Tito Santana, a notable Hall of Fame inductee, has had an illustrious career in wrestling. One of his most significant achievements was the creation of Strike Force, a tag team he formed with Rick Martel. The duo initially paired up in the AWA in 1982 and officially became a WWE tag team in 1987.
Their successful partnership, which lasted over two years, led them to clinch the WWE Tag Team Championship. However, their alliance ended abruptly when Martel betrayed Santana in 1989, sparking a rivalry between them. In a recent conversation with "Wrestling Then and Now," Santana reminisced about his time with Martel.
He praised Martel's versatility, highlighting his excellent performance as a babyface and a heel. Santana also echoed Jake Roberts' sentiments regarding Martel's absence from the WWE Hall of Fame, despite Martel boasting a career just as impressive as Santana's.
Controversial Original Name for Tag Team
Santana further dropped a surprising revelation about the naming of their tag team. According to him, there were better choices than Strike Force. The original name proposed by Vince McMahon, the CEO of WWE, was controversial.
Santana explained, "Vince approached me with the idea of teaming up with Rick Martel, and he suggested we name ourselves the Border Patrol." This proposition came during escalating tension and unfortunate incidents involving Hispanics attempting to cross the Texas border.
Many of these attempts ended tragically, with people losing their lives in train boxcars. Concerned about the potential hostile reception due to the ongoing border crisis, Santana voiced his reservations to McMahon. "I explained to Vince that naming us Border Patrol could inadvertently turn us into heels, given the current border situation," said Santana.
"I was worried about how the fans might interpret it." After considering Santana's valid concerns, McMahon agreed to change the tag team's name. Consequently, Border Patrol was replaced with Strike Force, a choice that Santana believes was ultimately more fitting and better received by the WWE fanbase.
This intriguing story offers a behind-the-scenes look at how even real-world events and sentiments can influence the naming of a WWE tag team.