Austin Aries and his crotch are not very well-liked in TNA at the moment. The standout heel took his bad-guy persona a bit too far this past week on Impact when he responded erratically to TNA ring announcer Christy Hemme getting his entrance wrong.
Hemme incorrectly introduced Aries and tag team partner Bobby Roode as Kazarian and Daniels. Aries immediately reacted. He cornered the former WWE Diva, who corrected herself accordingly. Aries then stood atop the second turnbuckle, allowing her to gaze directly into his unmentionables.
Her nervous laughter made it clear that this was not a work.
Hemme would go on to post her displeasure on Twitter, calling Aries' actions "unacceptable." That tweet has since been deleted.
Wrestling commentators, like former WCW announcer Mark Madden, are already calling for Aries' head. Save it, Mark. He's not going anywhere.
Aries' cryptic, irreverent, pun-filled response to Hemme's tweet is one indicator that this issue may have already blown over internally. Said Aries:
Pretty nuts, some of the junk people get the balls to say over the net, knowing they couldn't to your face...Eh, anyway, time to sack out.— Austin Healy Aries (@AustinAries) May 12, 2013
Unfortunately, this is a situation where TNA's lack of mainstream exposure will be a blessing in disguise. TNA is an independent company with limited sponsors. There will be no pressure from shareholders for TNA to take action, so it'll be easier to chalk this one up to Aries "just being a heel."
TNA dealt with a similar incident of over-heeling with Bully Ray in March. While confronting fans alongside the Aces and Eights stable, Bully Ray began using derogatory sexual slurs that were caught on tape. Since it was after the show and clearly not part of the act, Bully Ray was forced to apologize as TNA soldiered forward.
Aries' actions happened during the show, so it'll be easier for the former world champion to hide behind the alibi of being in character. Plus gay rights are the hot-button political issue right now, which is why Bully Ray and the Nashville-based promotion were so quick to issue an apology.
Sexual harassment is so '90s.
Action should be taken. At the very least, Aries should be sent to sensitivity training. But given all the money TNA continues to spend going live and taking Dixie's pet project on the road, such action may be seen as an unnecessary expense.
Aries has benefited from the blurred lines of reality that are never more blurred than in pro wrestling. The outrage just isn't there with the right people. There's nothing to see here.