RF VIDEO sat down with pro wrestling’s hottest free agent Sami Callihan in his exclusive tell all shoot interview only a few weeks after he came to terms with WWE/NXT for his release. Not many wrestlers walk away from their dream job after working for years on the indy scene to make it to the biggest stage in the business. Sami was one of those guys who saw another path for his career in 2015. The biggest questions that everyone wants to know is, why did he ask for his release!
This exclusive tell all interview takes us inside the NXT locker room and it’s multi million dollar performance center and we dissect how Sami Callihan finally made it to the WWE by getting signed by them in 2012. Sami takes us thru all of the procedures on how he ended up signing with the company after his dark matches and try outs with the company as an extra. You will hear how he was part of the historical first class and how he ended up learning from the biggest influential names in the business who mold todays biggest starts like Steve Kiern, Dusty Rhodes, Norman Smiley, Terry Taylor, Bill Demott and Matt Bloom. What lessons did he learn and what made him a better wrester? What was HHH like to deal with as a boss and how easy was he to approach? Sami takes us thru a basic week’s training in NXT and has stories on all of the biggest NXT stars that were all in the first class with him.
Who came up with the Solomon Crowe hacker gimmick and why did it never take off? Did HHH understand the gimmick as much as Dusty Rhodes did? Was the rumors true about Bill Demott being a over the top trainer? As the popularity of NXT grew what role did Sami have with the company. What were they waiting for and why did it take so long for him to debut. Sami talks about the frustrations of being kept off TV so long and how his fathers passing effected him. Sami also suffered a freak injury in the ring that kept him out of action as you will hear how that held him back for a bit.
Sami was there for all of the NXT live events from the start and saw first hand how the company grew. What were the initial NXT live shows like behind the scenes and what kept him off of them. The interview takes a real inside look into how NXT operates and uses talents. If you love the NXT product you will love hearing stories on the company as Sami peels back the blinders and gives you great insight into the companies inner workings.
What happened when his real life GF was going to get a job with the company and she was never signed due to social media rumors. How did that effect him with the company? Sami answers the biggest question on why he asked to get out of his contract and what his peers did to try to convince him to stay. You will hear his thought process on why he quit and what his future plans are. What companies does he want to go with and where does he want to sign if he wants to sign at all.
Want backstage stories on Wrestlemania and what it was like to be part of the show as HHH terminators? Do you want to know what it was like meeting with John Cena, The Undertaker, Sting and Vince Mcmahon at the performance center?
All of these amazing topics are discussed including his return to PWG and CZW and as a bonus we sat down with two of his closest friends Masada and David Starr to discuss the antics of Low Ki behind the scenes in wrestling and how they feel about his take on the business. Masada holds nothing back with his feelings on Low Ki during this bonus segment. We also talk about DJ Hyde and CZW, behind the scenes at WWE TV tapings and how Sami ended up in the production truck with Kevin Dunn.
If you love the WWE/NXT this is a shoot interview you’re going to want to listen to because you will get to hear about the hottest product WWE produces right now that is selling out all over the place with its own indy fed NXT!!! Sami holds nothing back and has a special message for all of his Death Machine fans!!!
Let’s start out with the beginning of this journey. In 2012, you are a regular for Dragon Gate USA and one of their biggest stars. Talk about where the promotion was a this point and how you felt you were as a star there?
Favorite memories of that promotion?
Best and worst part of working with Gabe Sapolsky and Sal?
You get booked for a WWE dark match in October 2013, wrestling Johnny Curtis (now Fandango). Memories of that match and what the process was to get WWE to take a look at you?
How many times had you tried out for WWE before that dark match?
Talk about what the WWE tryout process is like for you as a wrestler?
How many times do you go through that?
What sort of guidance do they give you in terms of what they want for you to improve on?
When do you finally learn they want to sign you?
There’s so much talk about the medical testing WWE puts talents through before actually signing them. Talk about what that process is like and what it’s like waiting for the results?
When do you get word that you are being signed and how long is it before the company publicly announces it?
Are you paranoid that it’s going to leak and that when it does, you will have heat for it?
You move to Florida for WWE developmental. What are your first impressions of FCW/NXT, especially since you come in just as they are preparing to officially open the Performance Center?
First impressions of the following coaches:
First impressions of HHH as a boss and dealing with him personally?
What do you think his vision is for the future of WWE?
Was he approachable?
For anyone who hasn’t been inside the Performance Center, walk us through a tour of what the facility is like compared to your average wrestling school?
Take us through an average week in NXT?
We’ve heard some independent talents were actually assigned to beginner’s class in the PC. Where were you assigned and if you were placed in a beginner’s class, were you offended?
