Sami Callihan was in the NXT system from 2013 to 2015, but things just didn't click for him. Callihan performed under the name Solomon Crowe and used a hacker gimmick that never really took off while part of the gold brand in WWE.
In November 2015, Callihan and WWE parted ways, allowing Callihan to find himself once again on the Independent scene before becoming one of the top stars in IMPACT Wrestling.
Speaking to Chris Van Vliet, Callihan explained what went wrong in NXT.
"In WWE, I went in and was like, 'they don't sign guys like me very often. I need to do everything they tell me to do.' I did everything to a tee. I was a model citizen. To the point where, when I quit, they were like, 'You did everything right.' If I did everything right then why the fuck am I not doing shit? I had to leave because, going into work every day, you're looking over your shoulder. You overthink everything. Bill DeMott is like, 'Hey man, how you doing?' And you're like, 'What do you mean be that?' You become so paranoid and such a lack of a person. I had to leave and it was the best thing I ever did. I left on very good terms. [Senior Director of Talent Development for WWE] Canyon Ceman tried to get me to stay. 'We don't hire guys like you very often.'"
Callihan continued, revealing he nearly led Sanity before deciding he wasn't going to stick around.
"They almost talked me into staying because I was supposed to be in Sanity. Eric Young ended up taking my spot in Sanity. It was supposed to be me, Madman Fulton, and this big french dude named Marcus Louis. It kept getting pushed back to where I was done with it. They tried to get me to stay. Then they didn't want me working anywhere for 30 days and were like, 'We want to make sure you're okay with money. So we'll pay you for 30 days.' I was like, 'I don't want your money. I'm showing up at a show in two days.' When some people leave WWE, they take that 30 or 90 day to collect a paycheck and then lose all their buzz. It leaked online that I quit on Wednesday and Friday I showed up unannounced at AAW. The money I would have made that week in WWE, I made three times that just doing two Indie shows. If I would have waited, I would not be where I am," he stated.
Callihan spent time in Lucha Underground, MLW, NJPW, and more after leaving WWE. He signed with IMPACT in 2017 and went on to become the IMPACT World Champion.
Elsewhere during the interview, Callihan discussed what went wrong with the hacker gimmick in NXT and why it's working in IMPACT. You can find his full comments by clicking here.
If you use any of the quotes above, please give a h/t and link back to Fightful for the transcription.