— Proud & Powerful🇵🇷 (@Santana_Proud) August 18, 2019
— Proud~N~Powerful Ortiz (@Ortiz_Powerful) August 18, 2019
Nearly a year ago, I was in Manchester for Wrestling MediaCon. I remember rushing to the stairs to reach the press area upstairs and not realising I was bumping into Santana and Ortiz. The stairs were very tight and everyone was excited about Impact coming back to the UK. I told them, I’m sorry. And then I became aware of who was in front of me. I saw the guys were still going downstairs and I couldn’t help but yell, “Santana, Ortiz, I love you, Champs.”
Ever since I began to write Impact reviews, LAX had been a steady and trusty presence for me, like Rosemary, Eddie Edwards, or Moose who have been there since my day one. SteelChair Mag has never been a land of rumours, even if every writer is aware of what is said about the business. It was not a secret Santana and Ortiz were on their way out. But until it was official, I had no reason to write about it.
I’m talking here about Santana and Ortiz, and not about LAX, because LAX was created way before Santana and Ortiz embodied it. Konnan, Hernandez, Homicide and other wrestlers created this faction in 2005, as a bunch of Latino badasses, the Heroes of the Latino Nation. On the March 16, 2017, episode of Impact Wrestling, LAX was reformed with Homicide, Ortiz, Santana, Diamante, and manager Konnan. Two weeks later, Santana and Ortiz became World Tag Teams Champions.
Konnan took these 2 young talents under his tutelage and allowed them to show the best of themselves. At that time, they were a bunch of bad guys, lying, cheating, stealing, able to do everything to win or make a wrestler become a member of the stable, like with Alberto El Patron or Low Ki. Until oVe arrived and helped them change the game.
Six weeks after their debut on Impact, Dave and Jake Crist defeated Santana and Ortiz to become Tag Team Champions. A new war was beginning but, this time, LAX were the not the bad guys anymore. The two teams pushed themselves to the limits, culminating in this incredible Barbed Wire Massacre III match, so barbaric at that time Pop TV refused to air it. This match also set the tone for what the Impact Tag Team division was meant to become, hardcore, death-defying, out of control.
After an epic feud with LAX OGz, that led to a 5150 Street Fight at Slammiversary XVI and a Concrete Death Match at Bound for Glory, Santana and Ortiz started a feud with The Lucha Brothers, Pentagon Junior and Fénix. At Rebellion, and every week on Impact, they literally stole the show to the point of being the main event of Homecoming with a Full Metal Mayhem match that deserves 6 stars out of 5. The whole Impact roster came to the ring to celebrate with them on that day.
When the news broke The Lucha Bros signed with AEW, it was obvious LAX would be the Champions again. And they remained until the end. When, at Bash at the Brewery, they lost the titles to The North, 2 days before Slammiversary XVII, something clicked in the fans’ mind. Maybe Santana and Ortiz were really on their way out, as rumours were saying. Maybe Santana was suffering from a legit injury and we would see the team back soon on Impact. On Friday, we got the answer…
Santana and Ortiz will be remembered as the guys who made LAX become the record-setting Tag Team Champions. They have the longest reign of TNA/Impact Wrestling history, at 261 days, and the longest-reigning TNA/Impact World Tag Team Champions in terms of combined reigns across their three reigns. Their matches would remain legendary. Most importantly, they helped shape the current Tag Team Division on Impact, leading the path for teams like The North, The Deaners or The Rascalz.
So, on Friday night, at Impact Wrestling tapings in Mexico, Santana and Ortiz wrestled their last match for the company. The match will air in a few weeks, I’ll review it, as always. What the future holds for them is unknown. But their legacy on Impact Wrestling is like no other. Just because they are leaving, the spirit of LAX is not dead, Impact Wrestling is not dead. Wrestlers have come, some gone, but Impact is standing still, and moving forward…
Santana and Ortiz had helped Impact Wrestling become a better promotion, they were some of the architects of its “rebuilding”. They took every risk to ensure the fans would love their match, as you can find out about in the documentary below. So let’s wish them the best in their future endeavours and thank Santana and Ortiz for everything they had given us, as human beings and wrestlers on Impact, week after week.
¡Hasta la muerte y despues! Forever…
All pics, screencaps and videos courtesy of Impact Wrestling and Fight Network