Ortiz says Santana was adamant about them not teaming, recalls two occasions they were supposed to win AEW Tag Titles

Photo Courtesy: All Elite Wrestling

The journey of Santana and Ortiz through AEW. 

Dating back to 2012, the duo of Santana and Ortiz tagged together. When Santana returned to AEW to be a part of Stadium Stampede at All In, that was the last time the duo formerly known as Proud-N-Powerful teamed up.

They had a program on AEW television that concluded with Santana getting the win on an October edition of Rampage. Speaking about their split, Ortiz told The Shining Wizards Wrestling Podcast that it was not AEW’s call to put an end to their team. 

He shared that him and Santana could not get things situated personally and Santana was adamant about them no longer teaming. As far as how their program played out on TV, Ortiz said it felt rushed. He stated that one can tell which stories are given the time to be fleshed out across AEW programming. There was supposed to be more build within their story. He said it was supposed to span across Dynamite, Rampage and Collision but it mainly turned into a Rampage-based feud. 

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the company’s call to split us (Santana & Ortiz). Me and Santana just couldn’t get it together personally and he was just very adamant about not working with me anymore. So, the company kind of had no choice but to split us up, right? So they’re like, ‘Okay, you’re just not gonna not tag. It doesn’t make any sense. Let’s at least make this make sense why you split.’ But even when we did it on TV, it just ended up, I feel like, being kind of rushed and you know what I mean? Let’s get to the point already due to stuff that was going on backstage and it was just making it hard to really put forward a program and then just our television in general, kind of has that feeling all over on all our shows. There’s almost that sense of rushing at times. Some stuff kind of sits and settles but, you could kind of see what they’re putting their effort into. The stuff that really gets time to settle and really get to cook whereas some other segments, due to time constraints, you just kind of have to make those segments go faster and faster and there were supposed to be more development between me and him. It just, again, things out of my control. It just never panned out the way it was. It was set out to be a couple of weeks program throughout all our television. Like Collision, Dynamite and Rampage and then we just kind of went to Rampage and then we stood there and yeah, it just kind of played out how it played out unfortunately.

Ortiz went on to respond to one of the co-hosts who felt AEW dropped the ball by not putting the titles on him and Santana. Ortiz believes they could have forced a hand when they had those opportunities, but it appeared as if it was never the right time to pull the trigger. 

He said they were always tied up in storylines with The Inner Circle and could not venture off into their own traditional tag programs. Ortiz revealed that there were two occasions when him and Santana were supposed to win the AEW World Tag Team Titles, but he would not get into specifics because he does not want to get in trouble. 

I tend to avoid it at times but that stuff (opinions from fans that Ortiz & Santana should’ve gotten AEW Tag Title run), it’s almost hard to avoid because we’re constantly tagged in stuff about that. To answer your question, how I felt about it, ah, I think we could have forced a hand a little bit more when we did have the opportunities that we had and I can’t completely blame the company because I mean, there was talks about it but it was almost like it was never the right time, right? It just wasn’t our time and it was just kind of because we were always intertwined with a huge storyline with The Inner Circle and it would have been hard to sway off and kind of go do our own tag thing and go after the Tag Titles. So, it actually was supposed to happen more than once. But just due to stuff out of our control, out of my control, it just never seemed to pan out. It’s not like those people on the internet that were clamoring for us to be Tag Team Champions — it was noticed by the people in AEW and above and it almost happened two times. It just never panned out. I won’t get into the weeds of things, only because I think I’ll get in trouble if I do (he laughed). That’s pretty much it. It was supposed to happen. It just never did unfortunately.

Ortiz’s post-Proud-N-Powerful run was discussed and he dove into transitioning out of that. He feels he’s still in the phase of figuring things out. There’s a part of him that wants to change his entire persona.

Ortiz feels both him and Santana were typecast as street brawlers and that’s not a negative, but he wants to spread his wings and be more of hybrid in the ring. He loves tag team wrestling and would like to continue to it, but stated that maybe it’s not in the cards. 

Yeah, definitely. I’m still in that phase (of figuring out what direction I want to go in as a singles talent). I kind of want to change my whole persona… I’ve kind of been typecast into the street brawler guy which is fine. But it’s very close to home and I’m down to play that role, but I also just — I wanna wrestle, I wanna chain wrestle, I wanna go hold for hold, I wanna do more lucha stuff. I’ve always prided myself on being a hybrid wrestler and I just kinda wanna do more of that and I feel like in the last couple of years, especially coming off of IMPACT, because me and Santana did gimmick matches so well; Street Fights and Barbed Wire Massacres and Table matches and we did well and excelled in those matches, it was like a double-edged sword. We were kind of typecast into playing that role. We were in all the Blood & Guts and all the Stadium Stampedes — well except for one Blood & Guts but, yeah… we kind of fell into playing that role and I kind of just wanna go back to just wrestling, doing some cool stuff. My favorite type of wrestling is early 90s Michinoku Pro so I wanna do more stuff like that. I wanna be in dope multi-man matches and I love tag team wrestling and I wanna continue tag team wrestling but kind of now, it doesn’t seem like it’s in the cards for me. Maybe I could push a little harder to do it. I find myself on an island all by myself and I’m just trying to find that voice. I feel like I have an opportunity. Instead of looking at the cup half-empty, I could look at it half-full and I could take this opportunity and reinvent myself and kind of maybe a gimmick change. I don’t know. I’m playing with stuff, I have a lot of ideas, a lot of stuff in the tank and kind of seeing where it goes. I don’t wanna say one thing because honestly, I might wake up tomorrow and feel something else.

Outside of AEW, both Ortiz and Santana are working independent dates. In December, Santana became the House of Glory Heavyweight Champion by defeating Matt Cardona. 

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit The Shining Wizards Wrestling Podcast with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.

About Andrew Thompson 8478 Articles
A Washington D.C. native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.