At Rebellion last April, Brian Cage fulfilled one of his dreams, he defeated Johnny Impact to become the Impact World Champion. Sadly, the same night, Brian Cage was rushed to the hospital as he suffered a back injury after a bad landing on a Spanish Fly from Johnny. His desire to be a defending Champion was put on hold.
At Slammiversary XVII, he defended the title against Michael Elgin, who made a striking debut at Homecoming by attacking the newly-crowned Champion. It was clear Cage was not 100% that night, but he overcame all odds and defeated Elgin. Meanwhile, the show was going on, and a new no.1 contender emerged.
When Cage finally made his comeback in Mexico last August, he was in the mood for love, not for hate. Sami Callihan destroyed his wedding celebration and attacked Cage’s bride Melissa Santos multiple times. What was supposed to be a feud for a title became more personal and nasty. For sure, their Bound For Glory encounter will be epic.
SteelChair Mag had the chance to have a one-on-one conversation with Brian Cage about his Championship Reign, his title defences, Bound For Glory PPV, and seeing his wife Melissa Santos getting involved in his recent feud with Sami Callihan.
How are you? Is your back better now?
It’s not 100% just yet, but it’s healed up enough. I shouldn’t be going backward. Basically, it’s not good to go yet, but it’s good enough to where wrestling is not going to make it get worse than it was. There are other interests around it, which explains more of the bottom and longevity of the injury. Before I could wrestle a match, I wouldn’t be able to walk for 2 weeks. Now it’s not 100%, it kind of like hurts or like prevents me from doing some things but if I wrestle a match, I’m fine. It doesn’t get any worse now. That’s like staying the same or getting better, so it’s just a matter of time.
You didn’t have the chance to defend the Impact World title the way you wanted to. Do you feel a little bit sad about that?
Absolutely. I’ve been the first one to say that I’ve been the most upset and disappointed with the title reign because it’s something that I’ve wanted forever, to be the World Champion. When I finally have it come to fruition, I spend the night in the hospital. This has been the reign that I’ve had, with only one title defence. Yes, it sucks, and I’m disappointed with it, but it is what it is. All I can do is make the best of it and hopefully kill it with Sami Callihan, have the match of the night at Bound For Glory, try to defend the title, and see what’s possible afterwards.
Sami Callihan is one hell of a wrestler. How are you preparing for your match at Bound For Glory?
Actually, I was more concerned with Elgin. I truly thought he was maybe a more physical and imposing threat. As you said, it was obvious I wasn’t 100% at Slammiversary, and it was a big deal to me because I was not 100%, and also it was my first match back and title defence. I felt like I had a lot to prove, not just to the fans of the business, but just to myself. I really enjoyed that match, that was a great match, but there’s a lot of special meaning or value to that match to me just because of how it unfolded, and my injury took place leading up to that match.
That being said, there’s much more personal rivalry going on between Sami and I. I’m not as concerned with being able to defeat Sami as it was with Elgin because I feel 100% certain that I will defeat Sami Callihan. It’s just more of how I’m going to do it. Sami had some great matches, he was victorious over Tessa Blanchard. He’s garnished a lot of hate, but he has his fair share of followers and people are fans of him, and he has led Team Impact through and through, so I’ll give him that.
Your feud has become more personal with all that happened in the most recent episodes
We were pretty good friends at one point time, and then we just kind of went separate ways. We’re professional enough to work together and to tear the house down, but again, through what has taken place, there’s going to be a lot more resentment and personal animosity once we face each other at Bound For Glory. We’re not as tight as we used to be, that just happens, and people go different ways. It is what it is, but I think that’s what adds a little bit of realism to the match. I was extremely upset to see Melissa involved, for Sami’s actions over her, and for what else is taking place in the build-up of this match. I don’t think it’s worth it before it gets better, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better for Sami Callihan as well.
You’ve been on Impact for nearly two years. What do you think you were able to bring to the table over the last two years to help Impact grow and to help your career?
It’s been mutually beneficial. I’ll say that for sure. I was a little uncertain, I guess, when I was jumping on board back in January 2018. I was talking to them towards the end of the year 2017, and because Impact was kind of in the downward spiral, it was a little bit of a funk, and it was trying to get back up. It was kind of Catch-22, I can jump on board, try to help turn the ship around and create something new again or I could jump on a sinking ship maybe it was too late to be saved. So we went back and forth with that as far as what would I be doing, how I could be beneficial to the company, and how the company could be beneficial to me. Long story short, it worked out well, and it helped grow my fanbase and establish me as a more known entity in wrestling and a superstar. At the same time, I feel like I helped to get some eyes on Impact, and kind of give it some merit to have been a legit quality wrestling show again.
