Sami Callihan was recently interviewed by Chris Van Vliet and talked about finding success on the indy scene, why he hates that term, and more. Here are the highlights:
WWE isn’t the “end-all, be-all”:
“Everyone wants a WrestleMania moment but at the end of the day it ain’t just about WWE. There are wrestlers out there that don’t work for WWE making six figure contracts. People don’t even want to go into what I made last year because it was more than I made in WWE. There’s those different avenues in wrestling now where WWE isn’t the end-all, be-all. Sure, that’s where everyone wants to be. Sure, that’s where you can make big money in a quick amount of time. But people like The Young Bucks, people like Marty Scurll, they have shirts at Hot Topic. They’re selling thousands of dollars worth of shirts on Pro Wrestling Tees without being backed by the WWE monster.”
Was asking for his WWE the best move of his career?
“Absolutely. Because I’ll be the first to say that I wasn’t Sami Callihan when I went there. I changed who I was, walked on eggshells and for lack of better terms, I became a bitch. I wasn’t myself and if I could go back and do it again I feel like it would be a whole different story. But I tried to change. I tried to become everything they wanted me to be instead of sticking to my guns and ride or die. But I think everything happens for a reason because now I’ve left and become one of the biggest stars in the world again despite not being backed by that WWE machine.”
Leaving WWE on good terms:
“I was lucky that everything I did at WWE was on good terms. I was a model citizen. Like everything I do in my life, I don’t half ass things. I was a model citizen at the Performance Center and did everything they wanted me to do. I did extra training. I would help with promo class. Anything that was every asked of me. When I was injured, I would do commentary just to show my face. I made really good relationships and when I left they said the door is open, just go out and do what you gotta do.”
What it’s like working with Triple H:
“Triple H is one of the boys. People can say about him what they want, but being in the power position that he’s in he would stay after NXT tapings for hours. NXT wrestlers would be lined up out the door waiting to talk to him and maybe not every time, but the majority of the time he would stay there until he talked to every single person that wanted to talk to him. We knew that that was the boss and his input was what we actually needed.”
He wants to kill the term ‘indy wrestling’:
“I’m really getting sick of this term ‘indy wrestling’ because now it’s not indy wrestling. There are companies all over the world doing thousands and millions of views. Wrestlers are able to make a six figure contract not working for WWE. There is no indies anymore and I really want to kill that term because we’re just pro wrestlers now. There’s no one at the end of the day that’s going to tell me I’m not a professional athlete.”
How he chose the name Jeremiah Crane in Lucha Underground:
“They actually gave me a different name. It was Silas Crane and I was like, my friend is Silas Young and I don’t want to take his name. That’s been his name forever and I just didn’t like the name Silas. It reminds me of old ECW and Cyrus The Virus. I was like that’s too close. So they asked me for a different first name and I said Jeremiah, and they were like yes. So instead of what I wanted to be in WWE, Jeremiah Crowe, I just changed the last name and became Jeremiah Crane in Lucha Underground.”
For the full interview with Sami Callihan, check out Chris Van Vliet’s YouTube channel.