Impact World Champion Sami Callihan spoke with talkSPORT about Impact Wrestling's resurgence with fans, what separates Impact from other companies, and his rivalry with Tessa Blanchard.

Callihan explained why Impact regained its buzz among wrestling fans, believing that it's the best weekly show right now.

"IMPACT Wrestling is good right now," Callihan began. "As much haters as we have, it's one of the best weekly wrestling shows on the planet right now. I think this year has been a big year for IMPACT as far as getting that nasty taste out of the fan's mouth from the Dixie-era goes. What people don't realize is, when the new regime of Scott D'Amore, Don Callis, etc, took over, things don't happen overnight. It took a while and a lot of hard work to get to where we are now and now over the past two years, we've completely changed the face of IMPACT Wrestling.

"I was a huge IMPACT fan when I was younger, it was one of the companies I wanted to work for when I got into wrestling. I used to order every Wednesday pay-per-view and I really thought IMPACT Wrestling was going to be that company to go toe-to-toe with WWE. But the management from the Dixie-era and the Hogan/Bischoff-era really hurt that company and a lot of people tuned out at that time."

Callihan noted that Impact has done a good job of separating itself from other companies by not worrying about offending people.

"People were screaming for an Attitude Era-like company to come back and I feel like IMPACT Wrestling is the closest thing to it," Callihan said. "We're the only company right now that isn't afraid to offend people, to try new things, we're not afraid to push the envelope and give you an edgy product and we're not going to apologize for every single thing like a lot of the other companies. The other companies, if they see the internet wrestling community is upset, they just want to apologize about it instead of actually staying the course and giving people and alternative."

On January 12 at Impact Hard to Kill in Dallas, Texas, Callihan will defend his title against Tessa Blanchard. The champion spoke about his rivalry with Blanchard and why it's been a success.

"Well, I think it could have been done with a lot of different women because right now in 2019, I feel like women wrestlers are better than they've ever been," Callihan stated. "It's time. People want equality, but then when you give them equality, they b---h and scream about that too. IMPACT is the first company to step up and I'm a big proponent of intergender wrestling not necessarily being deemed intergender wrestling, just professional wrestling. If you look at my company The Wrestling Revolver, I rarely book woman versus woman matches.

"It's nearly always intergender wrestling because I think in a day and age where people want equality, it needs to happen in wrestling and it's time for the women to step up and be top draws of professional wrestling. IMPACT is at the forefront of that and I think in the next five or ten years you'll see the other companies follow suit.
The other thing about this angle with Tessa is, it's not about men versus women, per se. She believes she's the best.

"I may not like Tessa Blanchard, but she is a hell of a professional wrestler at the end of the day. The thing that people get wrong is, this angle isn't built off misogynistic insults. It's not built on a man and a woman. I truly believe we built this angle on the reason I don't like Tessa Blanchard is she's apart of this new generation that just feels entitled to everything. I don't hate her because she's a woman. I hate her because she's a spoiled brat. I have to wrestle her like I have everyone else for the past three years."