#AndNEW: AEWs Santana Wins LAWE Championship

Santana and Ortiz

During Latin American Wrestling Entertainment’s latest big event, ‘Cima De Campeones’ (Peak Of Champions), one half of Proud N Powerful, Santana, won a tournament to crown the company’s first Heavyweight Champion. The event took place at the sold-out Mario Jimenez Recreation Center in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico in front of an estimated 1,000 fans. The event being a part of LAWE’s television tapings for it’s weekly ‘Adrenalina’ (Adrenaline) TV show.

The event saw Santana first defeat Mecha Wolf. One half of the current NWA World Tag Team Champions and a mainstay of pro wrestling in Puerto Rico, having been a former WWC Universal Champion and also held the now defunct WWL’s title. Santana defeated him in the first semi-final match of the night.

Following that victory, the main event saw Santana face off against two major names in the Puertorican wrestling scene in the form of Mike Mendoza and Pedro Portillo III. The two had just faced each other in the other semi-final match of the night but it ended in controversy and as a result, both men were passed on to the final round of the tournament.

Santana’s victory comes after weeks of LAWE’s primary weekly TV show, Adrenalina (Adrenaline) telling the story of him being able to finally leave his mark on the island. In promos, Santana would explain how as a young child, he would cry at the sight of the island’s “Teodoro Moscoso” bridge. The exit and entry point for island’s main airport. It signalled the end of his time in the island which was a haven for him.

Santana continued in promos, explaining that now the sight of that bridge is a sign of hope. That he can finally return to the island he loved and now wrestle and leave his mark on it. This was a story Santana actually told during a press conference in 2019, just weeks prior to his signing to All Elite Wrestling. Following a World Wrestling League Pay-Per-View event entitled ‘Pena Capital’. Where he and Ortiz finished their run with the promotion, losing its Tag Team titles. This win marks Santana’s second title reign on the island. His first as a singles competitor. And arguably his first major accomplishment separate from his tag team partner Ortiz on any scale.

Santana winning the Championship comes as a mild surprise given the company’s focus was so high on the feud between Mike Mendoza and his ‘Anexion’ faction against Pedro Portillo III who is backed by the company’s management team of Dennis Rivera and Orlando Colon. The story started with Mendoza, as a heel, trying to eliminate Orlando Colon after he was lied to by company management about his involvement. As time has gone on, Orlando has seemingly become mentally unstable in his actions, meanwhile on TV, we’ve been shown as Mike Mendoza has slowly realized that his actions have turned the promoter he hated into the very monster he originally feared. All as Pedro Portillo has taken advantage of his mental state to elevate himself in the company.

Santana’s own storyline was seemingly a secondary one. However, it connected very well with fans wanting to see the big star from AEW actually come down to the island and try to leave his mark on the island he’s represented for so long on Impact!, AEW, and all along the wrestling world. All this time they’ve seen him sporting the Puertorican flag, but he’s never truly been able to make a name in its ring. A territory with its own contentious history. Of many ups and many downs. Santana now gets to stand on one of the biggest moments of the island’s history this decade, as he is now the first Champion of a promotion with a very promising future.

Latin American Wrestling Entertainment is a wrestling promotion that was launched on July of 2021. In September of that year, the company fell into the hands of former WWE Tag Team Champion Orlando “Epico” Colon. The nephew of famous Puertorican wrestler and promoter Carlos Colon. The company held its first event on November 20 to great success. The company’s staff consists of former WWE official Mike Chioda, former TNA & AEW Spanish commentator Willie Urbina, former IWA, AAA & TNA creative member, and current Impact! Wrestling spanish broadcaster Hector ‘Moodyjack’ Melendez as well as former WWL & WWC producer, current Impact! spanish broadcaster Hector Frodo Caban and former wrestler Dennis Rivera, younger brother of Savio Vega.

The company has seen staggering growth since its inception this past November, debuting on TV on February, having a steady attendance for its events, landing a solid TV timeslot in a landscape where such a feat was proven to be extremely difficult for wrestling promotions locally, and the company launched their own Vimeo-based on-demand service “LAWE OnDemand”. They have also has brought several AEW wrestlers such as Ortiz, Santana of course and current AEW Women’s World Champion Thunder Rosa on a pretty consistent basis. As well as NWA’s current Tag Team Champions, La Rebellion.