The #SpeakingOut movement saw several wrestlers being called out for sexual misconduct and that includes the likes of Austin Aries. It seems the accusations continue to bother him.
Aries recently spoke on the Ryback Show, where he talked about his current life after WWE. He continues to be in good shape and focus on himself. He talked about the #SpeakingOut allegations against him, particularly talking about Christy Hemme accusing him of sexual harassment during his time in TNA years ago.
He said that it was difficult to deal with the label of being a sexual harasser, leading to a very dark time in his life.
“Let me put this out there: it’s changing, and that’s part of the appeal why I’m open to coming back. But the pro wrestling I grew up in, in 2000, is a lot different than it is now. The culture, and what’s accepted, and the sh*t I had to navigate around not being liked by a lot of the people that were in positions of power, that took a toll. I’m very proud of where I’ve gotten and the things that I achieved without having to kind of sell-out to that and not really changing my moral compass.”
“So, my podcast really came out after the #SpeakingOut Movement happened, and my name kind of got thrown out there with the Christy Hemme incident and some other allegations that were thrown out there. And for me, it was kind of the straw to say, ‘alright. I always knew if I was ever going to let people in because I’m still kind of carrying kayfabe, and when I’m done, when I feel like I’m content, then I’ll open up and I’ll really let people in. I put the first two out, and it was really just telling my story of how I got into wrestling, the realities of the culture I was in, what was accepted and not, and what the expectations were.”
“After that incident in 2013, again, that on-air interaction between me and [Christy Hemme], I got classified as a sexual harasser. And that, for me, was really difficult. It turned me very dark and I really leaned into it. ‘If this is what you think of me and who I am, well then, I’ll give you that,’ because as we know as wrestlers, the most important thing is to listen to the reaction. I don’t care if it’s good or bad, so I leaned into the bad because it was easy. But that slow and steady rode me personally; it takes a toll.”
“So when those things came out, I had to go and talk to my boss at Bioxcellerator and go, ‘Hey, this is coming out but I got this under control. There’s no legitimacy to it.’ So, I thought it was kind of important to have my voice out there, my story, and now that I’ve done that, it’s out there. You can listen to it, you don’t have to listen to it. You can believe it, you can not believe it. I don’t really care, but now that I put that out there and it’s out there on the record, I can move forward. Now, I can have Sarah on there, we can do that podcast, have you [Ryback] come in, and we can talk about stuff that I really care about.”
“Again, right now in this world, to talk about a fake world of pro wrestling to help people forget about problems, that doesn’t really resonate with me. There are big problems we got to tackle, so I’m not really super interested in helping people forget about them. So, we’ll see. The word ‘retirement’ will never come out of any pro wrestler’s mouth if they have any common sense, because we don’t retire. So right now, I’m cool. I got other things I’m focused on. Yes, there are some places I’m keeping an eye on. Yes, there’s been some opportunities, and when the time is right, maybe I’ll take it.”
We will have to see what is next in Ausin Aries’ professional wrestling career.