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Mike Pankow

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Sami Callihan envisions himself as top guy in IMPACT Wrestling

Sami Callihan envisions himself as top guy in IMPACT Wrestling

(Thumbnail photo above, courtesy IMPACT Wrestling)

By Mike Pankow

June 26, 2019

Sami Callihan says he’s “a 5-8 white guy from Ohio”, but he has much bigger visions for his IMPACT Wrestling career.

“I’m going to be the face of that company whether they like it or not,” the native of Bellefontaine, Ohio, said during the IMPACT Wrestling Press Pass Podcast and media teleconference on May 16.

Sami Callihan, center, during oVe’s Barbed Wire Masscare match against LAX in Jan. 2018. Callihan, who is one of IMPACT Wrestling’s hottest acts with his unique look, brawling style and no-nonsense attitude, will face Tessa Blanchard at Slammiversary on July 7.  (Photo courtesy IMPACT Wrestling)

Sami Callihan, center, during oVe’s Barbed Wire Masscare match against LAX in Jan. 2018. Callihan, who is one of IMPACT Wrestling’s hottest acts with his unique look, brawling style and no-nonsense attitude, will face Tessa Blanchard at Slammiversary on July 7. (Photo courtesy IMPACT Wrestling)

After a brutal feud with Eddie Edwards last year that propelled his career into new heights, Callihan is now targeting the Knockouts Division. “The Callihan Death Machine” has picked a fight with the diamond of the IMPACT women’s roster, third generation star Tessa Blanchard. The two will meet in an intergender match at Slammiversary on July 7 in Dallas.

“Tessa Blanchard, I know you want to be looked at as an equal,” Callihan said during a video that aired on the June 21 episode of IMPACT on Pursuit Channel and Twitch. “You want to make history. I’m going to give you that chance. Sami Callihan’s going to make you famous.”

Blanchard, who was the guest on the Press Pass Podcast on May 23, commented on intergender wrestling and some people’s conceptions on it.

“I think that there’s a way to do it,” Blanchard said. “There’s a way to tell that story, a way for that to come off properly. Hopefully we can change people’s opinions of that.”

It should be an interesting dichotomy when Blanchard and Callihan square off in Dallas.

Callihan, 31, is one of the hottest heels in professional wrestling and much of the credit goes to the amazing, hard-hitting rivalry with Edwards in early 2018.

On the March 1, 2018 episode of IMPACT Wrestling, a baseball-bat-wielding Callihan attacked Edwards in the ring. One downward swing later, things got extreme. Callihan clipped Edwards in the face with the bat, breaking his nose and orbital bone and leaving him a bloody mess.

The graphic attack took on new life as the situation exploded on social media with numerous people taking Callihan to task for the incident on Twitter, and in turn, Callihan turning it into a vehicle for fueling the rivalry.

“Social media is big around the world,” Callihan said. “When you really break it down, our President was pretty much elected because of social media and his social media presence of being able to build a revolution for his side of things. That’s how the world has gone now. You see people’s lives ruined because of social media. You see people become huge international stars because of social media.”

After numerous barbaric matches between the two, Callihan said he has found a new respect for Edwards, a former IMPACT Wrestling World Champion.

“I’m proud of Eddie Edwards,” said Callihan of Edwards’ character transformation. “He finally quit being a boring (SOB) and grew some balls. He’s having one of the best runs of his career and is a complete madman. I like this Eddie Edwards a lot more than the other Eddie Edwards. This Eddie Edwards will go out and bleed, he’ll bite a man’s nose off. I think it’s just a matter of time before you’ll find him back in the world title picture.”

Callihan debuted in IMPACT at the Bound for Glory pay-per-view event on Nov. 5, 2017, when he joined oVe (Ohio Versus Everything), helping Dave and Jake Crist retain the IMPACT Wrestling World Tag Team Championship over LAX. That led to a six-man Barbed Wire Massacre match (where barbed wire took the place of traditional ring ropes) between oVe and LAX (Santana, Ortiz and Homicide) that originally aired on Twitch.

Since then, oVe has taken off and has become one of the hottest factions in pro wrestling.

The group recently grew to four members when oVe added the hulking 6-8, 315-pound Madman Fulton, former NXT Superstar Sawyer Fulton, an original member of Sanity for the WWE developmental brand. Fulton definitely adds something different to the group with the other three members standing under 6 feet tall.

“He’s my big, sexy bastard,” Callihan said. “Being able to have a giant man that I ride to the ring makes for good television.”

Callihan also has engaged in heated rivalries with Pentagon Jr., which culminated in a Hair vs. Mask match at last year’s Slammiversary, and Rich Swann over the X Division Championship earlier this year.

In addition to wreaking havoc in IMPACT, Callihan recently lost a Loser Leaves MLW match to Mance Warner, where at one point, he stapled dollar bills to Warner’s arms and forehead.

Sami Callihan, right, yells after delivering a blow to Christopher Daniels at Warrior Wrestling 4 in March 2019. Callihan, a fixture for IMPACT Wrestling for nearly two years, is also the current AAW Champion.  (Photo by Mike Pankow)

Sami Callihan, right, yells after delivering a blow to Christopher Daniels at Warrior Wrestling 4 in March 2019. Callihan, a fixture for IMPACT Wrestling for nearly two years, is also the current AAW Champion. (Photo by Mike Pankow)

In the Chicago area, Callihan is the reigning AAW Champion and he is set to defend that title against a mystery opponent at a live event this Friday night (June 28) at 115 Bourbon Street in South suburban Merrionette Park. He has held the AAW title for six months after defeating Brody King at the Windy City Classic.

Also, Callihan and the Crist brothers wrestled against So Cal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) in the main event of Warrior Wrestling 4 in Chicago Heights back in March.

“If it’s not Ohio, I have to say Chicago is my second home,” Callihan said. “I’m not taking all the credit, but I think one of the major reasons that Chicago wrestling has blown up is because I put Chicago wrestling on my back and helped it get to the point that it is now.”

Even with his busy schedule, Callihan also runs his own company, Pro Wrestling Revolver, which uses a lot of IMPACT talent for its shows.

Callihan has been wrestling for a little over a decade and gained his first significant exposure in Ring of Honor about 10 years ago. His wrestling journey took him to independents all over the country and included a stop in NXT as Solomon Crowe.

As he has grown in his career, Callihan’s career has evolved over the years.

“Every couple of years, I like to reinvent myself,” he said. “At one point, I was one of the best strong-style technical wrestlers on the planet. I like to switch it up, because I get bored very easily. I have OCD and ADD. I have to switch it up, so I don’t want to get complacent. Right now, I’m having the best run I’ve ever had in professional wrestling.”

And the highlight of that run has come in IMPACT Wrestling over the last two years. It’s not out of the question that Callihan can be a legitimate, credible world champion who can create some great television moments if and when he’s given that opportunity. The man who calls himself “The Draw” definitely believes in himself.

“I’m going to be the face of that company whether they like it or not,” he said. “They have Brian Cage and Johnny Impact, who have amazing bodies and look like movie stars instead of guys like that looks like a gargoyle like me. The thing about me that (Cage and Johnny Impact) don’t have is that I can connect with people on a different level that they can.”

For more on IMPACT Wrestling, including their Press Pass Podcasts, follow their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/TNAwrestling.

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