Three months ago, when I first took part in an Impact media call with Sami Callihan, I depicted him as a “family man”, hidden behind the psycho, maniac, unpredictable, Death Machine. But at this very moment, it seems like The Worldwide Desperado has a “Wanted” poster with his face on it, running around the Internet. Since the baseball incident that was aired on IMPACT three weeks ago, Callihan has been criticized, despised, hated. And he has loved every second of it.
“I’m the most hated man in wrestling right now. So be it. I don’t care! I really don’t care anymore because this incident has launched me into the next atmosphere. People think that just because I anger people and wrestlers want to talk trash to me online, that it’s going to hurt my bookings. But I’m being booked at a higher rate, so everything you guys are trying to do is backfiring.” Last week, on a new Impact media call, Callihan was offered to talk about the accident and the controversy surrounding it. His answer was ‘no holds barred’. Like the man himself.
Let’s start with the beginning. At January’s Impact tapings, Eddie Edwards and Sami Callihan faced off in a match that was aired less than three weeks ago. Edwards won the match and an unhappy Callihan grabbed his bat and a chair. He put the chair on Edwards’ chest, swung the bat – which hit the chair – but ricocheted off onto Edwards’ face, near his eye and nose. In addition to broken bones in his face, Edwards also had a broken nose. Because of the injury, Callihan has become a kind of wrestling monster, unsafe and careless. And he doesn’t give a damn about it. Does he have remorse for what happened? “No, because it’s professional wrestling. Injuries happen in pro wrestling. Accidents happen and I’m going to make the best of it. I’m going to become the biggest professional wrestler in the world right now.”
May the bat be the problem? For Sami Callihan, it’s more an accessory that gives credit to his character. “I said it’s going to be pretty good to start attacking people with this, and that’s what I did. A lot of times what goes through my head, there is no rhyme or reason, things just happen, and that’s how I live my life. I’m a spontaneous person, and I’m going to continue to be a spontaneous person. I like the person that I am and am going to continue to be. If people want to call me the new Sting, then so be it. Sting was a pretty badass dude that carried a baseball bat. The difference between me and Sting is that I’m not going to be hiding in the rafters. I’m going to be coming at you face-to-face.”
Accidents may happen in wrestling, but that didn’t stop the wrestling world at large jumping down his throat. And his answer to them is pretty simple: “For all the people who I’ve offended, you can pretty much just kiss my ass. Jim Cornette can kiss my ass. Any of the wrestlers that want to speak out at me can kiss my ass. Because I’m making money, I’m setting the wrestling world on fire, and I’m going to become legendary, even if it’s for all the wrong reasons.”
“If people are afraid of me, so be it. I really don’t care at this point. I think my track record speaks for itself. I’m one of the only guys in wrestling history to wrestle for Impact, Lucha Underground, WWE, ROH, NXT and New Japan. I’ll take a term from the Undertaker, ‘get in the ring and I’ll make you famous’ because I’m the person everyone is talking about. I had so many people come up to me and say I was careless and unsafe and that’s why I really just turned everything off and said I don’t give a damn anymore who I offend or I upset because I’m sitting at the top of the mountain and no one’s going to pull me down.“
Eddie Edwards has taken the time to heal and refused to have talks with Callihan. “Eddie, I have worked with you for over 10 years and we’re supposed to be friends. If he’s letting himself think I did this on purpose, so be it. Now, if people want to make me out to be a monster, it’s time to be a monster. I don’t care anymore. Scott Hall said this, ‘you know what, I have a bunch of friends, I want some money now.’ That’s how I feel, I have the friends that I need and that I want, so now it’s time to make some money.”
When I asked him if what happened could make him change the way he’s wrestling on Impact he said the same thing. “No, I’m going to be the same. I’m gonna be the guy out there busting my ass, night after night, having the match of the night, wherever I go. All these people can talk a bunch of crap about me but wherever Sami Callihan goes, whether it’s on national TV, a big indie company or somewhere around the world, Sami Callihan creates buzz and gets people talking. I’m not changing who I am. I’m not gonna quit walking around with a baseball bat. I’m going to continue being me. Don’t hate on me because I’m better at being me than you guys are at being you.”
… and its aftermath
At the very same moment the media were learning from Josh Mathews Eddie Edwards and Sami Callihan will face off again at WrestleCon on April 6 in an I Quit Match, Callihan was also learning about it. And he was not okay with the method. “I love the way I find out what matches I’m booked in now is by online or conference call. Impact Wrestling management couldn’t go out of their way to at least give me a call or text message and say, ‘We want you to face Eddie Edwards at WrestleCon”. No, it’s not going to happen. Sami Callihan is not going to wrestle at WrestleCon for Impact Wrestling.”
In an Impact Wrestling vs. Lucha Underground event, with Eddie Edwards representing Impact, the only way for Callihan to come is to be Jeremiah Crane, his character in Lucha Underground. And in many ways, this could very bad news for Eddie Edwards. “Sami Callihan is just an extension of me. At this point, I’ve kinda lost track of who I am as a real person and who I am as Sami Callihan anymore. The lines are blurred. Now Jeremiah Crane, on the other hand, he’s a way more messed up individual than I am. When I go to the Temple, and I have to put on the gear and have to become that different person, I do. It’s Jekyll and Hyde, people don’t like wrestling me as Jeremiah Crane because Jeremiah Crane is a mean son of a b****. I’m pretty sure everyone thinks Sami Callihan is a mean son of a b***, garbage, unsafe, dangerous, deathmatch trash worker as well. I’m glad Jeremiah Crane doesn’t come out that often because my body would be dead right now if I had to put it through the kind of stuff that Jeremiah Crane puts his body through. I’m glad I get to wrestle as Sami Callihan 90% of the year.”
Many Impact wrestlers are also wrestling for Lucha Underground, as season four is currently being shot. “With this relationship in the next couple seasons, you’ll see a lot more Impact guys getting into the mix there.” Sami Callihan is, in fact, pretty happy Lucha Underground and Impact can now work together. “It’s an awesome time to be a professional wrestler because people are starting to get smart. They’re starting to realize that WWE has a monopoly on everything. So now it has to be everyone or WWE. So everyone has to work together. All the major promotions are starting to realize that Lucha Underground working with Impact is a great deal. It’s two companies that people are going to be talking about in the year coming because of our relationships together and the talent in it. You really don’t know where people are going to show up and are going to do. In my line of work, this is going to make my wallet look really good because I’m gonna be able to double dip, triple dip for as many promotions as I can.”
Sami Callihan is a mastermind. Three months later, it’s still damn true. Nietzsche said what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. On April 6, Eddie Edwards, like Sami Callihan, will have the opportunity to prove that, from all the mess the accident fired up, one of the greatest matches in history could take place. And no one could be more ready for it than a badass Worldwide Desperado that doesn’t give a damn about what people can think of him.