Santana And Ortiz Discuss Nearly Signing With WWE

They were very close...

Since Santana and Ortiz debuted in AEW at All Out, they have been presented as one of the promotion's top tag teams, securing victories over The Young Bucks and Jurassic Express.

The tag team were recently interviewed by Chris Van Vliet, in which they discussed a number of topics, including joining the Inner Circle and appearing on Chris Jericho's cruise.

Proud And Powerful also commented on nearly joining WWE before they signed with AEW. They explained the original pitch from WWE was for them to be in NXT for a while and eventually be moved to either Raw or SmackDown. The tag team ultimately turned the company down, however, because of the opportunity to make history with All Elite Wrestling, which combined with their reluctance to commit to WWE's gruelling schedule.

Ortiz said: "Yes, it was for NXT to eventually go to the main roster. So, we were just like: 'Alright, man, dang.' But then, honestly, the ultimate decision was: do we want to just be a part of something that’s already established? Or do we want to be part of something new and make history? [...] No matter what happens, we will always be a part of the first ever main event on the first ever [episode of Dynamite]. Do we want to be a part of history? Or just fade into black? And kind of like, even best case scenario, we’re just going to be small fish in a big ocean. There’s so many people there, and it would be an uphill battle. I'm not saying we wouldn’t be able to do it, because we’re confident in our abilities, but we could be a part of history, we could be a part of change."

Santana added: "Another huge part of our decision making was that we both wanted to be dads. The schedule they were offering us, the NXT thing and then going to TV, we’re on the road 250-300 days a year."

Ortiz then said: "Best case scenario, that’s if we take off, they push us, they use us on television all the time, we’re doing house shows, we’re making good money, but guess what? The time that we’re home, we’re going to be mangled, and we have two small children to deal with."

Santana and Ortiz also described how WWE weren't as interested in signing them until they found out they were in negotiations with AEW. However, once WWE found out about the rival promotion's interest, they made it very difficult for Ortiz and Santana to turn them down.

Ortiz explained: "They were interested enough to offer us something, and we had people kind of pulling for us there to bring us in, but I feel like we would have got lost in the shuffle, and when we first got our offer, it was like: 'Eh, we’re not going to get in a bidding war with anyone.' And then it ultimately went down to: 'Alright, what do you want?', which was awesome, and it was only because of AEW."

Ortiz then elaborated: "We were about to turn down WWE, and we sat down and we were like, alright man, we don’t want to burn a bridge. We never want to burn a bridge anywhere we go because that’s not how you do business - you should keep every avenue open. So [Santana] had this whole spiel, he was like: 'Alright, this is what we’re gonna say so we don’t burn a bridge, right?' So we go, and we get cut off, and they were like: 'Listen, just really think about your decision.' And then we stop and we hang up the phone, we were about to turn them down, and then we sit there and we’re like: 'Damn, they’re making this really hard for us.'"

Santana added: "Pretty much, they were like, write your own ticket, and we’ll make it happen."







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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Journalist/Editor-in-Chief of Twitter: @theaidangibbons