Sami Callihan Talks About His Time In NXT, Why He Left WWE, And Why He Believes He'll Be Back

Sami Callihan appeared on Sean Waltman’s "X-Pac 1, 2, 360" show recently for a new interview. The independent star, who currently performs as "Jeremiah Crane" in Lucha Underground and was known as "Solomon Crowe" in NXT before being released in 2015, talked about his time in the developmental brand and what he's learned since he left. You can watch the interview at the top of the page and read some submitted highlights below:

On what went wrong with his NXT run: 

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“I’m never going to bash WWE because that’s now how I am. But I always wanted to be in WWE, and one day I do believe I’ll be back there. All I ever wanted or needed was an opportunity, and I never got that opportunity. It’s one thing to be given the ball. It’s another thing to be given the ball and have some guys to block for you. I never had those blockers. You’re only going to go so far when there’s not a lot of direction, not a lot of, ‘OK, this is what’s needed, this is what’s wanted.’ I feel like if they would’ve just let the chains off me and were like, you go be Sami Callihan, I’d be on Raw right now as one of the top guys.”

On his success since leaving WWE: 

“Like it or not, people can hate me or love me. I’m the most booked professional wrestler on this planet. Every week, I’m an independent wrestler building my own brand—four, five, six shows in a week! Independent wrestlers don’t do that. There’s only a handful, a group of elite independent talent that do that and I’m one of them. I’ll be damned if I go down without swinging. I built my own brand by myself and
that’s something really cool that nobody can ever take away from me.”

What happened after he left NXT: 

“When I left WWE my phone blew up. The first day that I quit I was kind of like, you know what? I’m kind of nervous. They tried to get me to do the thirty day, like hey we’ll pay you for thirty days but you can’t work anywhere. I took a real risk and I said, I don’t want your f*cking money. I want to go show up at shows this Saturday. Three days later I showed up at AAW in Chicago and the rest is history. I knew if I waited for thirty days all my buzz, all my mystique would be gone. I had to take a risk and go out there for non-guaranteed money and just hoped it worked out. And trust me when I say it worked out.”

On the biggest lesson he learned from his time at NXT: 

“Follow your gut. The thing is, at the end of the day only you know you. There’s going to be all these different people, different coaches, different agents, HHH, people up above that are going to tell you, hey this is how you be Sami Callihan. It’s like, well you’re not Sami Callihan! You don’t know what’s going on in my head or how I process things. So you really can’t tell me how to be myself. That’s one of the things I wish they would do more. You see the guys that they allow to do that are the guys that succeed. Like when Kevin Steen, Kevin Owens, came in there he got super lucky. They let him be Kevin and it works. Don’t fix something that’s not broken.”

On how he feels watching his friends on WWE TV: 

“I don’t like to live in the past on things. I see guys that either A, I’ve helped out or B, I’ve shared the ring with or C, I’ve traveled the world with. Now they’re World Champions on Raw, or they’re in the Cruiserweight division. I’m still in the Indies busting my ass. But then I realize that my path is a little different. I’m special. I am going to go down as being legendary, even if it’s for all the wrong reasons. Everyone has their own path and my path is a little bit different. But I think that’s what’s great about me. That’s why I’m so endearing to people and that’s why I connect so much. I’m a guy that kind of said 'f*ck you' to the system. I was like, I’m going to do this my own way and I’m going to prove to you why I am an entity. I love WWE more than anything. I want to be on WrestleMania. But I obviously saw that the position that I was in, that wasn’t going to happen. So I had to do what I had to do and take that roll of the dice and bet on myself for once, and that’s what I did.”

You can download the show on iTunes at this link.

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