Mike Santana Explains How Bret Hart Influenced His Career (Exclusive)

Mike Santana has garnered a lot of inspiration from the legendary Bret Hart. The former AEW star and current House of Glory Champion has been one of the top names in the company after returning to his old stomping grounds back at TNA Rebellion. Santana made an immediate impact by defeating former World Champion Steve Maclin and did sign a deal with the promotion.

I recently spoke with Santana for SEScoops about his wrestling career, including where he’s been, where he is now and where he’s going. We got talking about what inspired him to lace up a pair of boots in the first place. The reigning House of Glory World Champion said it all comes down to the pink and black.

“I’ve always made it known Bret Hart is like an icon to me. He’s the reason why I got into wrestling.”

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Santana said he was never into the big, over-the-top cartoon characters and in a time where there was a lot of big personas in WWE, Bret was an understated talent.

“Bret stood out to me because he was real, he was honest, he was himself, you know? What you saw is what you got. He spoke about his family, his values, where he came from and what he’s here to do so that always stood out to me.

I’ve always said that’s the kind of performer I want to be, you know? Just pretty much put myself out there and put a lot of my own personality into what I do.”

The ‘Excellence of Execution’ is widely considered to be one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. Some have won more championships and some have drawn more money, but few have inspired more people to get into wrestling than Bret Hart.

When Santana Met the Hitman

Santana did cross paths with Bret Hart years back when both were at an event in New York City. Hart’s agent knew Santana was a big fan and took him to meet The Hitman. Bret had a big line in front of him, but the WWE Hall of Famer made sure to make time for Mike Santana.

“He literally stopped the line and sat there with me for it felt like forever and we just talked. The fact that he knew who I was, it was awesome. It was a humbling experience. I felt like a kid. It was great.”

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Hart knew that Santana was apart of LAX at the time and made mention that it was Konnan, LAX’s manager, who actually taught him how to execute The Sharpshooter. Santana said growing up in New York, he never got star struck, but getting to meet his childhood hero in the squared circle hit a different tone for him. Patterning his mentality after Hart is something that is paying off for Santana behind the microphone and inside the ring.

“I always say that Mike Santana is an extension of myself. It is myself, but just turned up. That intensity and that level of violence that I bring sometimes, it’s just I attribute it to what I used to be when I was younger. Like I still have that dude trapped inside and wrestling allows me to bring them out and not get arrested or not get into trouble or anything.”

With Santana planting his flag into TNA soil, one would think he’s going to play a big factor when the promotion has Slammiversary this forthcoming July.

Check out my other recent interview with fellow TNA star Hammerstone: