Sami Callihan is a vile man. He makes no attempts to hide it, rather seeming to actually revel in it, as he spits on people, has a passing acquaintance at best with soap and shampoo, and treats his "monster, Madman Fulton, in a way that, one would be very generous in calling "inhumane".
Do not mistake the recent actions of Callihan, begrudgingly shaking the hand of Tessa Blanchard after their shockingly violent encounter at Slammiversary, as turning over a new leaf, or becoming a decent man. That was a fragile hope at best, and recent weeks have shown that it's just the opposite, if anything Sammy has gotten worse since then.
A decent man would have learned from his war with Tessa. He would have seen that , the moment when Sami decided to shake the hand of the competitor had just defeated in Texas after she put up a much harder fight than he had expected, that a tiny crack had opened up in the shell he had built for himself, after years and years of hatred, rage at everyone and everything, and his own delusional fantasies of grandeur. One tiny crack had opened just enough to let some light in, and for a brief shining moment Sami had allowed it, shaken the hand of the woman he had been belittling for weeks, and even though he had been the victor, he had left the ring to allow her to have her Moment. For a brief second in time, Sami Callihan had been a human being.
Then, the moment passed. We will never know, probably, what occurred backstage with OVE when Sami returned to his flock after that. Ove has never seemed like a completely stable crew, Dave Crist has always enjoyed sinking subtle vocal barbs into Callihan, and lately Jake Crist has dyed his hair, changed his wardrobe up, and been strongly insinuating that HE should be leading OVE, changing his nickname form "The Mini-Draw" to "The Golden Draw." One can easily imagine the contempt the Crist Brothers might have displayed for Callihan in those first few moments backstage, after he had shaken Tessa Blanchards hand.
Without a doubt, Sami Callihan is in complete and total control of MadMan Fulton, and that remains his ace in the hole. MadMan Fulton is a portait of the power Callihan is capable of exerting over others. Fulton, by all appearances, should be able to squash Callihan, but Fulton is happy to defer control of his career and very life to Callihan, and this seems odd only to those on the inside. Go to Dayton, Ohio, see a show at Sammys local Pro Wrestling Revolver promotion, and you will see Sami's magnetism at work. Callihan appeals to the people for the same reason villains and bullies always have, he speaks to their own insecurities and darker impulses they wish they did not have to control. Callihan is a living, breathing embodiment of who they wish they could be. It speaks volumes that when Sami blinded Eddie Edwards, which fortunately was not permanent, that many people admired him for it, so much that he started to call himself "The Draw".
Callihan, who had admittedly "only" been trying to break Edwards ribs and sternum, did more damage than he intended, but rather than apologize he had reveled in his violence. Impact Wrestling management then failed to reign him in, and the legend of Sami Callihan began to take root. Suddenly, for the disaffected and nihilistic, Callihan could no wrong, and that was like giving a man with no moral compass free reign to spread terror as he saw fit. Eddie Edwards sanity was the first victim of Callihans spree, but it would not be the last. Callihan allowed himself to get distracted by the Lucha Brothers and particularly Pentagon Jr. for a few months, but he never forgot his central narrative, that of "Impact Wrestling Has Wronged Me!" It is hard to see just how exactly, a company that lets him get away with whatever he wants has "wronged him".
The only logical destination to Sami's highway of depravity was always the Impact World title, currently held by Brian Cage. He has arrived at that place. Cage has been on the injured list for the last few months, unable to defend his title, and no one has been more vocal about stripping Brian Cage of the title than Callihan. On one level, this speaks to Callihans cowardice, that he would rather be "awarded" the title than fight for it, but on a deeper level, it is more mind-games, surely Callihan knew there was no chance Impact management would strip Cage of the title, but they sure as heck were going to make sure he would be at Bound For Glory to compete for it.
Callihan now hold all the cards. He is trying to make Cage question his health, if he is ready yet to even come back from injury and even his very fighting spirit, wondering if a man who doed not compete for thrity days even deserves to be champion? Sami Callihan is a master at sick and depraved mind games. Who can forget when he visited Eddie Edwards wife in the hospital, trying to destroy the very fabric of Eddie Edwards life? Given Edwards actions since, some would argue that he succeeded.
For all the crass vileness, it is easy to forget that Sami Callihan is also an accomplished wrestler. The man knows how to throw a lariet and a suplex. It's easy to imagine Brian Cage being briefly distracted by the gigantic MadMan Fulton lurking in the corner, then being knocked out cold by a well timed Callihan lariet.
Brian Cage's best hope is for Impact Wrestling to bad all members of OVE from this championship match, that is the only way he has a fair shot. But will they? OVE has a reputation for bullying even referees.
Something has to give come Bound For Glory. All people of good character should be explicitly concerned at the idea of Sammy Callihan holding the Impact title, all the havoc he has wreaked to get to that point would then seem justified, and who knows what chaos Sami Callihan, world champ, could inspire? Who knows what the cult like OVE would do then to protect the belt and leader, especially Madman Fulton?
At Bound For Glory, all of our hopes lie with Brian Cage.
By Sloan Love