Super X Cup winner Ace Austin has opened up about the origins of his gimmick, saying it was totally “accidental” and revealing why he went down that route as opposed to pursuing a “skateboarder” character – one of his passions outside of wrestling.
Speaking with Inside The Ropes‘ Lead Writer Gary Cassidy, Austin would reveal how he’s actually been fooling everyone – as he has zero magic experience – and was simply paying homage to his favourite superhero, Gambit from X-Men.
“No, the magician element was it was totally accidental. It was not intended at all. I’m not a magician, I don’t really know any magic tricks. It was a Gambit thing.”
The former X-Division Champion went on to say that the ‘Gambit’ similarity was a route he went down after developing his own original childhood idea.
“So, when I originally came up with the character idea, it was when I was a young kid and it was because, when I used to play the video games, I always put this tattoo on my character – I don’t know why, I just always felt compelled to put the cards on my character’s shoulder.”
As Ace Austin shows off his perfectly described tattoo, which now features on his own upper arm, the IMPACT starlet went on to reveal how it was the fans who initially bridged the gap between that character and the Marvel hero.
“From doing that, year after year, in these video games, it was just like… I just thought about this “Ace” idea, this “Ace” character. That seed always stayed implanted in my brain and then, as I got older and eventually I started training, it was like I was able to connect those dots. Purple and blue were just my favorite colors. I had the “ace up the sleeve” idea. I thought it was clever, I thought it would be good character stuff. So, I just ran with that and then fans would would say, “Oh, I love the Gambit thing.” And I was always like, “What?” I didn’t even think about it. And then like, ‘Obviously, OK. Yeah, totally. It totally does scream that.'”
Austin revealed how he would then discover more attire and props to fit his look, and decided to simply go “full Gambit” – while remaining true to his original idea.
“As I got further into my career and I found the big trench coat, I was like, ‘Oh man, this is kind of perfect. I have to do this.’ And then when I discovered the stick, the wand, I was like, ‘I have got to go full Gambit.’ So I did. I think it was a cool nod because superheroes are probably my biggest influence, really, so I thought it was kind of a perfect way to be able to show myself through. The best way to be a pro wrestler is to put yourself into what you do, it’s the best way to be authentic.”
Of course, for people who didn’t make the jump to Gambit, Austin’s character was simply a magician – something which he acknowledges the stigma attached to in wrestling.
“But then people that didn’t think ‘Gambit’ thought ‘magician’ so it kind of just like spiraled into this whole thing, and then I did magic gags just for fun, just for the certain situations – but, yeah, that’s definitely a stigma I really try to stay away from as much as possible now, because it’s exactly that, you know, you tell somebody magician and they think it’s probably kind of lame, like a pro wrestling sense.”
So, why did the parkour enthusiast choose magic, and not his actual passion of skateboarding to base it on? Of course, it had nothing to do with Darby Allin having a similar character, as the AEW TNT Champion is less than five years older than Austin. That was a decision made long before the IMPACT star had ever even seen Allin in action.
“See, that’s the thing. The reason I didn’t do anything with the skateboard at the beginning… Like ‘Ace’ was always the plan, but I totally wanted to add a skateboard element way back. Then I saw Rob Dyrdek. He teamed with Roddy Piper in a match on Fantasy Factory or whatever. I can’t remember the details, but I remember him dropping in and skateboarding to the ring and it was awesome. And I was like, ‘Right, I can’t… I can never do that.’ When I saw that, ‘I can’t’ because I thought, like, ‘Oh, people are just going to think of that.’ Wrestling fans, they might not have, they probably wouldn’t have, but I don’t think I needed it. I think it was a better decision not to add that element to my character for sure.”
Austin reiterated that he doesn’t need that as an element of his character, but admits Darby Allin having it nailed down is another reason to steer clear.
“Now especially I wouldn’t do it because Darby is so, so good with what he’s doing.”
But what of a dream match with the AEW star? Well, Ace Austin says it is “certainly appealing” before reminiscing about a match the pair had two years ago.
“Those are certainly appealing. I actually wrestled Darby Allin in Rhode Island for an indie company called XWA, and that was awesome! It was really, really amazing. And this is probably two years ago now that happened.”
Ace Austin went on to also mention Sammy Guevara, Brian Cage and PAC as AEW dream matches for him, but says his immediate sights are on Rich Swann as he aims to become the youngest ever IMPACT World Champion.
You can read our full interview with Ace Austin here.
Thanks so much to Ace Austin for taking the time, and to IMPACT UK & Ireland for facilitating the interview. Fans in the UK & Ireland can catch IMPACT! every week on IMPACT Plus Wednesday on Facebook & YouTube, and catch all IMPACT PPVs via IMPACT Plus and Fite TV worldwide.