Monday, 30 July 2012

WWE DVD Review: Wrestlemania XXVIII

WWE DVD Review: WrestleMania XXVIII By Phil Allely The WWE of course always throw not only a huge amount of money at their annual PPV extravaganza WrestleMania, but they do also attempt to load the card with matches that merit the stature of the event. This year the company built the pay-per-view around two very promising matches and padded the the remainder out with some interesting and potentially exciting encounters. The two main high points for fans were the matches between The Rock and John Cena (which had a year long build up) and the hugely hyped re-match between Triple H and The Undertaker, which this time around was held within the confines of the Hell in a Cell cage. This DVD set not only features all of the PPV matches and the arena only dark match, but there are also some classic matches from The Rock and the entire Hall of Fame ceremony. From a match point of view the Taker/Triple H and Rock/Cena ones are of course the stand-outs. Shawn Michaels presence as special guest referee in the Cell certainly gives the ageing combatants a helping hand and shows that even though he is no longer an active competitor in the WWE ring Michaels can still make is mark there. The Daniel Bryan/Sheamus World Title match is worth a viewing (after the debacle at Mania 27), Team Teddy V Team Johnny has its moments and the WWE Championship match between Chris Jericho and CM Punk is a nicely paced affair. For many fans the crowning glory of this three disc set is the Hall of Fame Ceremony. This is a great event to witness and will appeal to fans old and new. The inductees are all worthy of their inclusion and each man (or their representative) genuinely appear moved to be there. Watch out for the reaction The Four Horsemen receive (this is the classic Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard and JJ Dillon line-up), especially when you consider the fact that Flair was still under contract to TNA when he appeared on WWE TV. Dusty Rhodes may be a slight bit hard to understand, but he does a great job of introducing us to the legendary WCW/NWA stable here. Also of note is Christian's induction of his long time friend Edge, Christian offers up a funny, emotional and poignant speech that hits all the right spots and will make even the most hardened wrestling fan have a lump in their throat with its tone and delivery, Edge matches this and much more with his speech. The Mike Tyson induction is a real surprise too, his inductee's DX (Shawn Michaels and Triple H) ,make a superb comedy double act and this really adds to what could have been a very flat induction. WrestleMania XXVIII is a DVD every wrestling fan should own, the main PPV works well for the most part and the extras are more than worth the cost alone. WrestleMania XXVIII is available now from all good retailers and www.silvervision.co.uk Three Disc DVD RRP £29.99/Blu-ray RRP £34.99 By Phil Allely

Boogeyman Interview Highlights

Marty Wright, who portrayed The Boogeyman character in WWE from 2005 to 2009, addressed his wrestling career during an interview with Justin LaBar on Wrestling Reality on TribLIVE Radio sports station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He said everyone in the sports entertainment organization was enjoyable to work with during his time there with the exception of one individual. “Donald Trump, however, he wasn’t the best. Actually, let me rephrase that. He was the worst. He didn’t want to sell the character,” Wright says. At WrestleMania 23 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, Trump was shown in a backstage segment sitting on a couch with Miss America when The Boogeyman appeared from behind. Wright says Trump didn’t think he should appear scared, and didn’t. “I just wanted to bite his head off. He actually wasn’t the most favorable person to work with,” Wright says. Wright also reveals that he solely ate worms due to host arenas’ fears of other insects getting loose. “We had to pay an infestation clause, which would cost much more money,” says Wright, who wanted to use roaches, crickets and maggots for the gimmick. “Worms were the only thing we could control.” Wright credits Vince McMahon with allowing him to direct character and notes that he would like to return to the company one day. “I can’t say when, but just keep your eyes open. You never know when The Boogeyman is going to pop up again, but I’m definitely working toward that,” Wright says.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Jerry Lawler discusses Andy Kaufman feud

