The so-called Death Machine suffered a ‘vicious’ leg break in the ring back in September 2021, when his tibia and fibula snapped, and his ankle was snapped ‘into six pieces’, which required ‘full reconstructive surgery’ from the shin down.
Reflecting candidly on his road to recovery, he exclusively told Metro.co.uk: ‘I’m still rehabbing that man. I may have come back a little too early, I may have not. The pain wasn’t what bothered me – pain’s just pain, I can lock pain out of my head.
‘It’s mental – it’s not being able to do what you’re used to, it’s relearning everything, it’s trying to get out of your own head and be able to be successful again.
‘That injury, truth be told, could have ended my career if we’re gonna be honest about it. But it didn’t, and I’m extremely lucky!’
Knocking on wood, Callihan – who is known for the brutality he deals out and withstands in the ring – admitted he’s lucky it’s the only major injury he’s suffered thus far, and it was a struggle as he sat at home trying to get better.
Sami Callihan insists the physical pain isn’t what made things difficult (Picture: IMPACT Wrestling)
He recalled: ‘When you’re sitting at home, not able to move, not able to work out, sitting on a couch eating chipotle everyday – that does something to your psyche.
‘Every single thing is gonna be running through your brain. What if I never get back to doing what I love? What if I never get back to being the Death Machine of old? I don’t think people realise how bad that injury really was.’
The Death Machine is determined to keep building momentum (Picture: IMPACT Wrestling)
Still, despite the trademark intensity and bravado, Callihan admitted that the idea of jumping off the top rope again is ‘scary’, and he knows those doubts will linger for ‘the rest of his career’.
‘The thought of just coming down on that leg and it snapping,’ he grimaced. ‘No matter what, the rest of my career that’s gonna be in my head. I felt that, I physically felt my bone and heard by bone snapped.
‘That’s something you don’t just get out of your brain. No matter what I do, I think there’s always gonna be that little piece of my mind – but I think the more matches I get in, the more I get back, I’m gonna get that much more confident, that much more aggressive, that much more angry.’
Sami faces Steve Maclin and Moose in Barbed Wire Massacre at Victory Road (Picture: IMPACT Wrestling)
Heading into tonight’s match, Callihan described the brutal bout as ‘just another typical Friday’, with the pressure on his opponents to hit his level.
‘Hey, this is just another typical Friday for the Death Machine! When you think about it, this is my wheelhouse! I don’t think these two guys really understand what they’re getting themselves into at the end of the day,’ he said.
‘What’s a bigger deal to me is I’m making history! After this match I’ll be in more Barbed Wire Massacres than any other wrestler in IMPACT history – and that’s something I’m putting on the resume!’
After his injury, Callihan admitted he’s making some changes to his in-ring style, but he still plans on ‘kicking ass’.
‘The Death Machine ain’t gonna let that stuff slow him down any time soon. Am I diving anymore? Probably not! But I am kicking ass as always? Absolutely,’ he insisted.
‘Now, I get a chance to be back in the main event of IMPACT Wrestling. I get a chance to be a character in IMPACT Wrestling and live my dream. I wouldn’t take it any other way.’
IMPACT Wrestling: Victory Road airs tonight (September 23) at 12.30am via Impact Plus or IMPACT Insiders on YouTube.
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