Austin Aries is making the most of his second run in TNA Impact Wrestling.
He has climbed his way to the top, competing in the main event against world champion Bobby Roode on Sunday, July 8 at the TNA Destination X pay-per-view from Universal Studios Orlando.
The longest reigning X Division champion in history returned to the company a year ago with a renewed passion for the business.
“I think right before I came back to TNA, I kind of made a decision to step away from wrestling,” Aries said during a recent conference call. “I think coming to that decision helped me gain some perspective, and when this new opportunity presented itself, I really walked into it holding nothing back. I really put all I had into it and let the chips fall where they may. I think everything comes down to the right opportunity at the right time.
The Austin Aries who left the promotion in 2007 is not the same one who returned in 2011.
“Comparing my two runs with TNA, maybe the first time around the timing wasn’t right or the opportunities weren’t quite what I was hoping for,” Aries said. “On the second time around they gave me some rope either to climb the ladder or hang myself. So far I’ve been climbing…
“Honestly when I walked in, I didn’t have any expectations. I just knew I had opportunity and took it one step at a time. What I did try to have this time around was patience and let my work speak for itself. Let the opportunities present themselves and then take advantage of them. I don’t think I would have foreseen myself being in this situation after a year in the company, but I’ve always been confident in my abilities and appreciate the opportunity to prove my talent and that I belong at the top of the card.”
Interesting enough, before his latest stint in TNA began, he had auditioned for the newest season of WWE’s reality competition “Tough Enough.” He wasn’t chosen, but if his success is any indication, everything happens for a reason.
“It was basically an audition for a television show,” Aries said. “People kind of want to [make more if it] more than it is, but I was dealing with a talent agency. I wasn’t dealing directly with the company itself and the decisions that were made were made through them. I’ve done other stuff outside of wrestling where I’ve gone to auditions for different roles and parts and didn’t get them. It has nothing to do with acumen as an actor or, in this case, as a wrestler, but more or less what they are looking for to fill those roles.
“It was one of those situations where I was asked if I wanted to throw my hat in the ring. I had really nothing to lose, but it certainly wasn’t something I was pinning my hopes on or that devastated me. Anyone who is an actor in the entertainment business, you go out for a lot of different roles. Sometimes you get the part, and sometimes you don’t.”
When the call from TNA came, Aries was ready.
“You don’t always get second chances,” Aries said. “I thought it would have been nice to just go back and see the opportunity that was there. At the very least, I would leave things on a better note. Honestly, at that point, it was a great opportunity and a payday. I figured I had nothing going on that week, so why not? I had nothing to lose.”