After being out of action since June 2022, Santana returned to AEW programming tonight, joining tag partner Ortiz to assist the Blackpool Combat Club against the Best Friends and Eddie Kingston. Following Jon Moxley’s match against Rey Fenix, a savage beatdown of Fenix resulted in the luchador being carried away in a stretcher. The attack is seemingly being used as a way to explain Fenix’s inability to travel to the United Kingdom this weekend to compete in the Stadium Stampede match at AEW All In.
Santana and Ortiz were not officially announced for the Stadium Stampede match, but with the BCC in need of three allies, it seems all but official that the two will step in on Sunday. Fenix’s anticipated absence was reported yesterday by Fightful Select, indicating that travel issues, possibly relating to his visa, would prevent him from making the big event. With the BCC’s side still with one mystery partner to reveal, the Best Friends will have to find someone to replace Fenix in the bout, unless the company opts for a five-on-five match instead.
Though he hasn’t been gone as long as Santana, Ortiz has been absent from AEW in recent months as well. The last major storyline he was involved in left Ortiz at odds with former ally Kingston, adding an extra dose of tension into Sunday’s match.
It’s been reported various times over the last year that the relationship between Santana and Ortiz had become strained, with Haus of Wrestling exclusively reporting earlier this week that the falling out between Santana and Ortiz occurred over booking disagreements. The two have seemingly made amends, and look to be working together in AEW again moving forward.
Following his appearance on TBS tonight, Santana posted a statement to X. “To say that I knew what the road ahead of me was going to be like when I got hurt, would be totally false,” Santana wrote. “The struggles and battles I’ve overcome to get back to what I love and have dedicated my life to is unimaginable. But the most important thing is that it taught me so much about myself and made me a 10x better person than who I was.” After thanking his family and his fans, Santana signed off by stating he was ready to get to work.