Since its creation in 2005, IMPACT Wrestling stable Latin American Xchange (LAX) has been synonymous with the pride of being Hispanic, wrapped in the controversial voices of its original members, Konnan and Homicide. Last April, LAX came back to IMPACT with new members but the same desire to make things their own way. No holds barred, outspoken, opinionated. During a recent media conference call Konnan and the GFW Tag Team Champions Ortiz and Santana were genuinely happy to share about what they’ve been doing and trying to do.
Being innovative and keeping LAX heritage
For Ortiz and Santana, being coached by the legendary Konnan is a gift. “We’re having Konnan coach us through things and teach us his vision, how he sees things. Being able to learn from him, he’s one of the greatest minds in wrestling so what else can you say? A guy like Konnan, he is who he is, but he wouldn’t just put his name on anyone so that’s something true and special to us.”
The new members of LAX are extremely committed to transmit LAX and Konnan’s vision to the fans, even if the team is not the same and even earned a female wrestler, Diamanté. “We try to keep to where LAX was before but we have a new spice to it. We’re keeping up with the times and we wrestle the style of today’s age but we’re still violent and we still go in, like that Lucha Strong Style thing we’ve got going on. We just wanna up the ante, be innovative and do it in such a way that we’re staying true to ourselves.”
The Konnan effect
One of LAX’s major characteristics is its leader Konnan who for more than 30 years has always been a provocateur on his own, whether promoters or wrestlers has liked it or not. ” I’m there to engage you. I’m there to get you mad. I’m there to make you think. I’m there to make you go. I don’t like to do normal wrestling promos. It’s kinda hokey and it’s corny so I’m just trying to get a reaction. I’m just trying to get heat; that’s what I do it for.”
Konnan has had a lot of heat in the past but he seems to appreciate his coming back to IMPACT. If Jeff Jarrett made him come back last April, it was not at first to bring back LAX. But that’s what Konnan wanted. “I wanted to come back and then leave on a better note. This is probably, for all intents and purposes, my last run in the United States. So I wanted to go out on a higher note than I did last time where I just quit and left. We brought in Ortiz, Santana, Diamanté, Homicide, and we’re like family.”
Staying the same after a 30+ years career
For Konnan, IMPACT is also a platform for his own Mexican promotion CRASH. A partnership between the companies in definitely on the go: “There’s definitely a cross-pollination between us (CRASH) and IMPACT and we’ll continue to do so in the future. I am not an easy person to work with, I understand that, but at the end of the day I’ll only play the game so long. That’s why I started my own promotion because I don’t have to work for somebody that’s inept or micro-managing me, which has happened and because the day that I want to, I have somewhere to go.”
When I asked Konnan about one person or memory he wanted to share of his long career, he couldn’t help to talk about the great wrestlers he competed with, Chris Benoit, Brian Pillman but mostly Eddie Guerrero. “I knew him (Eddie) when he was young and he was training me in his backyard and I was teaching him how to do weights. I knew back then he was going to be incredible but I never knew he’d be this incredible, because when he was in Mexico he was very shy and introverted. One of my favourite scene of all time in wrestling is when him and Benoit won the belts and they were hugging in the middle of the ring. These guys got rewarded because I know what they went through, but Eddie especially.”
LAX may be opinionated, provocative, different, no holds barred. They may be lying, cheating and stealing in the ring. But in the end, Konnan, Homicide, Santana, Ortiz and Diamanté are just in love with a business they decided to make play by their own rules. Whether you like it or not.