Austin Aries Opens Up About Bound For Glory 2018 Controversy & Plans Changing

Former Impact World Champion Austin Aries recently participated in a sit-down interview with Chris Van Vliet to discuss his career.

Aries was given the opportunity to open up about the controversial ending to Bound For Glory 2018 where he lost the Impact World Title clean to Johnny Impact, no-sold the finish and walked out with a middle finger up toward the commentators.

A-Double claimed that the pay-per-view finish was planned, but some things changed along the way:

“The part where I got up and walked off, and f*cked everyone off and sh*t; I didn’t go into business for myself. There were other people that were aware that was going to happen. There was a plan for me to return. It was my idea, an idea I pitched for a reason and that those people knew of. (It was approved) by the people that needed to approve it and needed to know.”

When asked if Morrison knew, Aries stated, “I’m not sure. I don’t know if I told him. It didn’t matter for him. I do believe he knew,” before later saying, “I’m pretty sure John knew. I said, ‘Post-match, 1, 2, 3 — 4, 5, 6, I’m gonna get up and I’m gonna fuck everybody off and walk to the back and you can sit there like ‘What the fuck.” That wasn’t supposed to be ‘end scene.’”

“The original finish for the match was me (going) over. They called and told me that months before,” Aries recalled. “I had been signing three (to) six-month deals, staying in that honeymoon phase. I told them, ‘I don’t want to work for you, I’ll work with you.’ I wanted to keep my flexibility. I was able to get more traction in other companies working as their champion because I wasn’t under a deal where [other companies] had to deal with [IMPACT]. They had such a bad reputation that it was a God send for these other companies to go, ‘I can have you on [our show] and only have to deal with you? Yeah, it’s good.’ I’m spreading good will for the company. People know what they get with me. I’m as professional as they come. I do what I say, I show up, I perform. I said, ‘I will take less money to keep my flexibility because I can do more for you and for me by having that flexibility. When I lock myself in and become another salary, I’m not interested in that. And that number is not one you want to pay.’ I was signing these short deals and I never planned on going anywhere as long as things were cool, which means communicating.”

He continued, “They called me before and said, ‘We want to keep [the title] on you, keep the continuity, offer you a long term deal.’ I mentioned in the call, ‘there would be nothing wrong with giving [the title] to John, kinda like the Pentagon run, to freshen it up. The guy looks like $1 million, you’re trying to get a TV deal, he’s on Survivor, he’d look good on a poster. Give it to him for a little bit and if you want to put it back on me and heat me up for Sami, we can do that.’”

“Less than a week or so before the event, I was doing some media, and intuition kicks in. I made a phone call to make sure everything was still as planned. ‘Actually, champ. We think we’re gonna do a title switch at the pay-per-view.’ I was like, ‘motherfuckers.’ I don’t give a fuck about dropping the belt. I do care about the fact that you’re deciding this after we did eight weeks of TV and now you just made me a liar. Secondly, I wasn’t led into this whole change of plans. Communication was an important part of our process. I’m put off by what’s becoming a lack of transparency and communication, which was most important in our relationship,” he said.

“They send me an extension. Instead of the long-term deal like they said, they send it last minute when I’m flying over. It’s an old negotiating tactic, wait until the 48th hour, put him in a corner and now I gotta make a decision. Unfortunately, this time, I wasn’t blinking. I sent something back and said, ‘draw something up that gets us through TV because I’m not gonna sign on for the same terms for another three-six months. We waited all this time and all this shit changed.’ My intention was — I have no problem dropping the title — but I need to create a moment for [John]. When I think of a title, I want to pick what I think is my opponent’s weakness and I want to strengthen it. With John, this guy has everything. But is he mean? If I go spit in his wife’s face, what’s he going to do? Is he going to fight me? Is he tough? I’ve never seen that side. Let me see if I can pull that out.”

“I look at it like this, the plan was for me to comeback. Let’s figure out this contract deal and the real way for me to comeback. We have a month now. And they dropped the ball,” he said. “They waited until the last minute to put the same offer in front of me that had been in front of me before. With everything that had gone down, my counter was ‘let me be in creative.’ No offense, but I did more in a week with a tweet than you did in eight weeks with TV. I’m just here to help, I’m not a decision maker, I’m an ideas guy. They passed on that. Around December, I declined on the contract. With all due respect to the talent there, nothing they’ve done as a company since (I left) has made me regret my decision. If anything, I made the right one. In a lot of ways, I think I was holding some of that shit together.”

According to Aries, he would’ve dropped the title to Johnny, won it back, then eventually dropped it to a babyface Sami Callihan. Whether that was the plan or not, things seemed to work out for Callihan, who is now the reigning Impact World Champion.

The entire Aries interview is an interesting two-hour conversation where he talks about his time in WWE, ROH, Impact and other topics. Be sure to check it out in the video at the top of the page.

H/T to Fightful for the audio transcription.


  1. […] CJ Blaze recapped comments that Austin Aries made in an interview with Chris Van Vliet about the controversial ending to Bound […]

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