Impact Wrestling performer Sami Callihan was recently named the Impact Wrestling Wrestler of the Year for 2018, and the grappler was a guest on Behind the Lights earlier this week. Callihan talked about his early days, his "Cannonball Callihan" gimmick, and how the name came about.
"Cannonball Callihan was the first incarnation of Sami Callihan", Sami explained. "It was actually one of those things that Shark Boy, at the end of his course named all of us. He brought us into a room, and I thought I was going to get this cool nickname like "Bryan X-Fury", and everyone's getting their names, and I walk in, and he's like, 'Hmm, I see Cannonball Sami'. And I was like, 'That's not a cool name! That's not what I want to be'. And he was like, 'No man! It's great. You're like Samoa Joe. That's one of your favorites at the time, it's like Samoa Joe, but it's Cannonball Sami!' That was for about six months. And then I had to do something else because it just wasn't getting the job done.
"I was cannonball because I was 320 pounds when I started. I lost weight, I fluctuated throughout the years, but I was a real big kid when I first started wrestling. I weighed about 325 pounds. I was a big kid at the time. I liked a lot of food."
Sami then talked about how he lost weight, and his dedication to the business.
"I wrestled every day. Anytime I get into the ring to train, I train. Anytime I went to a show, I went to a show. I put all my eggs in one basket at a very early age."
Sami was then asked about his amateur background, and the Impact Wrestling star also revealed that he does graphic designing.
"I do have an amateur background, and as far as schooling (goes), I do graphic designs. I do digital multimedia, I do video editing. Between that and wrestling, I'm pretty set to go for the rest of my life. But yeah I do. That's something I learnt at a young age when we were younger, and we wanted to be backyard wrestlers, which seems like our era was the era of kids that were fourteen and fighting in underwear in their backyard. I learnt a lot of stuff back then because we were running shows when we were fifteen, sixteen years old and got three hundred people to our high school. We bought a ring when we were fifteen years old."
Callihan also elaborated on the advantages of starting early in the business, and compared it to learning martial arts.
"I think it gave me the same advantage, the same thing as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu martial artist that started training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu at eight years old. He's going to be way better by the time he's twenty than someone that jumps in at the end of their teens. And that's becoming a trend nowadays in wrestling, especially over in England. There's a lot of younger people training that look at it as martial arts, that look at it as karate, look at it as amateur wrestling, and look at it like Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Guys that start wrestling when they're twelve years old, when they start training. That's why guys are getting so good at such a young age, because there are these avenues in the business at a very young age nowadays."
If you use any portion of the quotes in this article please credit Behind the Lights with a H/T to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.