Jerry Lawler recently discussed his legendary feud with Andy Kaufman on WWE's Website. Here are some highlights. WWE CLASSICS: Out of all the great rivalries in wrestling and all the great pop culture moments, what is it about this one incident that 30 years later people are still so fascinated by? LAWLER: It was the first time something like that had happened. I don’t know if I should tell this or not, but one night I was flying back on the plane with Vince McMahon. And he said, “You know, King, I’ve never told you this before, but I was so jealous when you got Andy Kaufman and did all that stuff with him down there in Memphis. Because he was from New York, and I thought we could have done all that stuff up here.” But he also said, “But I’ll be honest with you. There’s no way on Earth we could have done it as well as you guys did it.” WWE CLASSICS: Wow. It would have been a totally different dynamic. LAWLER: Yes, but it would have been a first. Vince loves firsts. To this day, you hear on Monday Night Raw that you’re going to see something for the first time ever. That’s big. And this was the first time any big deal Hollywood star was involved to that extent in wrestling. Vince realized, everybody realized, because it got so much national exposure. Everything back then was still regionalized. Cable TV hadn’t hit yet. The country was divided up into wrestling territories because of TV coverage. Once Vince saw you could use a Hollywood star to get that nationwide exposure, here comes Cyndi Lauper with Captain Lou and Wendi Richter, and then Mr. T gets brought in. The ball got rolling, and it hasn’t stopped to this day. Just in the past year, Hugh Jackman was in there punching Dolph Ziggler. WWE CLASSICS: Yeah, you really could argue that Andy Kaufman is responsible for all of that. LAWLER: I really feel, in my heart of hearts, that he was responsible for that. I certainly believe that Andy Kaufman deserves a spot in the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame. Without a doubt, we would not be where we are today without his involvement. I really feel that way. Even at Raw 1,000, we had Charlie Sheen challenging Daniel Bryan to a match. It’s Andy Kaufman revisited as recently as last night.

TNA UK Tour 2013 PR Interview links

This January, the stars of TNA IMPACT WRESTLING return to the United Kingdom for our annual tour of England and Ireland! Check out brand-new British media interviews with your favorite wrestlers, including Miss Tessmacher, James Storm, AJ Styles, Mickie James and Magnus! If you want to be part of the January 2013 United Kingdom tour – which will feature a cage match on EVERY event and huge double TV tapings at Wembley on January 26 – then get your tickets NOW from http://www.gigsandtours.com/Tour/TNA-WRESTLING - Miss Tessmacher sat down with leading UK men's magazine Zoo to discuss Tara, cage matches and strange fan requests. Read the chat and see some great pictures at http://www.zootoday.com/sport/archive/2012/07/20/hot-tna-knockout-babe-brooke-tessmacher-photos-and-interview.htm - James Storm spoke to Concerts Captured about his love of music and pre-match preparations at http://mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/23074544-wrestling-star-james-storm-looks-back-decade-tna-and-ahead-manchester-tour-date - Storm also looked back on 10 years in TNA and previewed the huge January 25 Manchester show over at http://mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/23074544-wrestling-star-james-storm-looks-back-decade-tna-and-ahead-manchester-tour-date - AJ Styles appeared in The Glaswegian newspaper ahead of TNA’s return to Scotland on January 23. You can read an extended version of the interview at http://www.theglaswegian.co.uk/entertainment-lifestyle/2012/07/19/champion-wrestler-aj-styles-admits-he-s-addicted-to-videogames-102692-23910182/ - Mickie James starred on TalkSPORT Radio, chatting about the highlights of her wrestling career at http://www.talksport.co.uk/radio/extra-time/120711/beat-down-joe-amphlett-176369 - Finally DIY caught up with Magnus at the London Film & Comic Con for a chat about his time in TNA and the UK Gladiators TV show at http://tiny.cc/ylsyhw

