Austin Aries spoke with the Toronto Sun about his wrestling career. From early beginnings to becoming the belt collector, Aries explains how being an indie wrestler can work ‘nowadays. He has competed for Impact Wrestling, WWE and Ring of Honor alongside a plethora of independent promotions over the years. Over the time he has honed his craft and become more of a weapon in the ring. Now Aries is known as ‘The Belt Collector’ for good reason.
Aries has become a phenomenon in the wrestling industry. With several Championships from around the world currently on his waist and a Hall of Fame worthy resume- Aries is one of the most well-versed competitors around.
That being said, Aries didn’t start off this way.
“When I started out, I was living on my buddy’s couch and I’d give plasma twice a week. I’d get like $25 the first time, then $35 the second time, that was $60 a week just to give some plasma,” he said. “Those first couple of years — I broke out of Minneapolis — there were probably only maybe a half dozen places in a five- to eight-hour driving radius. My first couple of years, I was working a handful of times each month if I was lucky. Then I had to start branching out and driving to Chicago, Milwaukee. You shook some hands and met some guys who ran some shows further out. If you were willing to drive 12 or 14 hours, you had a whole new bunch of places you could work. Finally, I’d made enough of a name to where the ECWA Super 8 was willing to fly me out and put me in a hotel. That was like a big moment for me. That’s when I started to see this was viable, I could do this for a living.
“Now it’s not just like can you make a living, you can make a good living being an independent pro wrestler — travel the world, take a week off when you want, stay an extra three days in Australia if you want to do it. It’s cool to have that freedom and control of your life and enjoy what you’re doing and also have the creative output on top of that.”
As Aries explains, he started off with nothing. As time progressed, he was able to take more risky bookings to continue to grow as a performer- ultimately making more money in the process.
The way Aries lives his life has enabled him to succeed and continue to wrestle in such tough physical shape over the years.
“I’m enjoying my life and career as much now as I ever have. I think I’m having some of my best matches, I’m getting the most out of what I’m doing out there. I feel good physically, as good as I have in quite some time. The yoga’s been helping, the DDP Yoga. I’ve been sticking to my plant-based diet. All those things contribute to me feeling: ‘Do I have another decade in me, is the best yet to come?’ I hung out with Diamond Dallas Page in Atlanta earlier in the year and he said to me: ‘Hey bro, my career didn’t even start until I was your age, you could have a whole career ahead of you.’ That really put things in perspective. Sometimes it can be put in your head that this is a young man’s business. I’m having my most fun ever and I think the people are having the most fun watching me. Those are the best kind of matches, it’s not always about how many stars the match is.”
Do you agree or disagree with the comments made by Aries? Do you feel he has a good idea of what the indie scene is like? Sound off in the comments below.