SN Q&A: Sami Callihan on intergender match at Impact Wrestling’s Slammiversary; why its a breath of fresh air to be at Impact compared to WWE

first_imgJoin DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearIn the summer of 2013, Callihan joined WWE and competed in NXT under the ring name Solomon Crowe. After being vastly underutilized, Callihan requested —and was granted — his release from the organization. Since then, Callihan has wrestled in New Japan, MLW and Lucha Underground. His transformation into a superstar followed when he signed with Impact Wrestling and made his debut at Bound for Glory in November 2017.This Sunday, at one of the company’s most significant annual events of the year, Slammiversary in Dallas, Callihan takes on Tessa Blanchard in an intergender matchup.Days away from the show, Callihan took some time to speak with Sporting News about facing off with Blanchard, criticism of the bout and being at Impact compared to his time at WWE.(Editor’s Note: The interview was edited for clarity.)Sporting News: You’re a couple of days away from a big match, and from what you told me before we started the interview, you have had an intriguing day.Sami Callihan: Everything I do is busy. Many people can hate me, but I’m the hardest working son of a b—tch in the wrestling business right now. It doesn’t matter if it’s for Impact or my company, The Wrestling Revolver, when it’s time to go to work, I go to work.SN: What came of the idea of starting your promotion?SC: I wanted wrestling to run the right way. I wanted it to be my version of what I think pro wrestling should be. I’ve been running pro wrestling companies since I was 17 years old. I used to run a backyard wrestling company. It’s taboo to say backyard wrestling in this day of age. But when I was younger, I was running backyard wrestling shows when I was junior and senior in high school in front of like 200-300 people. Then I went on to start American Luchacore. That was a company before its time where I’d book these stars from all around the country that no one had heard of at the time. I was successful at that. So when I left WWE, I got together with my old brother, and I said, ‘You know what? Let’s start our own wrestling company and do wrestling the right way’.SN: Why get into wrestling promotion at such a young age? Most want to go to college, but you went and forged a different path.SC: Because I’m a go-getter, and I want to be the most versatile person in the wrestling business. I know all about graphic design, booking talent, writing storylines because I love professional wrestling.SN: You have one of the most popular promotions in wrestling. Has The Wrestling Revolver exceeded your expectations, or is it going at a pace where you knew it was already going to be at?SC: I think it’s going exactly as I planned it to go. In the last three years, The Wrestling Revolver has landed successful shows during Wrestlemania weekend at WrestleCon and have done shows in five different states. Everywhere we have run a show, we have been successful. I set goals for myself. I set goals for my company. My brother from day one, and I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. We weren’t going to do this half-a–. There’s a reason me and my brother haven’t taken one dime from the Pro Wrestling Revolver because every ounce of money we make goes back into the company and buying something new and special. Hell, we just bought an 18-foot trailer because we want to get to that next level. We want to become a traveling brand.Being with Impact Wrestling right now, they give me that freedom. They’ve helped me along the way with a lot of stuff. It’s a great partnership that I’ve been able to have with them for the last couple of years.SN: How has Impact helped your promotion since your time in the company?SC: Sometimes, they work out deals with talent. They promote stuff. That’s the best part of Impact Wrestling right now. It’s not just a wrestling organization that says, ‘Hey, this is what your doing and this is what’s going to happen’. They let us go out and be creative, live out our dreams, and help us every step of the way.SN: Is it a breath of fresh air compared to your time in NXT?SC: In WWE, it seemed like we had to get permission to take a piss. In Impact Wrestling, it’s ok if you make a mistake and help you learn along the way in every single aspect of what you want to do and need to do.SN: You have a big match this weekend out in Dallas for Slammiversary against Tessa Blanchard.SC: (Cuts the question) Quite arguably, we are going to change the wrestling world. Where’s there ever been an intergender match of this proportion even though we aren’t the headliners on pay-per-view?Some people may hate intergender wrestling, but I’m a big proponent of it. It’s going to be part of the wave of the future. On the independent scene, intergender wrestling has picked up the last couple of years. It should be, ‘Wow, a female is going to wrestle this male. How did we get here?’I look at wrestling as if I can tell some stories, especially with someone like Tessa Blanchard. I may not agree with her. I may think she’s a dumb b—ch sometimes. But at the same time, I think Tessa Blanchard, regardless of male or female, is one of the best workers on the planet right now.SN: What do you say to the critics of intergender matches?SC: Watch Sunday and see us have the match of the year.SN: What makes her so special?SC: Because she doesn’t walk on eggshells. Tessa Blanchard is a bad b—ch. She’s a tough son of a b—ch. She goes out there looking every single time to be the best professional wrestler on the planet just like me. And that’s why we butt heads.On Sunday, we are going to go out there and leave it all on the line and see who the better person is man or female.SN: What do you make of this show top to bottom because it’s a pretty stacked card?SC: We have some of the best PPV’s of any wrestling company. I’d put last year’s Slammiversary against any wrestling pay-per-view of the previous year. That’s how amazing the show was. And this year’s Slammiversary exceeds last year’s easily. You have a lot of people right now saying their company is the best. I’m stepping up and saying I want to be one of the leaders of Impact Wrestling that helps bring this company to the new wave and have this company contend again. I think Sunday’s show is going to do precisely that when we have the best pay-per-view of the year.SN: A lot of rumors are going around right now about Impact and a possible TV deal with AXS TV.SC: (Cuts off the question) There sure are a lot of rumors going around right now. No one has said anything to us. I think once something happens; things are going to blow up. People want to s—t on our current situation. But us being on Twitch is a big thing. What people don’t realize is that we can do our own thing on Twitch. We can do our own thing on Pursuit. We have the freedom to do what we want and make the company what we want. We don’t have network executives telling us what to do and what can and cannot do. On specific networks, we may not be able to do intergender matches with Tessa Blanchard.But we are going to be able to do it this Sunday at Slammiversary and change history.SN: How do you feel you have evolved as a performer from WWE to Impact?SC: I don’t feel like my d—k has been cut off. The days that stopped happening was when everything had changed for me. Throughout my career, I’ve been able to evolve and do different things. I never want my character to become stagnant. I’m not complacent doing one thing. Every couple of months, I want to do something that’s going to create a buzz that gets my name in people’s mouths. And I think I have done that. One of the hottest acts outside of WWE is Sami Callihan. The 31-year-old began wrestling at the age of 17 when he ran a backyard wrestling organization. From there, Callihan toured the independent scene and became a household name competing in promotions like Ring of Honor, Evolve and Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW). SN: Why should people watch Slammiversary and in particular, your match with Tessa Blanchard?SC: Look at the card. The card is amazing. I’m not s—ting on any other wrestling. Why can’t we all be good? Why can’t every promotion have their niche, have their audience, and have their fanbase?Just watch wrestling. People need to stop being so critical and stop thinking about what they would do better or how’d they do it better. We are the professionals, and on Sunday, we are going to have the best pay-per-view of the year.last_img

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