Impact Wrestling is now on AXS TV. In a currently more than crowded wrestling landscape, do you think Impact is the best place for you to compete?
Somebody asked me how I can describe Impact Wrestling earlier in one word and I said, forever lasting, because if there’s been so many times rumours or feelings amongst fans and even people in the business that feel like Impact Wrestling is going out of business or they’re done, it’s over they’re gone, see you later, every single time you’ve stuck around they pull through and they came on top. 2016-2017 was a rough spot for them for sure, but 2018 totally turned stuff around. This year has been phenomenal and, with our jumping over to AXS going into 2020, I think a lot of people will find be able to see what they’ve been missing, which has been what I keep saying to be the most consistent televised wrestling product when it comes to storylines and match quality.
I feel like Impact has been the best, the most consistent product out there, it’s just been a shame that not enough people have been able to watch it to realise that’s the case. People who are criticising Impact Wrestling and saying how bad it is aren’t even watching the product. They have no idea. They say I haven’t watched it since 2013 or whatever year it is. I’m like, ah well, there have been six years of changes, there’s a completely new freaking locker room, a new station, new writers, new management, new everything, so it’s not the same product at all.
What other matches than yours are you looking forward to seeing at Bound For Glory?
There’s been a nice build-up with Moose and Shamrock, and I’ve always been a huge Ken Shamrock fan. I want to see that match. Obviously, Shamrock is past his prime, but I’m curious to see what he’ll bring and how that match will go. He’s in phenomenal shape for his age, so I’m curious to see where he’s at now compared to where he was back in the day. On top of that, I’m very curious about the Call Your Shot Gauntlet match. We don’t know who’s going there and what’s going to happen. It’s something new and different, so I’m really into that. Whenever there’s something new in wrestling, which is very hard to do, it always grabs my attention, so I’m stoked for that one. As far as just building a match, Marufuji and Elgin, I’m sure, is going to be phenomenal. If Marufuji is still in the States for the Impact tapings in Windsor, after Bound for Glory, I’ve already called dibs on trying to work with him. I would absolutely love to work with him. That match may come to fruition, we’ll see. I want to work Marufuji in Windsor, that would be phenomenal, championship, or no championship.
Would you be disappointed to lose the Championship?
Absolutely because, as I said earlier since I haven’t got to do much with my injury, it would be frustrating and upsetting to lose it. But I’m not in that frame of mind where I’m thinking or feeling that’s going to be an option, so I’m not too concerned with that. Then, on top of Marufuji, there’s a laundry list of guys that I would love to get in the ring with and especially defend the title against, post-Bound For Glory, and again to make up for the lost time. So hopefully, we can start that list at the top with Marufuji and just check it down.
What is the atmosphere of the locker room currently, I mean you all haven’t seen each other since New York City, but what is the current atmosphere of the locker room with all the things that are happening right now?
Our locker room is doing pretty good, even at its heights or its lows or its uncertainty. The overall locker room has always been a pretty good atmosphere, a very good mood. Everyone gets along really well together. I feel like people come together as a team to make sure that the overall Impact Wrestling product is great, which is nice to see instead of everyone going out for themselves, to make themselves look like number one. There’s a nice little team camaraderie. We’re trying to make Impact Wrestling look like number one, not in the individual talent.
Were you worried to see your wife Melissa involved in this storyline?
At first, I was glad. She must have been used more often and in a different light, and obviously, that’s not how I envisioned it and what I wanted to happen to her, but I do hope this kind of opens the door to her doing some more stuff, outside of backstage interviews. I know she’s got an array of talent. She’s athletic, she’s done some training, and she was planning on getting in the ring more. I mean, she’s a phenomenal host and ring announcer, so I think with her getting in front of the camera in a different light, the benefit from that will be that you’ll hopefully start to take on a different, or additional role in Impact Wrestling.
She was already involved in some feuds and matches in other promotions…
Melissa already wrestled on Lucha Underground. She had a tag match with Fénix. Before that match, she worked in the first pilot season of Women of Wrestling. She’s done a match with me on Bar Wrestling. You can find it on YouTube, me and her versus Eli Everfly and Delilah Doom. She’s done a few things, and for a limited amount of training, she’s done it very well. We were training for another match when she tore her knee, so hopefully, maybe that door will open up again when she’s fully recovered.
All pics, videos, and screencaps courtesy of Impact Wrestling and Basil Mahmud