Rob Van Dam Interview Highlights

The Phoenix New Times is featuring an interview with TNA wrestler, Rob Van Dam. Here are a few notes from the interview. RVD on the differences between wrestling for TNA and WWE: "In Total Nonstop Action, individual wrestlers have a lot more freedom to artistically express themselves versus WWE," Van Dam explained. "When we have our matches, they are known to be more athletic, more competitive in nature, and that's what wrestling fans really appreciate. And the fact there's more of a focus on wrestling in Total Nonstop Action over the other major company on TV. Whereas WWE has been known to feature more of the 400-pound giants that aren't necessarily going to [perform] quite as impressively. TNA focuses more on the wrestler's abilities and skills and gives them a chance to shine out there in front of the fans. "It's also more of an up-close-and-personal experience where wrestlers are more accessible and there's a lot of times spent on meeting the fans. And Bound For Glory will be no different and we'll be there on October 14 with a big meet-and-greet. The day before that is also something called 'TNA Fan InterAction,' which all the top stars will be there as well. People can meet and talk to their wrestlers and get their photos taken with 'em." RVD on Ryback asking him for permission to use his airbrush artist: "Ryback reached out to me and asked for permission to use the same airbrush artist that I use, Joe Holland in Savannah, Georgia," he said. "The guy's been making me the same outfits since like 1995 and he doesn't do a lot work for wrestlers. And I'm all for anyone that can make more business off of things they do for me. Ryback has my blessing [and] I'm flattered that he's a fan of mine. He's been very respectful in reaching out to me. I haven't met the guy but have nothing but respect for him."

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Mr Anderson Interview HIghlights

Mr. Anderson joined Washington Redskins defensive end Adam Carriker and Chuck Carroll on this week's "4th & Pain"—the only pro wrestling show hosted by an NFL player. More information on the show is available at 4thandpain.com. Highlights from the interview are as follows: Is he still happy in pro wrestling?: "I really am. And I think I've been reinvigorated. I took some time off a few months back... I took about four months off and took care of some personal things and just cleared my head. I've been in the business now for 13 years and was part of that major wrestling corporation for six or seven years. And the fact that we don't have an offseason and we go 52 weeks each year--that's what a lot of people don't realize--it does take its toll on your body, takes its toll on your mind. I will say that it's gone in waves. I've had some big ups in my career and I've had some lows. But overall I'm happy with every single thing I've done. I'm happy with the mistakes that I've made because I've learned from those mistake. I'm very happy with our company right now and the direction that it's going. I hope our fans are as excited about it as we are." How he got the idea to announce his name twice: "The microphone fun and two-time name announcing began in high school when he was tasked with creating a fake radio advertisement for invisible underwear. No, we're not making this up." The teacher encouraged him to get into radio and shortly there after he began announcing for the school's basketball games. It was there he would "add a little flare" and say the last names of the players twice. Flash forward 15 years later he was in Ohio Valley Wrestling and it happened . . . "I'm down at OVW and Paul Heyman suggested to me that I go out to the ring and announce myself," Anderson told the 4th & Pain crew. "And that was just something… I threw in the last Anderson, the second Anderson and I came I came back through the curtain everybody was like, 'That was awesome when you said your last name twice.' And it turned out that was what it took to get me to the dance. It seems so stupid, but just saying my last name twice… It's just those little things. " When Anderson's wrestling days are over he will have a future as a journalist. He asked Adam a question he'd never been asked in the three years he's been with the Redskins. The answer, for Redskins fans, was shocking!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

