Sami Callihan will challenge Brian Cage for the Impact World Championship at Bound For Glory and he earned his number one contender position in an uncommon way, by defeating former Knockouts Champion Tessa Blanchard. When Callihan spoke to With Spandex at AXS TV‘s media round table for their new wrestling show, while he acknowledged the historic nature of his matches with Blanchard and praise Impact’s decision to air them, he said, “I don’t see it as intergender wrestling. I see it as pro wrestling.”
Callihan vs. Blanchard at Impact Unbreakable was their second singles match in the company this year, following one at Slammiversary. While other recent televised intergender wrestling matches (between Scarlett Bourdeaux and a few male Impact wrestlers, between Becky Lynch and James Ellsworth in WWE) have been more comedic, those between Blanchard and Callihan were more hard-hitting and comparable to serious bouts between wrestlers of the same gender in the company.
When asked if there was any concern at Impact about airing intergender wrestling, Callihan replied,
“I think maybe by management, but not from me. I know some of the other people that had got given the opportunity to be in this same storyline and have this same chance didn’t really want to do it, so I stepped up and took it as a challenge because I knew what it could do for the professional wrestling business. I knew it could change the business for the better. I think we did just that.”
When asked if he thought there would be more matches between men and women in Impact, Callihan replied, “I hope so. I think it’s something that would really help Impact Wrestling stand out from everyone else that much more. Jessicka Havok, Jordynne Grace, Taya, the majority of the Knockouts roster could go in there with the guys and tell amazing stories.”