wrestling / Columns

Csonka: EYFBO Lived Up To & Improved The Legacy of LAX

August 24, 2019 | Posted by Larry Csonka
LAX Impact Beyond

As many of you know, I have been watching and covering TNA & Impact since day one. I have credited the company many times for helping to save my fandom in the early 2000s following the deaths of WCW & ECW. As a fan of the NWA & Crockett growing up, the slow death of WCW really hurt and there was a hole in my wrestling heart. Finding TNA, and new talents like AJ Styles, Low Ki, Christopher Daniels, America’s Most Wanted and many others, including revitalized Jerry Lynn (who doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his part helping to establish the X-Division in the early days) helped me and made me realize that I needed to keep evolving as a fan. ROH, PWG, CHIKARA, DGUSA, EVOLVE, NJPW and many other promotions all entered my rotation and my fandom kept growing.

One of my favorite TNA acts was The Latin American Xchange (LAX). The original gimmick of LAX centered on its members being Hispanic, denouncing the perceived repression of ethnic minorities by the NWA Championship Committee and TNA Management. They were raw, militant, and got legit heel heat. Homicide & Hernandez were a great big man little man mix of a team, and with Konnan on the mic, it was the perfect mix. They had some stellar matches, found championship success, but things changed when Konnan & TNA had issues and he left the company.

Like many over heel acts, the next stage for LAX was a babyface turn as the heroic Latin stars. Fans loved the team because of how good they wee, despite the original militant theme, but when they attacked the Voodoo Kin Mafia for disgracing the Puerto Rican flag, that was the turning point as they officially became babyfaces. Babyface LAX was still really good, but without Konnan and now using Salinas & Hector Guerrero, things weren’t quite the same. Things sort of came limping to an end in 2010 when Hernandez was being phased out and Homicide was released. Homicide & Hernandez won the TNA tag titles one time and NWA tag titles two times during their run.

Enter Angel Ortiz and Mike Draztik, known on the indie scene as EYFBO (Entertain Your Fucking Balls Off). In March of 2017 LAX was reformed with Homicide, Ortiz, Santana, Diamante, and manager Konnan. It was an exciting angle, but I was hesitant in my personal excitement, because in wrestling. Most times a “new version” of a classic colossally fails. The New Rockers, The New Midnight Express, The New Blackjacks; all failures. Thankfully, they weren’t branded as “the new” they were just LAX, with OGs Konnan & Homicide there to give them instant credibility as the new generation. I had watched a lot of EYFBO in Beyond Wrestling and had high hopes in terms of their in ring work. But would fans buy in and accept them?

The answer was yes as they quickly won the Impact tag team titles and then the GFW tag team titles (remember that fucking odd period)? LAX had a strong early run as heels and then like their predecessors, turned babyface during the feud with oVe. What worked better this time is that they largely remained unchanged and still had Konnan. But they had larger issues coming, as King arrived, seemingly a brother in arms. But Konnan was attacked, Santana & Ortiz fell into a slump, and Homicide and Diamante went missing in action. King then assumed leadership of the faction and guided Ortiz and Santana back to being tag team championships, all the while claiming he was in contact with Konnan, but something always felt off. Konnan knew the score, and looked to set the record straight…

Konnan revealed King as the man that put a hit on him in order to take over LAX, King admitted to this and LAX opted to stay with Konnan. “When life brings you full circle, pay attention. There’s a lesson there.” King then led the original LAX (Homicide & Hernandez) on a vicious attack of the new LAX, and then were officially back as the OGz. This led to a feud I greatly enjoyed, with some fun Grindhouse elements in the cinematics, great promo work from Konnan & King, and the great Slammiversary 2018 street fight between the two teams. The feud ended at Bound for Glory with LAX standing tall in the Concrete Jungle Death match.

LAX then transitioned into another really well done feud with the Lucha Bros. It started with Konnan refusing to allow them to fight because he didn’t want his familia battling and it turning personal. But it did become personal when LAX ripped the masks off of the Lucha Bros. They had a series of great matches, trading the tag titles, with LAX standing tall at the end as the Lucha departed for AEW. Santana & Ortiz ended with four Impact tag title runs and one GFW title run.

In Closing: Looking back, Impact took a huge gamble signing EYFBO. They were an unknown commodity on a national level, and given a gimmick with history that could have completely backfired on them. But Impact gave Santana & Ortiz the ball, they ran with it and they scored big time as in my opinion, they were the best part of the company during their run. Impact gambled, stuck with them and it paid off huge. They took their Impact success and scored bookings with wXw and PROGRESS, and greatly grew their profile as one of the top tag teams in all of wrestling. Their contracts came up at the perfect time, as WWE is trying to lock up everyone and AEW is a major player. They repaid Impact by doing business properly on the way out, ensuring that the North were secured as the new champions, and now the future is bright for them as they can write thier own ticket pretty much anywhere they go. EYFBO not only lived up to the legacy of the original LAX, they improved it by being more successful, giving the OGz one last great match, and at the end of the day, may have completely surpassed the originals; its an awesome success story.

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The 411 on Wrestling Podcast returns to the 411 Podcasting Network for episode 45. On the show, the good brother, Jeremy Lambert, joins 411’s Larry Csonka and the guys will discuss WWE vs. AEW officially going to war on Wednesdays, the future of WWE Network content, early WWE King of the Ring thoughts, and preview some of the upcoming ROH weekend. The show is approximately 118-minutes long.

* Intro
* Breaking Down WWE vs. AEW & The Future of WWE Network Content: 3:00
* Early WWE King of the Ring 2019 Thoughts: 1:23:50
* ROH Weekend Preview/Discussion of Marty Scurll’s Future: 1:34:10

You can subscribe and listen to the 411 on Wrestling Podcast via the above player on Transistor, or on the following platforms:

* iTunes
* Spotify
* Stitcher
* Google Play

– End Scene.

– Thanks for reading.