TNA Daffney Interview HIghlights

Former TNA Knockout Daffney recently spoke with Diva Dirt for the first time since filing her lawsuit against the company last year. Here are a few highlights from the interview. On being pigeonholed into doing hardcore spots: "It started off as Abyss asking me to take the tacks in the match and I agreed, then I think it snowballed from there. I almost wish I hadn't been painted in such a light that I was just hardcore and that I couldn't deliver a good match in the ring. I feel like there's so much more to my ring work. I may not be the best technical wrestler in the world, but I felt like I had learned enough of my sport that I could deliver some good matches. I don't think I was ever taken seriously after that. It was like, 'She's the one that's going to go out there and Taylor [Wilde]'s going to jump from the stage and put her through a table, but we're not actually going to see a good match'. [...] Looking back in hindsight, I almost wish things didn't go that route and that we had just more straight-up matches. I think that might've been good for me in the long run." The extent of her injuries: "I don't think people realize how badly I've been hurt. [...] I was there the night [in WCW] Goldberg kicked Bret [Hart] in the head and he had that crazy concussion. In the beginning of 2000, we were going to England for a tour and Bret was coming to do the tour with us and he was just going to be speaking. He said to me, we were on the bus talking, he said: 'I don't think I'll ever wrestle again'. I was like, wow. How many years has this man been wrestling? This is his entire life and he had a career-ending injury and he won't be able to do it anymore. [I thought] no, no, just give him some time. As time went on, he just never came back. I'm not comparing my career with his by any means -- he's an icon and he's Bret Hart -- but as time has gone on, I don't think I'm going to be able to wrestle anymore. I kind of had to think back on him telling me that, and be wise and stay away from the ring to accept it. It's really hard. I think if I got in the ring and took any more bumps, I wouldn't be able to function as a normal human being. It would just be too hard on my body." Her lawsuit against TNA: "What you guys have read about the details that just came out not too long ago, all of that is true. People expected it to be resolved very quickly, but just know that we're doing everything we can to move it along as quickly as possible but it takes two sides. It's still ongoing."

Velvet Sky Interview Higlights

The Post and Courier recently interviewed Velvet Sky, here are some highlights from the interview. The Knockouts division: "The Knockouts division is always going to be a strong division built around strong women. Back in 2007 when we all first started, it was very, very special. And it's not going to ever be like that again. Don't get me wrong. The group of girls that we have right now are great, and everybody gets along wonderfully. But the girls who I was with back in 2007 that helped start the division were special. It was just a special bond that we all shared. "We were all starting out in this new company, living out of our dreams at the exact same time, side by side. I can't say enough good things about those girls ... the likes of Roxxi (Laveaux), (Awesome) Kong, Taylor Wilde, Raesha (Saeed), just to name a few. It was such a wonderful, wonderful time for the Knockouts. It was such a great division of girls. The girls who aren't here anymore are missed deeply." Trying out for the WWE Diva Search prior to joining TNA: "Yes, I did. The only thing I'm going to say about that is the only reason I did that is because there were powers at be within that organization that told me they wanted to see me do it. Some higher-up people in the organization came to me and told me that they would like to see me do it. It's not a way that I wanted to break into wrestling. But if someone is basically telling you that they want to see you do this, then you do it. You bite the bullet and you do it. "I don't know what their intentions were telling me to do it or what their plans were, but I'm glad it didn't work out back then because I'm super happy in my spot here. Everything happens for a reason, and it just wasn't my time then. I'm glad I didn't get through."