What’s the hardest thing for an established indy star to deal with or accept once you sign with NXT and are pretty much starting over?
Did you ever get the impression that those with indy “names” were looked down upon? In the past, there was a rejection of guys who came from ECW or ROH once they were in the WWE system. Do you feel that happens today in 2015?
Memories of the day the Performance Center opened with all the ceremonies, etc. Did you feel like you were witnessing history?
Talk about what it’s like going to Promo Class in the Performance Center?
Memories of working with Dusty and Ryan Katz? What was the best advice you received from Dusty when it came to promos and the psychology of the business?
Did Dusty ever let on that he was sick to the boys?
What are the best memories of what he brought to NXT and the Performance Center?
Where does the Solomon Crowe name come from? What was the inspiration for it? Is it suggested to you or does WWE present it to you?
NXT is presented as being a family of guys and girls working together to get better and get to the main roster. How close is everyone actually? Are there cliques in the locker room there? How backstabbing is the NXT landscape behind the scenes?
Who were some of the legends that the company brought in to help and give advice?
Which did you learn the most from?
Do you remember the day Vince McMahon visited the PC for the first time? Did he say anything to the roster?
Is it true he walked in as Bill Demott had people doing squats while standing on the top rope and laughed about it? That is a story that has floated around for awhile.
Talk about the programs and benefits WWE offered NXT talents, in terms of financial planning, medical exams, etc. and which of those you were most impressed with?
How different was working in developmental from what you expected it to be going in?-+
Do you think Bill DeMott was too hard on people in the PC?
Was the training too rough when he was in charge?
Were you surprised when all the letters came out and he quit?
Did the training change at all when Matt Bloom became in charge?
Compare DeMott to Bloom as head trainer? We’ve heard Bloom is more of the type that reinforces guys while DeMott was far more critical to their faces. Would that be fair?
CLEAR THESE WITH SAMI FIRST BEFORE ASKING
You are off TV for a long time and it’s never announced publicly but one of the reasons is that your father was very ill at the time and the company is giving you time off. How important was that time with your father?
Do you mind talking about how he felt knowing you had gotten a WWE job?
How hard was it going back and forth between Ohio and Florida, balancing your father and your WWE responsibilities?
How much did it mean to you that WWE was allowing you the chance to help your dad?
Where does the Solomon hacker character come from initially?
You try the character out on a house show, turning the lights off and on with an iPad. Talk about the initial pitch for the character, it’s origins and what you thought it could bring to WWE?
What sort of feedback did you get from HHH and the Coaches?
Why was your initial WWE NXT TV debut pulled from broadcast?
Beyond the obvious family commitments to your father, why do you think it took so long for you to make your NXT TV debut?
Talk about Full Sail and the intimate atmosphere there? How much did you like working there?
What is the energy like there vs. the NXT house shows?
What is the difference in how the TV tapings are formatted vs the house shows?
Talk about the WWE NXT Creative team and how they interact and deal with the talents – compare it to working with Gabe in EVOLVE or independent wrestling bookers.
Who are the unsung heroes of NXT management given all the credit goes to HHH?
WWE hired Adam Pearce after giving him several tryouts as a Coach. What has he brought to the NXT system?
Same question for Sarah Stock and Sara Del Rey?
Do you feel the main roster’s creative team pays close enough attention to what the characters are in NXT and what makes them tick?
Do the NXT talents get discouraged when they see guys like Neville go up and not be used as a main asset?
When did you first learn NXT was going to be on the WWE Network?
When did you realize that there were a lot of people watching it?
Talk about what it meant to the crew to be the first live special on the Network with Takeover?
Do you think people in the WWE main office were shocked by how successful NXT has become over the last several years?
Memories of what it was like backstage before the first Takeover event for the crew?
Talk about night you finally debuted on TV, attacking CJ Parker? What was that moment like for you?
How had you improved under the WWE system before making your TV debut?
How different was Solomon Crowe the character from the Sami Callihan we knew from the independents, if at all?
What happened when you broke your tibia during a house show? Was it a big spot or just a random freak thing?
Obviously it’s never a good time to get injured, but how angry were you about the injury?
Were you worried about losing your spot when you got hurt?
How did WWE take care of you while you were injured?
When you are too hurt to take bumps, what do you do at the Performance Center ever day? How does WWE keep you learning and involved?
There was a bit of a controversy online during your run. Jessicka Havoc, who is your girlfriend, was taking part in a WWE tryout. When that was reported online, some fans found old Tweets of hers that were questionable and it led to a big uproar over her getting the tryout. In the end, she wasn’t signed. A few questions regarding this:
1 – Do you think the uproar online led to WWE passing on her?
