Source: The Art Of Wrestling
On episode 333 of The Art Of Wrestling, Ring Of Honor's Colt Cabana spoke with Sami Callihan, formerly NXT's Solomon Crowe. Among other things, Callihan talked about his time in WWE's developmental system and his hopes of one day returning to the world's largest professional wrestling promotion.
"I overthought everything. I walked on eggshells because I overthought everything. And that was a big thing. And now I've learned how to deal with this anxiety." Callihan added, "I wish I would have stuck to my guns a little more and that's one of the reasons I left, because I'm like, 'you know what? I'm going to go down as myself and I have to leave and I'll show them why they have to sign this guy because I'm not this guy that they signed.'"
Callihan said that he learned how to be an adult while he was with WWE and credits WWE for that. Moreover, Lucha Underground's Jeremiah Crane acknowledged that part of the reason he stopped using chewing tobacco was because his WWE experience enabled him to see himself as a role model.
"It changes people. I grew up a lot there. One thing I'll give WWE credit to or for, they taught me how to deal with adult problems. And they taught me how to be an adult, like, because they sign a lot of kids that are kids! And that's the thing. They're kids."
Callihan recalled, "it taught me how to deal with people and how to be a public figure and realize that people look up to us. People look at us and we're under a microscope. We can lead our lives terribly or we can set a good example for other people to hopefully make them better people. And that's another reason why I quit dipping and cut down my alcohol because I don't want kids seeing it. And one of the last straws also, I had a kid come up to me at a show and go, 'I dip because you dip'. And I have influence over people's lives."
Callihan professed that he felt like a bright, shiny toy that was left on the shelf while he was with WWE and the experience took the fun out of pro wrestling for 'The New Horror'.
"It chipped away at me, and it chipped away at me, it chipped away at me, it chipped away at me, it chipped away at me to where I was so miserable that wrestling wasn't fun anymore. Wrestling became this job that I kind of hated. I was so much in the WWE bubble that I couldn't think my own thoughts anymore. I couldn't, like, have my own opinions. I couldn't do my own projects. I was this WWE toy that was, like, bright and shiny and cool packaging and I was just put on the shelf for people to look at and they're like, 'oh, we're not selling him right now. He's just going to hang out and collect dust.' And after awhile, that just beats on you and beats on you and beats on you."
Additionally, Callihan suggested that he wishes he followed the path of NXT prospects turned WWE Universal Champions, Kevin Owens and Finn Bálor.
"Instead of going with my gut and believing in me, like, I wish I did the same thing Kevin did and the same thing Fergal did and the same thing guys like that did. They went in there, and they were like, 'no, what we do is right' and they didn't follow the script per se. They didn't follow the cookie cutter mold. They didn't do exactly what they were told because they knew it was wrong. And I think WWE likes that. They want guys to come in and have that confidence, like, 'I'm a superstar. I know I'm a superstar.' I didn't do that."
Callahan also stated that WWE did not know what it had with him, as he did not debut in NXT for over a year.
"All I need is an opportunity, and I don't feel like I was given an opportunity."
"I just don't think they knew exactly what I was and they didn't really know exactly what they had with me at the time, but I was there for a year-and-a-half before I debuted on television and that was the hardest part." Callihan remembered, "the first six months I was there, I wrestled only one match. I went from wrestling two to three times every weekend for eight, nine years to wrestling one match in six months."
Despite being crestfallen by his prior WWE experience, Callihan believes he will be back at WWE one day and be a top guy for the company.
"At the end of the day, not everyone quits WWE. It kind of makes me cool." Callihan continued, "and I feel that by doing that, it did make my stock rise a lot because now I'm looked at as this outcast. I'm looked at as this, I hate to use the term revolutionary, not revolutionary, but this renegade, this person. But I have no beef with WWE. And the inner child in me, I still love WWE. And, one day, I truly believe from the bottom of my heart that I will be back there and I will be a top guy there."
Click here to check out the interview. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit The Art Of Wrestling with an H/T to WrestlingINC for the transcription.
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