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Lita & Rosita

Madison Rayne Pic

So Cal Val naked

Laycool Pic

WWE Torrie Bikini Pic

Kelly Kelly Ab Pic

CM Punk and Lita Pics

Thursday, 12 July 2012

TNA Destination X 2012 Review

Destination X 2012 Review By Phil Allely Destination X is TNA’s annual homage to the sometimes overlooked, but exhilarating X Division. During the companies humble beginnings it was the high-flying roster members of this division who lit up arenas and made TNA a viable number two promotion in the US. This years event offered forth a great looking main event, an undercard focusing mainly on the X Division grapplers and a few surprises along the way. However the lack of big name draws and numerous little known wrestlers did mean some matches played to poor reception. Austin Aries vacated his X title to face World Champion Bobby Roode in the main event of the show and what a blistering encounter they put forth. Given Aries had already shown his mettle against larger foes such as Bully Ray, his tackling of the top company heel in Roode was a match to look forward to. Both men traded near falls and the advantage throughout, offering up a believable scrap where the finish could not be predicted. The end came as Roode pulled every dirty trick out of his bag (including a belt shot and referee bump), Aries nailed a nice ‘brain buster’ to score the shock win for his first TNA World Heavyweight Title. Elsewhere the show kicked off with the ‘X Division Tournament Last Chance Qualifier‘. Here Rubix, Mason Andrews, Lars Only and Dakota Darsow squared off for a spot in the next match and possible shot . at the vacant X gold later on the show. The spot-fest was quick and crowd-warming at best, which Andrews won after some reasonable exchanges. Kid Kash versus Andrews followed directly and built momentum up in the arena. Veteran Kash was on fine form, but fell to a roll-up. UK star Doug Williams fell to up and comer Kenny King in a reasonable match next. Former TNA wrestler Sonjay Dutt received a decent pop from fans as he beat Rashad Cameron. Dutt showed no signs of ring rust in this encounter. Zema Ion bested Flip Casanova in a far too quick match that did not highlight either mans skills. The Bound For Glory Series match between Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe was a welcome addition to the card. The back and forth action livened up things nicely and worked well amongst their highflying peers matches. The finish came when Joe applied the ‘rear naked choke’ and Kurt passed, netting Joe 10 points for the win. Former buddies AJ Styles and Daniels’ ‘Last Man Standing’ encounter was a blinder, both men risking life and limb in and out of the ring. Interference by Kazarian couldn’t help his fellow tag Team Champion Daniels though as AJ hit a ‘Clash’ through a table to win. Ultimate X was, as expected, a flurry of high-risk moves, tope rope spots and much more as the steel structure ‘X ropes’ came into play. Zema Ion overcame Dutt (via hairspray assist) to grab the title belt. The main event bout between Roode and Aries rounded this hit and miss PPV off in style. Destination X was yet another event where the company showed its support for its younger roster members. The crowing of Austin Aries as champ will shake up the title picture, and the emphasis on the once winning formula of X Division performers worked very well indeed. With no sign of Hogan and many others, this was a night that belonged to the often neglected and yet so refreshing high-flying TNA stars. We all knew Slammiversary would be a hard act to follow and that an X Division heavy event would be a hot and cold affair. That said this was a decent offering from the always improving Impact Wrestling crew.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Angelina Love and TNA part ways

A Beautiful Departure By Phil Allely TNA and former five-time Knockouts Champion Angelina Love have parted ways according to news sources. According to reports the former member of the hugely successful and popular Beautiful People tag team (alongside fellow Knockout Velvet Sky) and TNA management have agreed to part company amicably. Love’s most recent storyline saw her having some sort of hypnotic hold on UK grappler Winter and plans were seemingly afoot to reboot the Beautiful People combo too. Love’s peers wished her well on Twitter as the news broke here are a few of them. Velvet Sky: such a damn shame. So much still to do here. I know you are going to move on to big things, good luck and as always I love you. Tara: Good luck, you will have success no matter where your journey takes you. Madison Rayne: I’ll miss seeing your beautiful face. I can’t wait to see the awesome things you are about to accomplish though. Angelina Love is now taking booking for indy shows and events under the name of Angel Williams.

