In this week’s IMPACT review, I was telling you, my very personal way, I was considering Sami Callihan as one of the cornerstones of the company, one of its most vocal and loyal supporters. After three fruitful years with the company, crowned by a World Championship in 2019, Callihan announced on social media he signed a new 2-year contract with the company.
Today marks when I WOULD have been a FREE AGENT.
I just RE-SIGNED with @IMPACTWRESTLING, 2 years for BIG money.
I got other offers…but I don’t give a damn.
This is MY company.
I made this company.
— ₮ⱧɆ ĐⱤ₳₩ (@TheSamiCallihan) January 1, 2021
After a few weeks of teasing the now-famous “Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down,” “The Draw” Sami Callihan made his debut at Bound For Glory in 2017 by interfering in a 5150 Street Fight for the World Tag Team Championship, helping Ohio Versus Everything (Dave and Jake Crist) defeat Santana and Ortiz of The Latin American Xchange (LAX) to retain the title. In early 2018, Callihan and the Crist Brothers were involved in the infamous Barbed Wire Massacre match, only the third in the long history of TNA/Impact Wrestling.
His fate would change on March 1st, 2018, episode of IMPACT when he accidentally hit Eddie Edwards with a baseball bat when it ricocheted on the chair set on Edwards. Edwards would suffer “a broken orbital and broken nose.” That day, not only Callihan became a star but he has also found the man who is still now his better enemy. Callihan made his pay-per-view debut for Impact at the Redemption event on April 22, 2018, where oVe defeated Eddie Edwards, Moose and Tommy Dreamer in a House of Hardcore match.
oVe began a lengthy feud against The Lucha Brothers in the summer of 2018, which led to a mask vs. hair match between Callihan and Pentagón at Slammiversary XVI, which Callihan lost, which led to Callihan’s hair being shaved off by the Lucha Brothers. Callihan and Pentagón had a rematch on the August 23 episode of Impact, a Mexican Deathmatch, which Callihan won. The rivalry continued between the two teams with Brian Cage joining the Lucha Brothers in the feud. This led to an oVe Rules match pitting oVe against Cage and the Lucha Brothers at Bound for Glory, which oVe won when Callihan pinned Cage. This win earned Callihan, his first title shot in Impact Wrestling against Cage for the X Division Championship on the November 15 episode of Impact, which Callihan lost.
In early 2019, oVe entered a feud with the team of Rich Swann, Tommy Dreamer and Willie Mack, which led to Callihan defeating Mack at the Homecoming pay-per-view but lost a rematch on the January 11 episode of Impact. Callihan would begin pursuing Swann’s X Division Championship, unsuccessfully challenging him for the title on the March 22 episode of Impact and in an oVe Rules match at Rebellion. In a storyline based on the long story between the two men, as Callihan helped Swann when he started wrestling, Swann was pushed to his ultimate limits by an always more cocky Callihan.
In the summer of 2019, Callihan began a lengthy feud with Tessa Blanchard regarding intergender wrestling where he claimed that men were superior to women. The two had their first encounter in the main event of Slammiversary XVII, which Callihan won. The match was awarded the Match of the Year Award by Impact Wrestling fans. At the Unbreakable event, Callihan became the #1 contender for the Impact World Championship.
Subsequently, Callihan began feuding with the World Champion Brian Cage, unsuccessfully challenging him for the title at Bound for Glory. However, Callihan prompted Cage into giving him a rematch. On the October 29 episode of Impact, Callihan defeated Cage in a Steel Cage match to win the Impact World Championship. He successfully defended the title against Cage in a rematch at Turning Point and Rich Swann at No Surrender before losing the title to rival Tessa Blanchard at Hard to Kill on January 12, 2020.
After a few weeks of silence, a mysterious figure appeared on the screen called ICU during wrestlers matches. On March 17, ICU interrupted Ken Shamrock’s interview with Josh Mathews. The mysterious figure threw a fireball into Shamrock’s eyes. He took off the mask and it was revealed to be Sami Callihan. Callihan would take his phone and the lights would go off and he would disappear. The feud would culminate at Rebellion 2020 Night 1 in an Unsanctioned match, where Shamrock submitted Callihan to an ankle lock. He returned on June 30, 2020, surprisingly helping Shamrock against The North before disappearing into the night, teasing a face turn in the process. Shamrock and Callihan unsuccessfully challenged The North for the Impact Tag Team Championships at Slammiversary.
On August 4, Callihan was about to face Eddie Edwards for the Impact World Championship but was attacked by Rob Van Dam as he was making his way to the ring, and ultimately succumbing to Edwards. They would face off multiple times against each other, with Callihan turning face for the first time in Impact Wrestling. On the September 22nd episode of IMPACT, Callihan faced Rob Van Dam in a rematch, this time RVD was victorious and due to Van Dam winning, Van Dam’s girlfriend Katie Forbes got 5 minutes alone in the ring with Sami. However, Callihan laid out RVD outside the ring and delivered a piledriver to Katie Forbes.
The following week, Callihan turned back into a heel and interrupted Eddie Edwards before Eddie got attacked by Ken Shamrock, who also turned heel in that segment. He recently competed against Rich Swann at Impact plus event Turning Point, coming up short at becoming a 2-time World Champion.
May it be one of the best villains the company has ever had, Callihan has never stopped making clear he put the company on his shoulders when the times were complicated. He has spent a lot of time on interviews and media calls to convince the wrestling fans IMPACT was the show to watch, mostly because he is in. One thing is sure today, we haven’t stopped hearing from him in the coming years.
All pics, screencaps and videos courtesy of Impact Wrestling, AXS TV and Basil Mahmud