When wrestling first started to shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic, Sami Callihan was one of the first who said he would not perform.
Callihan wrote on Twitter on March 13, "Fuck characters, fucks storylines…. our safety is the most important thing. Until this gets better I’m not going to ANY wrestling shows. I beg the world to be as safe as possible in this extremely scary time. Let’s join together like never before. We can get through this."
He has since deleted the tweet.
Callihan went against that tweet at IMPACT Rebellion, showing up to wrestle Ken Shamrock. The event was taped a couple of weeks again on a closed set at Skyway Studios in Nashville.
Speaking to Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated, Callihan discussed why he decided to wrestle despite his tweet a month ago.
"The reason that I was 100% OK with doing that was because Impact took amazing care of us. From the time we got there to the time we left, I knew no one from our crew was going to be in any danger. Impact took every precaution to make sure our television taping was the safest television taping going on right now," said Callihan. "I put my entire trust in Impact management to make sure we all get taken care of. I’ve wrestled for every major wrestling company on the planet, and Impact Wrestling truly is a family. I know it’s crazy to think how many ‘families’ there are in this crazy world, but our entire locker room and our entire staff took care of each other so we could all be safe."
IMPACT Rebellion underwent major changes as World Champion Tessa Blanchard, Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace, and Tag Team Champions The North all missed the event. Callihan was a featured player in the television leading up to Rebellion, revealing himself as the hacker to set up a match with Ken Shamrock, which was one of the few big matches that proceeded as scheduled.
"I don’t think it would have been as big without Shamrock. That was the perfect storm of different things coming together, and all the planets aligned to make that special. That’s why, going into this match, I do look at Ken Shamrock as a legend. I do respect him. At the same point, I think he’s overstayed his welcome. It’s time for guys like me to step up and take my rightful spot. If you asked 12-year-old Sami Callihan what he thought about wrestling Ken Shamrock, he’d be freaking out right now. But I’m not 12-year-old Sami Callihan anymore. I’m a grown-ass man. I’m “The Draw” Sami Callihan. Shamrock isn’t just a legend to me anymore, he’s a peer. He’s competing for the same spot that I want, and I’ll be damned if he gets it without going through me. He hasn’t been here the past two years. I was here when Impact Wrestling was slowly getting buried in its grave. I truly believe I put this company on my back and pumped blood into its heart with my hands. I could have signed at a lot of other companies, but I made this company relevant again."
He continued, "If you look at my timeframe right before I debuted for Impact Wrestling, I was just finishing up with Lucha Underground, I did a tour for a month-and-a-half for New Japan Pro Wrestling, and then I came to Impact Wrestling. I always wanted to be part of Impact Wrestling, and now I get to be the person to help save Impact Wrestling. I want that on my resume more than anything else. That means more than just holding a championship. Being the guy that singlehandedly brought Impact Wrestling back from the grave, that’s something no one can ever take away from me."
Shamrock was victorious in the bout against Callihan at Rebellion, forcing him to pass out from the ankle lock after the fight spilled to the outside.
If you missed anything from IMPACT Rebellion, check out Fightful's full report on the show by clicking here.