Austin Aries Interview Highlights

TNA X Division Champion Austin Aries Interview Highlights. TNA X Division Champion Austin Aries is set to face the company’s world Heavyweight Champion Bobby Roode at the upcoming Destination X Pay-Per-View. This past week the much lauded highflyer took part in a conference call to discuss this match, his TNA career to date and much more. Here are the highlights from the many questions directed at A-Double. It seems your second run with TNA has really rejuvenated your career – how did it help you reset yourself emotionally and how would you compare the challenges of the last year to your first run with TNA? AA: I think that right before I came back to TNA I had made the decision to just sort of step away from wrestling. I really walked into it holding nothing back and let the chips fall where they fell. I think everything comes down to the right opportunity at the right time. Comparing my two runs in TNA is that maybe with my first run the time wasn’t right and on the second time I kinda feel like they’ve gave me some rope and they will either let me climb the ladder or hang myself: so far I’ve been climbing. You’ve reached the main event in such a short amount of time: how does it compare with what you expected when you re-signed? AA: When I walked in I didn’t really have any expectations, I just knew that I had to take everything one step at a time. This time I tried to have patience and just let my work speak for itself and let the opportunities present themselves then take advantage of them. I don’t think I would have seen myself in this position only a year after being with the company but I’ve always been confident in my ability and I belong at the top of the card. Are you surprised the fans have really embraced you? AA: I don’t really know as I’m sometimes a pretty polarizing figure, which has been said before about me, and I garner some reaction as at the end of the day that’s what we want, some sort of reaction. Negative or positive is good but if people are indifferent then they probably won’t spend money to see what you do. Facing off against a guy like Bobby Roode, who is universally disliked, makes it easier for people to get behind me. Could you give us any indication with how far you went with applying for the WWE programme Tough Enough? AA: I don’t think I want to get too much into that but basically it was just an audition for a television show. People seem to want to heap more meaning on it than what it really was. I was dealing with a talent agency and I wasn’t dealing directly with the company (WWE) as I would just go to auditions for acting, too, and I didn’t get them: it may not reflect you as an actor or in this case a wrestler. It was one of those things where they asked if I would mind having my name thrown in the hat and I felt I had nothing to lose but I certainly wasn’t pinning my hopes on it. As with any actor you go out for a lot of different roles and sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t. You had left wrestling by the point you received the call from TNA: what made you decide to go back given the first run with them? AA: I was given a second chance and it was nice to have the opportunity to go back there. At that point it was a pay day and I didn’t have anything going on that week, so, why not? I had nothing to lose! Its well known you take a lot of pride in your performances but what pride have you had with previous championships you have won and may go onto win? AA: I don’t think everyone is equipped to win titles and with whatever championships I have held I like to think it was with a certain professionalism that makes people look at it and go “OK, this title has worth and means something.” I’ve had some big shoes to fill with belts in the past but all you can do is go out there and put your best foot forward. Plus every time you step out there make people feel like they are seeing the main event and hopefully we will do that at Destination X. I think Roode’s belt has a lot of worth right now and the X Division title does, too. If you do win the World Championship at Destination X would you compete in X Division style matches as World champ? Or decide to go after bigger men like Bully Ray? AA: I’ve always felt I would be comfortable in the ring with anybody, really. Whether it is a cruiserweight, a heavyweight, or a hard-hitting style. I bring my own style, a hybrid, of X Division wrestling to a match yet I have proved I can get in there with the Bully Rays, the Samoa Joes and now Bobby Roode. If I won the heavyweight championship the matches would be wrestled as Austin Aries style matches which I think is a win-win for everybody. What advice would you give to anyone wanting to break into wrestling given that TNA has started Gut Check? AA: The most important thing is where you will do your training; when you start I think you’re like an empty canvas so whatever you are told is going to stick. Biggest thing is go somewhere that has a good reputation and from there it’s all about how much you want to put into it. It’s a marathon not a sprint and if you look at the guys who have persisted over the decades you will see if you have talent you will be successful. What sort of interaction do you have with the Gut Check people? AA: I have known some of them previously so I am always willing to give 5 or 10 minutes of my time to talk wrestling and I always enjoy a good conversation about that subject. You have wrestled for over a decade for various companies which have allowed you to polish your