Austin Aries Talks Shinsuke Nakamura Match, How Long It Took Him to Get to WWE, More

Austin Aries

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:

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

AUSTIN ARIES: 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.

SN: You’ve got a big match coming up Wednesday — “NXT TakeOver: The End” where you’ll be facing Shinsuke Nakamura. What was it like finding out you’ve got that high-profile match and the high expectations that go into it?

AA: Yeah, Nakamura came in with a lot of fanfare. Obviously, he’s a unique and charismatic performer and really someone who, for a lot of American wrestling fans who have never had the opportunity nor did they ever think they would get the opportunity to see him live. That’s part of the mystique and the allure. Here’s this guy from Japan who maybe we’ve seen on DVDs or tapes depending on how old you are and now you have a chance to watch him live and that’s pretty cool. He’s definitely, again, a unique individual. For me, maybe this is the opportunity that I need to go out there and show people a little bit who maybe aren’t convinced or sold on Austin Aries, who don’t understand what all the hype is about, that I can stand with a guy like Nakamura and match him move for move, step for step and weird mannerism for weird mannerism and go out there and put on an entertaining match.

SN: SmackDown is moving to Tuesdays and going live beginning July 19. There will be a brand split. How do you think it will affect you, if at all?

AA: I think it’s exciting. I think it positions SmackDown as a premiere, must-see show by making it live, splitting up the brands to make them each unique. I think it’s an interesting idea. I think it potentially could be great for both shows. As far as how it could affect me, to this point, I haven’t heard anything on way or another so I’m in the wait-and-see approach but obviously it could open up a lot of options for guys to fill rosters. I’m looking forward to it. I think that maybe the last few years that Raw has always been the flagship show being that it’s live and that’s where the majority of the must-see things happen to lead up to the pay-per-views and things like that. Now you’re going to add a second night that’s going to be presented as equal to. I think that can be a great thing.

Possible AJ Styles Title Plans, Major Tag Team Division Changes Coming?, WWE Ribbing Top Stars on TV, Vince McMahon Wants Famous Star, Title Plans for John Cena, Major WWE Plans for Kevin Owens and Big Cass, Alberto Del Rio and Paige Drama on WWE TV?, Heat on WWE Tag Team, Vince McMahon Tired of Roman Reigns’ Push?, Major AJ Styles Concern, Velvet Sky to WWE?, Heat Between HHH and Top WWE Star, Shane McMahon – WWE Creative, Backstage Big Cass and Vince McMahon Story, WWE Star Saves Career Backstage, Must See New Lana & AJ Lee & Maryse, Lots of New GIFs & Exclusives, More