Santana And Ortiz On Impact Wrestling Being “Chaos” When They First Started, Differences In AEW (podcasts.apple.com)

On a recent episode of the Talk Is Jericho podcast, Chris Jericho had on his fellow Inner Circle members, Santana and Ortiz. The tag team talked about their time in AEW so far, and Ortiz called it “a huge learning experience.”

“It’s been a huge learning experience because, I’ve talked about this before, but in IMPACT, we had Konan kind of leading us into stuff. And here, we’re kind of left to our own devices,” Ortiz pointed out. “The stuff that we learned there, and with you, and other people to kind of help us and guide us along the way, it’s been a huge learning curve, and I love it because it’s been a new challenge.

“We’ve had to be more self-sufficient and come up with ideas on our own and stuff like that, and I love it. I love the work environment and the people. I think we made the best choice to come here. It’s been a great year so far.”

Santana recalled the first time they were contacted by IMPACT through Jeremy Borash. The two had been a tag team on the indies for nearly a decade, and after that call, Santana admitted that he hugged his daughter with the thought that their big break was coming.

“We get that call, and I remember getting off the phone with Borash and I just hugged my daughter as tight as I could, because I was like, ‘this could be it. This could be something,’ and I don’t have to worry, s–t, next week, if we got enough to do groceries,” Santana said. “Then maybe like 30 minutes later, I got a call from a 619 area code. Konnan called me. That was the first time I ever spoke with him.”

Ortiz explained how Konnan came into contact with them through current NXT star, Swerve. He said Swerve had brought up their names when Konnan wanted to bring in new talent for another version of LAX.

“The story goes, Jeff [Jarrett] had hit up Konan and was like, ‘hey, I want you to come back.’ They wanted him to come back and be a mouthpiece for someone, and he was like, ‘nah, if I’m going to come back, I want to bring back LAX, and I want Homicide with me. But I need two new cats.'” Ortiz recalled. “Konnan, he’s always trying to find new talent.

“Through word of mouth, Shane Strickland – Swerve in NXT, at the moment he was working with Konnan in Lucha Underground, and he just threw our name to him. And he was like, ‘hey, I know two Puerto Ricans there. They’re a tag team. You want two Latinos? Here you go,’ and he did some research on us. He looked up some matches on YouTube.”

Jericho asked what their time in IMPACT was like. Ortiz admitted that it was hectic due to the changing of leadership from Dixie Carter to Jeff Jarrett. He also revealed that when they first won the tag team titles, they found out about it at the last minute.

“It was hectic. There was a lot going on,” Ortiz remarked. “There was a changing of the guard. So Jarrett was taking it back over from Dixie [Carter], so there was a lot going on. Then there was a new regime coming in. The guys that were there from Dixie, they were kind of on their way out. They were bringing in new people to kind of run stuff.

“So there was just a million things going on, and they got it together, especially towards the end when we left. They got a smaller crew. They had less cooks in the kitchen and a lot more things got done, but during that time, it was chaos honestly. We had no idea what was going on. The day that they put the tag title on us was our second day in the company. We had no contract signed, no nothing.

“We didn’t even know we were winning the titles. Scott D’Amore was the agent of the match. So, we walk up, we’re talking about the match, and we’re just like, ‘yeah, we’re calling it.’ Alright, cool, and then he’s like, ‘yeah, LAX is up and it’s for the titles.’ And then we just look at each other, and we’re just like, ‘okay, alright.’ We play it cool, whatever. The meeting breaks. We walk off to the corner, and we’re like, ‘what the f–k is going on?'”

Santana discussed the time when their contracts were expiring and they had to think about whether they wanted to re-sign with the company or move elsewhere. He noted that they had accomplished all they could in IMPACT, and they felt they had to go somewhere else in order to achieve their goals to be the best tag team they can be.

“Up to that point, we had eight months left in our contract and we started talking. At that point, we were already four-time tag champs there. We did every major match that they had, we had worked all the guys there, and we’ve always told each other that the only way to get better is to continue working with good people, and to just continue gaining new experiences, and stuff like that.

“The first thing we said was, ‘what else is left for us to do? What can we do?’ Because, again, we’re always chasing that ‘what’s next?’ We’re always wanting to grow and wanting to get better. So we’re like, ‘what left for us to do here? What are we going to do? How are we going to be different now?’ And also at that point, we felt like the crowd was almost turning on us too because we’ve been in this top position since we came in.

“We’ve done everything that the company has put us in, and we were like, ‘what else are we going to do?’ We got to continue growing. The biggest thing was we want is to give our families a great life.”

If you want to use any quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.