to do commentary in the future because it was one of the few times where people weren’t telling him what to do or say.
The conversation then transitions to entitled fans. Austin is big on manners and using the words, “please” and “thank you.” He is often turned amazed at people not knowing what those “magic words” are. He won’t give people the time of day if they are going to be rude or think that they will be better than everyone else that waits in line and pays for things. Pac says that to the people that are paying, that may be their last couple of dollars but it’s important for them to get whatever they are buying.
The banana thing came about because they wanted to do a backstage promo and he was going to eat a banana. Aries quickly realized that it’s hard for the creative team to wrap their heads around the fact that things can happen for no reason and not in the script. It became a thing because it didn’t mean anything and it was confusing to people and it started to make people giggle. What did Vince say about the banana? The first time Aries met him Aries said he’s trying to get the banana over and Vince laughed. Aries pitched banana themed merchandise and Vince gave him a look and said “Ok, we’ll get bananas down the road.” Aries denies that he had the banana because of Reddit.
When Austin was on commentary he didn’t get talked to too much in the headset. He felt like they were giving him a rope for him to either succeed or hang himself. He had to pick his spots and learn the dynamic of the three man team. When they told him that they didn’t have anything for him creatively, he said to himself, “what are you nuts?” Even commentary would be something that he’d have been interested in.
Pac said when he came in finally and beat down Neville the crowd went apes**t for it. It was one of the biggest pops of the night. Austin wonders in retrospect if that didn’t do him any favors in some people’s eyes. It wasn’t something that they created as much as that was something that he was creating on his own through commentary.
Who would he put together as a new Generation Next? It’s a tough question. He doesn’t have his finger on the pulse enough to put together four guys that would benefit the way that they benefitted from it back in the day. Back then it was a lot more difficult to get exposure with the lack of social media. There’s so much talent out there now and people pretending to be wrestlers that you have to sift through a lot of s**t to find the little nuggets of gold.
Austin has a problem with people running “fantasy camps.” Getting in the ring should be something that’s earned. The business and the mystique need to be protected. When you have a bunch of kids rolling around in the ring you’re responsible for anything that can happen. There are so many people starting to train so young these days. You can learn the maneuvers and spots but there is a mental aspect that can’t be grasped at such a young age. There’s a difference between being a professional wrestler and playing one by emulating what you see other people doing.
Austin is asked about his Vegan lifestyle and how athletes can be Vegan. The amount of protein that one needs as a high level athlete or as an everyday joe or jane is overstated. The amount of protein that people are taking in because they think it will lead to lean mass has been sold to them by the people that are supplying the protein. When the body breaks down the protein it doesn’t know the difference between animal and plant based. In a world where people are starving and we are using all of these resources to make animals fatter so that we can kill them – if we actually used those resources to produce food – we could feed everybody on the planet. Pac agrees. He also notices that more wrestlers are becoming Vegan like Zack Sabre Jr. and the Finlay family had a Vegan Thanksgiving. Austin says “If Fit Finlay can be a man and can eat some plants then anybody else can too.” X-Pac says that the thinking that Vegans are p*****s is idiotic.
Austin ends by plugging some of his appearances, his book and teases some big things coming for him in 2018.
The show itself ends with a small discussion on veganism, the standard roundtable of plugs and X-Pac says that Konnan will probably be on the next episode.
This episode was kind of a long one. The issues with interruptions in the airport really hurt the flow of the conversation at points. That’s not a knock on Aries or the show overall, but unfortunately this particular episode suffered because of it. I really like Aries and think he is a very gifted wrestler, but he is EXTREMELY confident, has some strong opinions and is not afraid to voice them. At times it can come off as arrogant and may be a little much in certain cases. That being said he does have some interesting opinions and makes some valid points in the discussion and I believe he means what he says. Authenticity goes a long way sometimes. I liked hearing the perspective of a wrestler who is coming into his own in terms of being gone from the WWE restrictions and kind of open to a whole new world. I continue to be a fan of Aries and look forward to seeing what lies ahead for him in his career.
00:00 – 28:46 Intros and News Discussion
30:05 – 1:43:07 Interview with Austin Aries
1:43:08 – 1:46:32 Show wrap up
Sean is a media professional from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Sean’s earliest memory of wrestling is seeing Kane on WWF television in 1998. Sean watched primarily WWF in the Attitude Era and dropped off just before the initial brand split. Seeing recap promos of the Undertaker building up to WrestleMania 20, he became hooked and has been an avid fan ever since. Sean’s wrestling preferences currently lean more towards NJPW/ROH/NXT but he remains a fan of it all. In his spare time Sean enjoys cooking, baking, and going to the gym. You can follow Sean via Twitter @stmcgraw and Instagram @stmcgraw09.