Impact Wrestling is starting off the new year with a bang at their Hard to Kill PPV on January 12. Sami Callihan will be defending the Impact World Championship against Tessa Blanchard in the main event. Tessa is trying to make history as the first women to win the top belt in a major US promotion.
To promote the big match, Impact put together a wonderful hype video worth watching. It provides back stories from growing up and each wrestler’s motivation to being the top dog in Impact. Be careful though. You may end of rooting for the story’s villain.
(Side note: Tessa’s black eye is from an unrelated incident wrestling outside the company.)
For my money, Sami Callihan’s underdog story is more riveting than Tessa Blanchard breaking barriers. Taking out the intergender context, Tessa is a thoroughbred with family pedigree, while Sami is more of a mutt. He floundered out of NXT but kept grinding in the industry. Sami amazingly worked his way to the top of Impact.
I’ll admit that I kind of want to see Sami win and continue his title reign. I must say that I only jumped back into Impact a few months ago, so I haven’t seen the worst of Sami’s actions in that company. He is clearly a jerk in the hype video, but he isn’t necessarily wrong in what he said.
“This is where people want to make me the villain, but I’m not the villain. I’m the hero. I’ve always believed in intergender wrestling. Hell, for my company, The Wrestling Revolver, I booked intergender wrestling all the time when I’m making the matches. I like intergender wrestling. Because in 2019, it’s all about equality. Why can’t everybody be professional wrestlers? Why does it have to be intergender wrestling? At the end of the day, it’s just professional wrestling.”
As far as I know, he isn’t spewing heel logic of twisting facts. Callihan actually does participate and book intergender action. There is something to be said for his attitude toward the match. He is taking the challenger seriously as a sportsman and treating her as an equal.
“I’m not going to treat you as a woman. I’m going to treat you as an equal. I’m going to bash your f’ing skull.”
That’s a great quote for headlines, but what really sells me is the following passage.
“See, everyone thinks its just going to be a fairy tale ending. The good guy outranks the bad guy when Tessa Blanchard makes history and becomes the first women to win the Impact World Championship. No. You know why? Because this is reality. This isn’t a fairy tale. This isn’t a happy ending story. Because at the end of the day, sometimes in real life, dreams don’t come true. (Intensity increases.) Tessa, I want you to bring everything you got. Because when you become a failure, it will fell that much better.”
Let’s be honest. All signs point to Tessa winning the belt. However, Sami’s passion did just enough to put doubt in my mind from it being a sure lock. It makes me interested to see if Tessa can actually pull it off.
Tessa also did her job by framing how scummy Sami is.
“Sami Callihan, January 12 at Hard to Kill, I’m not going to make history because of my gender or because I’m a woman. I’m going to make history because I’m going to be the one that takes the world championship from the most vile, disgusting, and shameless champion that this company has ever seen.”
Sami Callihan and Tessa Blanchard wrestled once before at Slammiversary. Sami was victorious. They put on a great fight and were declared Impact’s Match of the year for 2019, so expectations are high for their rendezvous at Hard to Kill.
Callihan vs Blanchard is arguably the biggest match in Impact history. The company has worked hard to shed the image of LOLTNA. There will be plenty of newsworthy headlines for the event, especially if Tessa is victorious. With that extra exposure, this is Impact’s chance to impress new and lapsed viewers with the hope of them tuning into Impact’s weekly Tuesday night program on AXS TV. The responsibility will be a team effort from top to bottom on the card, but Callihan and Blanchard will be the anchors.
Hard to Kill begins at 8pm ET on Sunday, January 12. The show can be viewed on PPV and Fite TV.
Did Impact’s hype video hype you up enough to buy Hard to Kill? What are your thoughts about the statements from Sami Callihan and Tessa Blanchard?