One of AEW’s hottest young tag teams and two members of Chris Jericho’s Inner Circle stable set the record straight on why they turned down a WWE offer.
Later tonight on AEW Dynamite, Santana and Ortiz – also known as Proud ‘n’ Powerful – will face off against The Young Bucks in a Street Fight, but first, the former IMPACT Tag Team Champs explain why they turned down WWE in favor of All Elite Wrestling.
The duo spoke to Chris Van Vliet in an interview (transcribed by Angel Davis over at WrestlingNews.co) to discuss exactly what led to that decision and their thought process when offers from both companies were on their table following their exit from IMPACT Wrestling. It boiled down to two things: wanting to be a part of something new and wanting to be fathers.
Ortiz started off:
“The ultimate decision was do we wanna be part of something that’s already established or do we want to be something new and make history because no matter what happens with AEW, we will always be part of the first ever main event of the first ever television of AEW. Do we want to be part of history or do we want to fade to black? Best case scenario we would be the small fish in an ocean.”
Earlier in the interview, Ortiz pointed out that neither him or Santana wanted to burn a bridge with WWE, and so they made sure to think their decision through carefully. As tempting as the from those greener pastures were to both men, they wanted to be a part of history and changing the wrestling landscape for the better.
Santana went on to add that both men wanted to also make sure they had time to spend with their families; and that played a huge part in their decision to sign with AEW as well.
“Best case scenario is we take off, they push us, they use us on TV all the time and we’re doing house shows and we’re making good money, but guess what, the time that we’re home we’re gonna be mangled,” Ortiz piggy backed.
Santana later added that they previously had an offer from WWE before AEW even existed. While weighing out their options, the former members of L.A.X. felt like their options were to either stay with IMPACT, go to WWE, or go to Ring of Honor. While a lot of people were “pulling” for both men to join WWE, Santana feared they would have gotten “lost in the shuffle.”
Again, tonight, live on AEW Dynamite, Santana and Ortiz continue their feud with The Young Bucks by taking part in a street fight.