Santana & Ortiz recently spoke with WrestleZone and were asked about finding a balance between learning from their peers and working on their own. The duo was featured on a past episode of Talk Is Jericho, where Ortiz had said that Konnan had been there for them in IMPACT Wrestling as a mentor to guide them, but they had become a little more self-sufficient in AEW. Asked about how they go about learning from a veteran like Chris Jericho in AEW while still doing things on their own, Ortiz first explained how Jericho has treated them like equals from the beginning and it’s been a great experience.
Ortiz: “We’re very, very, very fortunate that Chris will always get our opinions on things and he will always take a moment and be like ‘how do you feel about this, guys?’ or ‘what are your ideas?’ and he’s also the same person that will be like ‘ehh, that kind of sucks,'” he explained, “which is great because we get input and we kind of filter it through with him, and the trust level was there since day one.”
“Chris respected us as equals and as peers, and I remember the first match we did with him—of course you’re feeling anxious in the moment because it’s the first time you’re working with Chris Jericho—and I remember him going to us and going ‘you guys got this, you’re good, don’t worry about it, just do what you do.’ And that gave us a little bit of [reassurance] like, ‘you’re right, we belong here.’ You’re going to have those questions in the back of your mind the first time you step in there with however many thousands, tens of thousands of people and you’re on live television with a million people watching,” he explained, “but him just saying ‘you got this,’ it helped a lot.”
Santana continued, explaining that their time in IMPACT with Konnan was so beneficial because now they get to put all of that knowledge to use. He said that they not only have Konnan and Jericho to learn from, but the beauty of pro wrestling is that there’s always someone or something to learn from.
Santana: “Our time in IMPACT with Konnan, it definitely prepared us to enter this new world of AEW. We had guys like him show us a lot of things and [he was] making sure he always had our best interest, but coming into AEW,” Santana said, “it was our chance to put that knowledge that we had gained at our time in IMPACT with Konnan and put it to use and actually show our abilities and our knowledge and our ways of handling business.”
“Of course, thankfully we have guys like Jericho and not just him but so many other veterans out in the back that we can also go to for advice with them being so willing to help. But yeah, it’s just been a great experience and again, the beauty about pro wrestling is that you’re always learning and it’s evolving and changing and there’s always new things to learn,” he explained. “And that’s just the ultimate beauty of pro wrestling, that you never stop learning and we’re those types of guys, not just in our professional life but our personal life also. We just always like to progress and be better and learn as individuals.”
— Mike SANTANA?? (@Santana_Proud) May 6, 2021
Ortiz also said that their experiences aren’t all direct, and they learn quite a bit just by watching their surroundings. Santana agreed, noting that they’re very observant and it has a lot to do with their backgrounds, using instinct to pick up on things that will help them down the line.
Ortiz: “We also just learned a lot by just watching, you know? No one could deny Chris on the mic and just standing in the ring with someone that is this good at talking, like how do you not pick up things? How do you not recognize certain things that he does, like simultaneously look at his opponent and bash them at the same time? That’s an art in itself. It’s a fine line to play with when you’re doing an in-ring segment or a backstage segment and you’re trying to f-ck your opponent up.”
“We learned a lot during these almost two years, or if it’s been exactly two years by just watching, but just sitting and watching and by seeing Chris doing things and how he deals with certain things,” he said. “You just learn by watching and listening, and honestly, that’s the best way to learn things.”
Santana: “Also, us as individuals, we’re just very, very observant with everything. Like, that’s come with being from New York City and being raised the way we were raised,” Santana said. “We’re very observant individuals and we just like to pick up on things that we know are going to be helpful in our future.”