Unpredictable, psycho, maniac, Death Machine, that’s the way Sami Callihan is used to describing himself. But as he was talking to the media during a recent IMPACT Wrestling conference call, The Worldwide Desperado showed he’s in fact a wrestling mastermind, a man who decided to bet on himself and his abilities to build his own legacy. Because he was Solomon Crowe in NXT, because he refused what the WWE Machine could offer to him, he’s now able to make his career on his own rules. “You never know where I’m going to show up, never know what I’m gonna do, that’s what’s glorious about me”, he stated. On IMPACT Wrestling, he reunited with his long-time friends and Ohio brothers, Jake and Dave Crist, aka IMPACT World tag Team Champions oVe, and they’re decided to show the world on an international TV platform what they’re about.
The Worldwide Desperado
“Whether it be for oVe, whether it be in New Japan, whether it be for Lucha Underground, whether it be for any other company, you never know where Sami Callihan is going to show up next and that’s what makes me the aura of what I am today.” In a 13-year career, Sami Callihan has wrestled for every major company around the world. And he has no issue with fitting to all these different companies as long as he can be himself.
On Lucha Underground, he was Jeremiah Crane. Will he be back on Season 4 next year? “I will never go into depth exactly where I’m going to be where I’m going to show. And when it comes to Lucha Underground staff, at this moment, we really don’t know where Season 4 is going to happen, we don’t really know when Season 4 is going to debut, so that’s really up to them. I’ll show up in Season 4 or I’ll show up somewhere else.”
Callihan made his debut with NJPW last month, teaming with Juice Robinson, another former NXT alumni, for the World Tag League. “New Japan is a dream come true for me and I got a chance to team with a guy that is equally inside of me, we both quit the Machine inside of something better and now we’re both flourishing in different aspects of professional wrestling. I absolutely love Juice Robinson and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. I think Juice is one of the most underrated guys on the planet today, he is a true brother when you really think about wrestling brothers.”
Callihan is not only a wrestler, he’s one of the writers for CZW, he has his own promotion in Ohio, Revolver Pro Wrestling. A place where he can develop his own vision of wrestling. “I just want to show that mediocrity is dead. I want wrestling to be like when I grew up on. What I believe in is a buffet of wrestling, I believe it, you can have a little bit of tactical, a little bit of comedy, a little bit of hardcore, have a little bit of just straight-up 80’s wrestling. I want a little bit of all wrestling because that’s why I believe in and that’s what I saw. Pro wrestling could be anything that we make it, pro wrestling doesn’t have to be one thing, and it’s really cool right now that wrestling in general is getting more eyes on it than ever before.” Intergender matches, something he explored in Lucha Underground, is not something that is frightening him. “I love intergender wrestling. In my company, I am a big proponent of an intergender matches wrestling. I think it’s one of the top wrestling in today’s day and age I wish more companies could absolutely accept that. Girls can do anything we guys can do, sometimes the girls can do it better than the guys can do.”
When I had difficulties to ask him who are his influences (The Great Muta, Vader and Stone Cold emerged in his answer, but only if he can hurt them), UK wrestling was a subject he and Jake Crist, who joined the media call in the middle of it, had no problem to talk about. “I love British wrestling, I think it’s one of the hotbeds of independence and professional wrestling in general. I think intellect wrestling will be great getting some more guys from England guys like Travis Banks, anyone from Fight Club:Pro, Rev Pro, What Culture, there’s a lot of amazing talent in England right now. I would love to get about with them on a national scale. I think Jake can say that same thing, we had some of the best matches of our careers in England and I would love for the international masses to be able to see that on television.”
The “Family” Man
Way before they’ve become oVe on IMPACT, Sami Callihan has been friends with Dave and Jake Crist for years. Friends is not the best word for him, “those 2 are my brothers, they’re amazing. When all 3 of us are together, there is nothing that can touch us, there’s nothing that is more unstoppable than oVe. We’re number one, we are taking over everything.” Ohio Versus Everything, or Ohio Is 4 Killers, has been the brothers’ trademark for a very long time, something they brought to IMPACT but definitely belongs to us. “oVe and OI4K, it’s pretty much the same thing. We’re Ohio Versus Everything wherever we go. It’s for Ohio, it’s by Ohio, we’re the guys claiming that, we’re the guys trademarking that, we are the guys with the freedom of leave it back and no one could ever take that away from us. We’re from Ohio, we’re the heart of America and this is what we’re all about.”
Jake Crist saw their stable as “a grungier, dirtier version of the Fabulous FreeBirds”. Callihan made his debut on IMPACT Wrestling at Bound for Glory to help his brothers. For Jake Crist, his arrival changed something. “Sami brings a like a confidence level to our team that was missing obviously when he wasn’t with us. On our first tapings it was overwhelming for us at first and, now that we had our feet on the ground, I feel like we’re getting good traction and Sami’s just a huge added bonus for us.”
Callihan loved his debut on IMPACT and the fact the company gave them a worldwide television platform to show who they are and what they can do as a stable. “That is a dream come true. I want to show a worldwide television audience why other companies bet on a guy like me, bet on these 2 guys. I’m gonna shown them exactly what we’re going to do, the ratings we’re going to produce and the big buzz we’re going to generate with who we are and that is Ohio versus Everything.”
A Barbed-wire set of goals
Since their debut on IMPACT, oVe and LAX have been involved in a war that is soon going to culminate in a no-ropes, barbed-wire match (as IMPACT is taping several months of episodes a few days a month, we can expect to watch this match by the end of December or early January 2018). A kind of match that has never been aired on national television before, something both Sami Callihan and Jake Crist are proud of. “We’re changing wrestling right now, we are making history, we are airing the very first no-ropes barbed-wire match that ever aired on national television, sure it aired on pay-per-view, sure it aired on other outlets, but it never aired on national television. No one can ever take that away from us as we’re showing exactly the kind of professional wrestling that we want, that IMPACT wants and what the IMPACT picture going for is going to be.”
A very unapologetic match that left specific remembers on the bodies and minds of the wrestlers. “When I look in the mirror and I look at my back and I see all the scars from the Barbed-Wire massacre, it is just unbelievable. I’m thankful, as weird as it sounds, for ours to be in the Barbed-Wire Massacre match and to make history with my brothers,” explained Jake. Callihan is not as thankful as his brother: “I’m not thankful for having to go through the barbed wire again. It’s something that I went through earlier in my career and something that I didn’t think I would have to go through again. I have scars all over my body from deathmatches I’ve pursued all over the world from Germany to England to Japan to America and now in Canada but we did it because it’s what we had to do. LAX thought they are the bigger family and I told them hell no. We are on IMPACT wrestling and we are proving that we are three of the baddest men walking this planet. Today we are assets IMPACT is lucky to have and we are lucky to have IMPACT. With this no-rope Barbed-Wire Massacre, we’re going to show the world exactly who we are, we are going to show the world exactly what IMPACT Wrestling is all about and put IMPACT right into the sunset.”
When the scars are heeled and the LAX feud over, what oVe wants to be, what Sami Callihan wants to be on IMPACT is pretty simple. “One year from now, Dave and Jake Crist are going to be World Tag Team champions as they’re right now. I’m going to be the IMPACT Global Champion. We’re going to take all the belts, it doesn’t matter if it’s IMPACT Global or X-Division Championship. We’re going to take IMPACT wrestling to the next level.”
Sami Callihan may be as unpredictable as he says he is, when it comes to IMPACT Wrestling he knows exactly which road he and his brothers have to take. A golden and destructive one, in fact the one they’ve always taken.