Mike Santana Reveals There Have Been Discussions With WWE, Why He And Ortiz Split, More

Mike Santana, a former member of the Proud and Powerful tag team, was interviewed by Chris Van Vliet. This is Santana’s first interview after leaving AEW. Scroll down to watch the full interview.

On why he left AEW:

“My decision to leave AEW came well before my injury. I got hurt in June of 2022 and at that point, I was just dealing with so much in my life personally and professionally at work and I was just burnt out. My contract was coming up in September, I believe, and I had already made the decision that I’m not going to re-sign. I just needed to take a break and deal with the things that I needed to deal with and then the injury happened. A lot of that was going on during that time personally.”

If AEW tried to re-sign him:

“I’m not sure, but I wasn’t really actively pursuing it, like, the time was coming up. It was June when I got hurt. Our contract was up in August I think. I wasn’t really like actively pursuing, like, ‘Oh, are you guys going to re-sign us’, because already in my head I was like, ‘I need to get away. I need to take a break.’ I’m sure something would have worked out and they probably would have re-signed us.”

On getting clean:

“I knew it was getting bad because I wasn’t coming home. I would be out for days. Christmas was coming up and every year my daughter always wrote her Christmas list to Santa, and in her list, one of the only things on her list was that she wanted daddy to stop. Then my grandmother wrote me a letter. My grandmother has always been a savior of mine in my life. Growing up, I had a pretty rough childhood and she showed me that there was more to life than just trauma and a lot of the bullsh*t I was going through. She’s always been a savior of mine. Seeing that I was causing her pain, especially after my dad passed away, and then my daughter and her mom, it was like, when you’re an addict, you think you’re just hurting yourself and you don’t see the others around you and they’re hurting.”

On his fallout with Ortiz:

“We were together for 10 years, I think. When you’re together with someone that long, it’s like a married couple. There’s good, there’s bad, and I think, honestly, for the most part, it was like, I think we just grew apart over time. Also our visions for the tag team and its future and its success, we weren’t on the same page when it came to a lot of those things. It is what it is. Everybody has their thoughts. Everybody goes about things differently. I’m a go-getter. I like to create opportunities for myself. I’m more than willing to fight for our spot, but also, I’m not going to be the only one.”

If he still has heat with Ortiz:

“I mean, for me, I don’t hold any, like, I told him after the match, ‘Yo, I hope the best for you. I hope you do well and there’s no hard feelings. I hold no hate, no grudge, nothing. I’m in a different place in my life in general and I’m good. I’m chillin’.”

If WWE has expressed interest in him:

“Oh, yeah. When our contracts were coming up with TNA, there was interest with AEW and WWE. We had spoken to WWE extensively and they made it very hard for us to turn them down, but our thing was that, so Cody was the one who hired us and we had already, before anything, we had spoken a while back and we had given Cody our word before anything and our word is everything. So by that point, they asked, ‘Hey, have you signed anything?’ We’re like, ‘No, but we gave our word and we would like to stick to that.’ At the time we both had young children and we wanted to see them grow up and the schedule was much easier with AEW. Plus the opportunity to be part of history, be a part of something that was brand new and fresh and be at the ground level, and honestly, like even now, I could honestly say I was part of that legacy and part of that history no matter what. People could always go back to the very first show, the very first main event, my name is there so I’m happy with that.”

If he would go to WWE:

“I’ve had some discussions. I’ve been very open with everybody. Right now is just going where I’m going to be able to grow the most. I don’t want to just be another guy on the roster. I already did that. I want to be part of something, I want to do something special. Thankfully, I’ve been smart with money and I’m not hurting and I’m taking my time with things, and you know, I just want to have fun.”

If he would return to TNA:

“Everything is on the table and they’re doing great. They are doing amazing.”

(h/t to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription)