AEW’s Santana & Ortiz Reveal How Much WWE Wanted Them to Sign, More


During a recent interview with Chris Van Vliet, Santana & Ortiz commented on the “war” between WWE and AEW to sign them when they became free agents, and more. You can check out some highlights and video from the interview below:

On how aggressively WWE tried to sign them:

Ortiz: “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 he [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,’ right? 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: “Pretty much, they were like, write your own ticket, and we’ll make it happen.”

On if WWE wanted them for NXT or the main roster:

Ortiz: “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, we were like, ‘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?’ Because nothing will, no matter what happens with AEW, again, we’re here to make this successful, but no matter what happens, we will always be a part of the first ever main event on the first ever television in AEW. We were like, ‘Do we want to be a part of history? Or just be 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, 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, and we could be a part of change that would, literally you’re seeing the change.”

On the intense WWE schedule playing a role in their decision to sign with AEW:

Santana: “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, once we would have gone to TV, we’re on the road 250-300 days a year.”

Ortiz: “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.”

On if WWE wanted them to move to Orlando for NXT if they signed:

Santana: “That was a part of the deal too, they were like, ‘Hey, you guys could stay in New York.’”

On how WWE wasn’t as interested in them until they knew AEW was:

Ortiz: “Before this [AEW] was a thing, we were kind of already in talks with them. We were like, ‘Alright, we’re either going to stay in Impact, we might go to WWE, or maybe Ring of Honor.’ We were playing it this way, we were like, ‘Alright, we’ll see what’s up.’ We were kind of in our head, it was like, ‘Ehhhh, we made a good amount of noise in Impact, but I was like, I feel we need to bring up our name value a little bit more, we can go to WWE and we can cash it in now, but I feel like maybe we bring up our name value a little bit more and be more wanted by them.’ 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, ‘Ehhhh, 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.”

On if WWE knew AEW was also interested in them:

Ortiz: “Of course, they know everything. They have secret agents everywhere.”

On if they knew they were going to be part of Chris Jericho’s faction before they joined AEW:

Ortiz: “Yeah, so since the [Jericho] cruise, Cody reached out to us and was like, ‘Hey, what’s your status, what’s going on?’ He kept in touch with us all the way up to the point that we joined. Also the Bucks and everybody, but once we were pretty much, from the beginning, almost from the beginning, we did weigh out all our options, of course, but once it was kind of known that we were going there, Jericho found out and since Jericho got to see us perform on the cruise, he was like, ‘I want those guys on my team.’ So it was kind of like everything working together. And once we found out Jericho wanted us, we were like, how are we going to go anywhere else?”

(h/t – 411 Wrestling)

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