act: how useful has that been in TNA? Is that an advantage over others? AA: I like to think that it is as a lot of guys who have success have honed their craft in a lot of different places. There is a certain experience level I think you will only get from working the indie scene. So I’m thankful for all the experience and different places I have been and different wrestlers and styles I’ve worked with. Now that IMPACT has gone live do you think that helps you think on your feet? AA: I think everybody amps it up another half a notch because were live. Not that we never did before as we all want to go out and be our most professional but now there is no safety net. I love being live and I hope it continues beyond summer as it’s a step in the right direction for TNA. Out of the current Ring of Honor roster who would you most like to see in TNA and wrestle against? Guys that come to mind are guys that I’ve trained with like Rhett Titus and Kenny King who I think are a great tag team. They’ve worked very hard to get to the point that they are at plus I helped train Rhett so there’s a little favouritism there. Another one of my trainee’s, Grizzly Redwood, I think would be a great addition to any roster as he’s a unique character that not a lot of guys in the business can fill that role and he’s a nice guy and a hard worker. So, right off the top of my mind those are the guys I’d go to bat for. Do you think anyone will better your X Division Championship for how long it lasted? AA: I don’t know it’s crazy when I start to think about how long I’ve had this thing. It’s unfortunate in terms of injuries and departures when it comes to numbers for more competition for me. I think that is something that will change which means any future X Division champ will have a hard time keeping the belt for as long and again “Option C” is that this belt will become a real hot commodity every time Destination X rolls around: everyone’s going to be gunning for this belt and it will have more importance that it does now. That will make it harder to keep around peoples waists. Could you tell us about your X title run? You beat the previous record for length set by Chris Daniels and now you’re vacating it: how does that feel instead of losing it? AA: Yeah it’s going to leave me with some bragging rights to say that no one beat me for the championship as I relinquished it which is pretty rare. That was an opportunity that was presented in front of me so to wrestle Roode at Destination X was something I had to seriously consider. I tried to make the best decision that would leave me in a better position as well as the championship. As far as being the longest reigning X Division Champion it’s pretty remarkable due to all the men who have held it over the years but when you look back say 5 years there really was a lot of competition and I came in just as they were rebooting the division. That gave me a leg up as I am a little more experienced and have a reputation before me and some of the guys I would have liked to face were either injured or not here. My run has done great things for me but I feel I have done all I can do with it and its time for me to step up. In your two runs with TNA are there any moments that stand out for you personally? AA: Honestly, that second time and securing the contract was a big moment for me: when I came back there were no promises. So winning that and the X title stand out but when I wrestle Roode at Destination X that will be the biggest. How does it feel to work alongside wrestling icons like Hulk Hogan and Sting? AA: It can be surreal at times if you let that inner child think about it. I told a friend last week the 10 year old me would be giddy if he knew Hulk Hogan was telling me how great I am in a wrestling ring. Guys like Hogan and Kurt Angle have done so much in this business and it means so much so when you get compliments off them because it means a lot more from them than from others. Now you are leaving the X Division do you feel TNA still need to put the division in main events and push it? AA: There will always be debate where the X Division should fit in the company if it’s meant to be a secondary or special attraction title. The important thing is to keep bringing strong talent in and if it remains a way for that talent to get a foot up the ladder I think the title will still be an important thing to the company. Is there another wrestler who you would like to see as ‘the face of the Division’? AA: Again, it’s injuries as I think Chris Sabin was ready to step things up when he got hurt. I think Jesse Sorensen was a guy on that same track till his injury so it’s left the division a little bit thin, more so with me stepping out. In the next couple of weeks you’re going to see a lot of new and old faces and I think that will make it exciting and hopefully a guy will step up to the plate much like I did a year ago. During that first TNA run you were attached to Kevin Nash who was seen as a hindrance for the X Division: what is your opinion of him? AA: For me, personally, I have nothing but fond memories of Kevin when we did the Paparazzi Productions thing. I think Kevin’s a really great guy, a smart business guy when it comes to what we do. I felt nothing but positive vibes from him, the other guys involved would agree. Those skits were one of the most fun things I have done in wrestling, just a bunch of guys going out and having fun. There was always this perception that Nash didn’t like smaller guys or he used the thing to better just himself but I never