By Ryan K. Boman, Editor in Chief
Folklore has it that, almost a century ago, legendary blues man Robert Johnson went to a country intersection at midnight and sold his soul to Satan to gain mystical, musical ability. The story follows that his deal with the Devil led to not only unprecedented success, but an untimely death at the age of 27.
The moral of the mythology? That every blood pact has an inevitable consequence.
Impact Wrestling’s Sami Callihan is standing at his own set of crossroads right now. In his attempt to touch greatness, it seems that he’s willing to taste the kiss of evil.
That’s been pretty apparent in the way Callihan has handled the mountain of bad press he’s gotten from a recent incident where he legitimately injured opponent Eddie Edwards with a vicious baseball bat strike. Video of the skull shot has quickly gone viral, circulating on the internet and catching the attention of several, stunned media outlets, due to its extreme brutality.
As the perpetrator of said incident, Callihan hasn’t been shy in his response, either.
“I don’t owe anyone an apology, and that’s the way I feel,” Callihan said, in a feisty interview recently with TheGorillaPositon.com, where he remained insolent throughout. “People can say whatever they want about me out there, and I really don’t give a damn. I’m just going to keep doing what I do, and bringing the style that I bring.”
If you haven’t heard about Sami Callihan’s Impact escapades, then you’ve been living under a rock. Since arriving in the company to form Ohio Versus Everything with Dave and Jake Crist, the trio has unleashed a special formula of chaos.
Getting things started right away, oVe launched into a brutal war with Konnan and The Latin American Exchange. That standoff culminated in Barbed Wire Massacre III, a match so brutal that Pop TV refused to allow it on their airwaves.
“LAX are guys who had to scratch and claw, like we did. Every time we got in the ring with them, we didn’t see eye to eye, but we respected where they came from. Because it was the same kind of place we did.”
“We didn’t hold anything back, and neither did they. Because that’s the only way we know.”
The war with LAX notwithstanding, it was his recent botched swing at Eddie Edwards, where the bat slipped passed a chair and nailed him in the eye and skull, that has had the internet buzzing. It appears Edwards escaped permanent injury from the bludgeoning, which aired on the March 1 episode of Impact on Pop!
Many fans were appalled by the stunt, questioning everything from its brutality to even its legitimacy. Online observers, including legends like Jim Cornette and Shane Douglas, berated Callihan for the insanity of even attempting the spot.
But, an even LARGER portion of the audience took issue with Callihan’s apparent, and utter, lack of remorse.
“In today’s day and age of wrestling, where are we? We are at this point where we feel like we owe the fans an apology?” He asked. “Are we where we can’t go to our peers or co-workers with a text, or give them a call? Or, do we just go out and bury people on social media?”
“I don’t want to go to the court of public opinion, okay? I’m not down with that. I do what I do, and I really don’t care… It’s pro wrestling.”
Callihan has gone even beyond unapologetic. With a cold, steely look in his eye, he’s almost offended that he has to justify his actions.
“Don’t people want violence? Isn’t that what they harp on about other companies like WWE? ” Callihan shot back, mocking a familiar refrain: “It’s not violent enough… we don’t want TV wrestling anymore.”
“Well, I gave them violence,” he muttered. “So, if you cant take the heat, then get out of the kitchen.”
Callihan has battled through the bowels of hell before, in gritty companies like Combat Zone Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Syndicate. And with the face of Impact now changing in 2018, he’s quickly made his mark on its burgeoning, new era.
“I don’t consider myself a hardcore wrestler. I call myself a hybrid wrestler. Any style, I can go with that. Everything evolves and everyone has to adapt. It has to be a mix of styles.”
“But if they want violence,” he said, with a demonic chuckle, “I think I’ve shown that I’m more than capable of that, too.”
He also feels like the mayhem that he and his cohorts bring to the table is exactly what the company needs right now.
“Everyone needs to change. There’s a reason for the highest ratings in almost a year. Because of what I do, and because of what Jake and Dave Crist do,” Callihan said. “You look at the whole roster from Austin Aries to Eddie Edwards, and what they do. The whole attitude of this company is changing.”
“They took the shackles off and told us to be us, which is what every other wrestling company should do.”
“We are going to change Impact Wrestling for the better. And, we are going to have everybody talking about it from now on.”
And even with the hell hounds on his trail, he stays one step ahead of it all. In a true act of heel defiance, he’s turned an incident where he almost murdered a fellow wrestler, into a moneymaker.
“Look, I’m about to sell a bunch of shirts. I’m about to sell a bunch of baseball bats. I’m about to watch my bank account grow. That’s all I’m going to take away from all of this. I don’t give a damn about what it means to anyone else.”
The anger he’s generating toes a dangerous line, both as a performer and a person. While he sees an opportunity to throw gasoline on this already raging fire, he must be careful not to burn the last fibers of his humanity.
It’s a strange duality: He’s hated by some fans for the severity of his actions, while at the same time, loved by others for the size of his balls… If drawing heat is a form of pro wrestling religion, then somewhere in the crevices of Callihan’s dark mind, he’s on a crusade.
Now an internet anti-hero, he’s become the industry’s version of ‘Batman’… in more ways than one.
“You never know where I’m going to go, and that’s what makes me dangerous.In so many ways, you never know what I’m going to do”
“As far as Eddie Edwards goes, if he has a problem with me, he can call me like a man. That goes for anyone. Come to me, instead of running around like a little bitch.”
Whatever possesses Sami Callihan in his journey through Impact Wrestling has taken us to this dark place.
And, it appears there’s plenty more evil to come.
FACEBOOK: Sami Callihan
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Sami Callihan bashes Eddie Edwards | IMPACT – March 1, 2018
YouTube: IMPACT Wrestling