AEW backstage interviewer and entertainment reporter Chris Van Vliet recently caught up with The Proud & Powerful, Santana and Ortiz. Among many other things, the duo talked about signing with AEW and becoming members of The Inner Circle.
On the subject of signing with AEW, Ortiz said that their hard work has finally paid off and that he is glad to be working a lighter schedule right now.
"Very few words can describe it," Ortiz said. "It's just awesome. It's like all of the hard work that we've put in is finally paying off. The fact that we get to just fly in on a Wednesday, for the most part, sometimes Tuesday, wrestle, and then come back home, and get to spend time at home. And we are able to rest our bodies, [so] we are able to give our A-game every Wednesday. It's amazing. Instead of being, like, we loved the indies, and we wouldn't have done it if we didn't love it, but I just love the break. Do you know what I mean? And it's not a break because we still have to work hard, of course, but all of the experience that we gained doing what we did and now we get to show it on the grandest scale."
Santana shared that they are reaching their prime right now and interested in putting together a body of work in AEW that reflects how they have levelled-up.
"It [has] been a pretty surreal time for us," Santana admitted. "Like [Ortiz] said, all of the hard work, all of the time we've put in, all of the sacrifices, all of the long miles on the road, everything [has] paid off. And I personally feel like we're at the top of our game and now is just for us to put out the very best work that we could. Do you know what I mean? Make it a consistent thing.
When asked how their AEW deals came together, Ortiz divulged that they really got to know the AEW crew from working Chris Jericho's Rock 'N' Wrestling Rager At Sea.
"Thanks to being able to do the Jericho cruise, the first one, because that pretty much was basically our job interview," Ortiz explained. "That's how we got in with everybody. We just had really good in-ring chemistry with The [Young] Bucks. We got on with everybody. And also, we got to wrestle Hangman [Page] and Cody in this really crazy match that will never see the light of day."
As for Santana and Ortiz's AEW debut at ALL OUT, Santana claimed that the presidential masks worn by the former LAX members were inspired by the film Point Break.
"So it was a mutual idea," Santana recalled. "For that whole weekend, we were already in Chicago [Illinois] for some indies and stuff, and for some reason, we had a Patrick Swayze kick where we spent the whole weekend watching Patrick Swayze movies - Roadhouse, To Wong Foo [Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar], Point Break - so once we saw that, 'baby, the little hand on the clock means it's time to rock and roll.' Do you know what I mean? So once we saw that, we were like, 'yo, how about this?' and it just worked out."
Ortiz noted that they were specifically told by the office not to wear a Halloween mask of the current President Of The United States, Donald Trump.
"And we were specifically told, 'not Trump,'" Ortiz laughed. "So yeah, we stood away from Trump. Yeah."
Also during the interview, Ortiz confirmed that The Proud & Powerful were always being brought into AEW to be in Chris Jericho's Inner Circle.
"Yep, yeah, so since the 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 until the point when we joined. Also, The [Young] Bucks and everybody. And once, pretty much from the beginning, we did weight all of our options, of course, but once it was kind of known that we were going [to AEW], 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." Ortiz added, "and once we found out Jericho wanted us, we were like, 'how are we going to go anywhere else, man?'"
Check out the interview in the video above or click here. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit Chris Van Vliet with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.