Updated: Sep 9
Revenge is a theme that has been explored time and time again, and it is as perfect a theme for a pro-wrestling feud as it is for Madea, Othello, Agamemnon, Frankenstein, Boyz n the Hood, The Sapranos and countless other tales throughout time.
However, as the famous saying goes; "before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves." The lust for revenge rarely ends well for either party, there are consequences to all actions as violence begets violence. Both FTR and Santana & Ortiz came into their Dynamite match well aware of this, both airing the possibilities that this could be the end for them.
After Cash Wheeler's shocking injury in their first match against Santana & Ortiz, FTR are coming to collect their "pound of flesh". Meanwhile, Santana & Ortiz want to settle the score after losing the first match, saying that they are "coming for blood every time". Both sides want revenge for what happened in the first match, as the idea of a win/loss record or championships seem of little concern to either side.
It is a simple story with clear motivations which clash to create a conflict. A conflict that may never be truly resolved if, indeed, this is FTR's final ever match. But, for this night, at least, a resolution must be met.
The Key Stats
This match showed a contrast in styles. Both FTR and Santana & Ortiz are largely considered to be hard-hitting, brawling teams. However, it is Santana & Ortiz who dominate in this regard with FTR focusing more on submissions and controlling the pace of the match, with a particular focus on Ortiz's arm.
Santana & Ortiz dominate the total match offence, which is not surprising when you view the graphic below. FTR remain consistent in their offence as they generally control the match, whereas Santana & Ortiz fluctuate a lot more piling huge amounts of hard hitting offence into short periods of time.
It is these short bursts that make the difference for Santana & Ortiz, and you can see why FTR's strategy would be to try to counter this. However, on this occasion they failed.
How It Played Out
The match opens fairly evenly, neither Santana nor Dax Harwood can gain much of an advantage in the first minute and the second is fairly even also, Dax utilising a headlock submission is the most notable piece of offence from either man.
Heading into the third minute Santana & Ortiz hit synchronised suicide dives which allows them to briefly take over, continuing the offence on the outside before returning to the ring in the fourth minute.
Whilst Santana & Ortiz dominate, their offence is reckless which allows FTR, who remain consistent, to regain control. A sneaky tag from Cash Wheeler changes the tide and he targets Ortiz's shoulder before tagging Dax back in. Harwood sets on Ortiz's arm with one mission: retaliation for what happened to Cash in their last match.
Dax repeatedly stamps on Ortiz's forearm before locking in various wrist locks. Cash takes the top turnbuckle pad off a neutral corner and Dax utilises the exposed turnbuckle to inflict more damage to Ortiz's arm. Dax tags Cash back in, however Ortiz uses Wheeler's injury against him which forces both men, with damaged arms, to tag out.
We're now at the second spike in offence for Santana & Ortiz in the eighth and ninth minutes. Santana hits the Three Amigos and a Frog Splash on Dax Harwood which gets the Puerto Ricans a near-fall. Santana & Ortiz then continue to hit double-team moves but fail to get a pin-fall as Cash Wheeler breaks it up.
FTR then turn the tide with some teamwork of their own and Dax hits a brainbuster on Ortiz, the same move that won them the first match, to give us a great near-fall before Cash tags back in. However, Cash is again unable to make his offence truly count due to his arm injury as we get a frantic back-and-forth period from the tenth to twelfth minutes.
Heading into the closing stretches of the match, Cash hits a Gory Special on Ortiz, as Dax pushes Santana off the top rope in a similar vein to how Cash was injured in the previous match. FTR then hit the Big Rig on Ortiz which again leads to another excellent near-fall, as well as FTR's spike in offence for the match.
Santana & Ortiz only just escape that which forces them to up the intensity one final time. Santana tags in, hits a rolling cutter, Ortiz hits a lungblower, Santana a thrust kick before both men hit Cash Wheeler with a tandem suplex to secure the win.
Dig Two Graves?
Despite securing the win and, potentially, being on a path to the AEW World Tag Team Championships, Santana & Ortiz had better watch their backs. FTR will not be satisfied with this and will be coming for retaliation, again. Especially if there are championships on the line.
This is one of those rare wrestling rivalries where neither side will ever be satisfied. They will keep coming for each other, it just has that kind of heat to it. This is a feud that AEW can return to time and time again over the coming years. One of those "fight forever" feuds, as long as matches are spaced out.
For now though, it's Santana & Ortiz's time and watching this match it is easy to see why. These two are super over with the crowd and would make ideal opponents for The Young Bucks in their home city of New York at Arthur Ashe Stadium for AEW Grand Slam. Regardless of what happens, expect FTR to come chasing after Santana & Ortiz, assuming Cash Wheeler's arm does recover as we hope it does.
Match Star Ratings (out of 5):
Grappl: 3.83 stars.
Cagematch: 3.86 stars.
WON: 4 stars.
PWM Writer's Opinion: 4 stars.