sensed that as I felt in a couple of situations he had our backs because he wanted the company to do the best they could for us. What’s your opinion on when you worked with Bully Ray? AA: I enjoyed it, I knew it would be a physical test, I knew it was going to be a mental test and I like to think I passed both of those. Bully Ray is not a guy who will blow smoke up your ass; he’s going to tell you exactly how it is. You know you will get an honest opinion with him and it was more important than anything that when we had that match I knew he had respect for me. I thought we had a great match, we pushed each other and the match was very entertaining. Do you have any special preparations before big matches? AA: Er, peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a cup of coffee on the day? The flavours play off against each other really well. Probably go to the gym, a good stretch, nothing too special: I have a routine I stick to. With big matches it’s too easy to get too hyped too soon so the biggest thing is to remain loose and focus on what my job is. You’ve been critical of ROH, what is it about the company that changed to make you negative towards it? AA: I don’t want to really, erm, talk about other companies on this conference call. Let’s just say that the people who first ran that place once they left ROH it caused things to change. I think that the original vision and energy is not what it once was. If you look back at the different talents they once had you’ll just shake your head and say “Wow, they had a lot of talent, once!” but that energy and passion they had which was different from other companies is something I’m not sure still exists. There is a new emphasis on reality television in TNA: what are your thoughts on this? AA: It’s a slippery slope, you know, because there are elements of what we do that can have the curtain pulled back a bit and there are real life situations that if we wanted to do our fans would be interested but you only want to pull the curtain back so far. I think we will take it slow and not put a product out there that feels over produced. We want to feel that what comes out of a performer’s mouth is theirs and is real. Just let the talent shine, give them some instruction but let the talent fill in the blanks and with us trying to touch closer to home and reality I think people will appreciate it. How do you feel about the growing influence of social media websites? AA: Obviously it’s been huge as to how to stay connected with the world because of things like twitter, @AustinAries in case you’re interested, or facebook. I think we have to be careful not to rely on it too much, we want to keep fans in the loop but we want to make sure that with the fans who don’t use these things aren’t put off and make them feel they can still get involved. Do you feel your current run in TNA is vilification for those promoters who wouldn’t get behind you in the past? AA: I’m not going to say that I don’t walk around with a chip on my shoulder as I think I have my whole life but to be honest it’s nice to get an opportunity and feel your taking advantage of it. Maybe showing some people and places what you can do when given a chance and my second time in TNA has given me the chance to prove some of what I’ve said. If you’re not stirring the pot then you’re not doing something right. Would you tell us about your route into wrestling and training? AA: The things I learned the most was respect for the business and the basics. My trainers, Eddie Sharkey and Terry Fox, were old school and very carnie. I got a glimpse of the old guard of wrestling so really what was hammered home was basics and respect. Those are the two most important things to have a foundation to build on like a house and if you don’t have them the house collapses. Who influenced your work? AA: Jerry Lynn comes to mind and Sean Waltman. Small wrestlers and I grew up watching Crockett Promotions so they influenced me like the Horsemen who were on there. Later you have the Eddie Guerreros and Dean Malenkos, guys that were believable as they were guys that did it with conviction. How important do you think it is to do PPV’s internationally? AA: It’s been talked about; the live shows in England are just amazing with the energy. As part of our growth it is certainly something we want to explore and should do. Other than your match what are you looking forward to at Destination X? AA: Well other than my match I say my match! AJ vs. Daniels in Last Man Standing: I don’t see how that can’t be good. Then obviously crowning a new X Division champion, which will be a big moment. The whole card will be great from top to bottom, especially the top. Are you tired of Orlando? AA: I’m not tired, its only 90 minutes way from my home which is nice but for growth we should take it on the road. But to take us on the road is the next step to a company that will grow in the eyes of the fans. You have headlined shows elsewhere so what does it mean to you to main event your first TNA PPV? AA: To make that leap from not having a job here a year ago to main eventing a pay-per-view it a great feeling. I have main evented over the years so it’s the same mindset just a few more eyes and cameras watching. I’m looking forward to wrestling a guy the calibre of Bobby Roode and it’s my chance to shut up or put up. Austin Aries wrestles TNA World Champion Booby Roode live at the Destination X PPV on July 8th in the U.S. Destination X is on Challenge TV on Wednesday July 11th at 10pm. www.impactwrestling.com By Phil Allely