2 – Do you think it was fair that fans bring up things from years ago to try and hurt someone?
3 – Do you think WWE was right to back away on having interest in her?
4 – How do you feel about fans online who have done similar things to other WWE developmental women, including Zahra and Noomph?
5 – Do you think WWE is too sensitive to what online fans say on social media? Should they be, given they are a publicly traded company?
6 – Do you think your relationship to her led to heat on you inside the company?
You later on are paired with Zahra right before she ends up getting let go because of Nazi-related material on her social media, working a few house shows. Obviously that act was going to come to TV, so how angry are you when she is let go?
Do you blame her for getting in trouble or think it was something blown up out of nowhere?
Do you think she would have been fired it she hadn’t already been in trouble for the Seth Rollins nude photo controversy?
When you find out she is being released, did you pitch any of the other women being put with you instead? Do you recall any of the names?
Obviously this kills your new TV storylines and entrance back onto NXT TV. At this point, you have to feel like you’ve got the worst timing and luck ever. How do you keep yourself from getting in a funk?
We talked about some of the trainers/coaches earlier. As you worked closer with them, did you feel differently towards any of them, good or bad?
Let’s talk about some of the talents you’ve worked and trained with in NXT. Favorite memories of working and traveling with the following?
Enzo & Cass
Chris Hero (were you surprised when Hero was let go)
Dash & Wilder
Who is the most underrated person in the developmental system right now that works the hardest and probably doesn’t get the attention they deserve?
Was there ever any heat among the boys because WWE started bringing in non-signed talents for TV, like Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa?
Were you upset being left off the NXT Takeover: Brooklyn show?
WWE told the NXT talents that they would not be receiving percentages from the tours and house shows they work – do you think that is fair to the NXT talents?
WWE has claimed they run NXT at a loss because of the cost of the Performance Center and everything involved with the different programs they offer. Do you believe that is the case?
Did you ever voice it?
WWE filmed the last season of Tough Enough at the PC. How separate were the Tough Enough talents kept from the NXT talents?
Which of the talents who were signed after the season do you think will do the best? (those signed are: ZZ, Josh, Daria, Sara Lee, Mada, Amanda)
Is the ZZ we see on TV a work? Is he having as many problems training as we have seen on the Breaking Ground reality series?
What do you think of WWE doing a reality show with the NXT talents?
Were you ever asked to be interviewed for it?
Will you asking for your release be featured on the show?
Thoughts on the crazed fan who was shot outside the Performance Center – were you there that day and did you witness any of his antics leading up to it?
WWE NXT is one of the hottest wrestling brands right now. Why does Sami Callihan ask to be released from his contract? Talk us through what makes you decide you need to leave WWE. What were the breaking points for you where you said he needed out.
You know there is someone watching this that is assuming you just weren’t being patient and waiting for your time to come. Explain to that person why that isn’t the case.
Do you feel like some of the new signings were leapfrogging you?
When do you first tell someone that you want to be released?
What is their reaction?
Do they try to change your mind?
Were the other members of the roster surprised?
Were you inspired at all by CJ Parker asking to leave and going to New Japan to try and make his name bigger?
When you found out you were getting the release, how did you feel?
So, now you are out of WWE NXT, so what’s the Sami Callihan strategy?
Do you expect you’ll return to WWE one day?
Do you worry you burnt a bridge by asking for your release?
Do you worry you might have gotten off the train just as it was about to really take off?
How do you feel about WWE building a relationship with EVOLVE?
Do you plan to return to EVOLVE or do you want to keep yourself separate – and if you do, is it because of the WWE relationship?
How excited are you to see names like Rich Swann and Apollo Crews getting signed to NXT?
You returned to the independents as a surprise at AAW in Chicago attacking Eddie Kingston. What was going through your mind waiting to come out and make the return?
Was it an emotional release for you or just another day at the office?
Thoughts on your PWG return?
How was PWG changed since you were last there?
Who really impressed you there?
Why do you think PWG has amassed the following they have?
How much was WWE keeping an eye out on PWG that you are aware of when you were in NXT?
Thoughts on your return to CZW last night?
Why was it important to come back there?
You wrestled David Starr last night – thoughts on him?
What were the highlights of the show for you?
Best and worst things about DJ Hyde as a promoter?
Who are you looking forward to working with on the independents?
Do you feel reenergized being back on the indies? Did you feel WWE was holding you back?
Could ROH or TNA be possibilities for Sami Callihan in 2016?
Where do you expect Sami Callihan to be if we sit down a year from now?
What would you say to HHH right now if he asked for ways to improve WWE developmental?
How do you feel about him as a boss and a person?
What message do you have for your fans who have been following your career?