Scott D’Amore can’t wait for live crowds to come back and see the phenomenal lineup IMPACT Wrestling has in store at Slammiversary.
Scott D’Amore recently spoke with WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard ahead of Saturday’s Slammiversary pay-per-view. D’Amore commented on the overall excitement for having a live crowd back for IMPACT events and said it means a lot to their whole company that fans are just as excited for the event as they are to host them.
“First and foremost, from top to bottom, from every talent on the roster to every production person, we’re stoked to have fans back in the IMPACT Zone. Wrestling is something that our fans are so much a part of the show and the action, not just the emotion, but part of it is seeing the fans’ reaction and the overall presentation, so we’re excited for that. We’re excited for our athletes to be able to go out there and get that instant gratification and instant feedback from the crowd when they’re out there, so it’s been a long time coming,” he said. “My hat’s off to everybody in our company and the wrestling industry that diligently worked through that pandemic era and now it’s just—to get back out there and have fans there starting this Saturday for Slammiversary, I’m stoked and it’s exciting.
“We felt so touched that the fans were excited as we were, the tickets sold out in a matter of minutes and it’s going to be a great show. The people that are going to be there in the IMPACT Zone, the people that tune in on Saturday night through cable or satellite providers or streaming through FITE TV,” D’Amore said, “I guarantee we’re going to give them three hours of world-class wrestling action.
There’s plenty of variety on the match card itself, with perhaps no contest being as anticipated as the main event match between Kenny Omega and Sami Callihan. While Omega came in as the ‘enemy’ when he challenged and defeated Rich Swann for the IMPACT World Championship and TNA World Championship, he’s been a formidable champion since then. D’Amore noted that he’s never doubted Omega’s level of talent and he was clear in that he wanted IMPACT’s Rich Swann to retain his title at Rebellion, but knew there was a chance Omega would represent his company.
Although the shenanigans and grandstanding come with it, D’Amore said Kenny has been a true world champion in every sense, but added that he might be in the minority in saying he has no problem with Omega as their champion.
“I personally have never had a problem with Kenny Omega representing IMPACT as our world’s champion because he is, if not the best, he’s right there. And I’ve known Kenny, we were together in Japan when I had a cup of coffee and hanging with the Bullet Club and Kenny was there. I saw it, and when you strip back all of the BS and all of the posturing and everything else, Kenny is a driven athlete that wants to be the very best. I knew that if Kenny Omega was the IMPACT World Champion, he was going to do that proudly and he takes great, great pride in going out there and being the best, and he takes great pride in being a champion. I knew I would have to put up with non-stop nonsense from my still good buddy, even though he’s not my co-worker, Don Callis, I knew he’d be playing his games and Kenny can be a lot to handle sometimes,” D’Amore said, “but I also knew that he’d show up and deliver and he’d be a true world champion, and he has been that.
“So I have no issue with Kenny being the World Champion—however, that seems to be in the minority when you go around the IMPACT Wrestling locker room and the office,” D’Amore stated. “There’s definitely a sentiment right now, the term that people keep using is ‘bring the title back home.’”
🚨 WATCH & RT 🚨
A challenge to: @KennyOmegamanX
What do you say, we make this THIS SATURDAYS #Slammiversary more interesting.
— THE DRAW (@TheSamiCallihan) July 13, 2021
Scott D’Amore then addressed the longstanding issues with Sami Callihan and how they have never seen eye-to-eye, but there’s no questioning Callihan’s love for IMPACT Wrestling.
“If you ever would have asked me that the uniting force where everybody starts putting their differences aside and comes together for a common goal,” Scott D’Amore explained, “if you ever told me that the person that this company and roster would unite behind was Sami Callihan, I would have said you’re completely insane. Let’s be very clear, if I have to go have dinner with Kenny or Sami, I’ll go with Kenny. If I have to travel with one of the two of them, I’ll go Kenny.
“Having said that, Sami Callihan, for all of the issues that he causes, and there’s many, the one thing and the one reason I will always have respect and appreciation for Sami is you talk about a guy that came to IMPACT Wrestling, and let’s be honest, at a time where things maybe weren’t the best they’d ever been,” D’Amore explained, “and from the second he stepped foot in an IMPACT Wrestling ring, he has worn the IMPACT logo like a badge of honor. He has carried the flag and flown it high, he has constantly been unapologetically IMPACT. Even on the days that he’s been doing something dastardly and causing a ruckus, whatever he’s going to do being him, he does it with him being an IMPACT guy.”
D’Amore then brought up the fact that Saturday’s match is now being contested with a no disqualification stipulation. He said there’s no denying Omega’s talent and he’s one of the best wrestlers in the world, but this won’t be a wrestling match in the traditional sense and he’s in for a fight against Callihan.
“Deserving World Champion, 5, 6 and 7-star matches, the classics he’s had at the Tokyo Dome and the Sumo Hall, everywhere else around the world, his resume’s so great, I think Kenny Omega probably is the best professional wrestler in the entire world at the moment, and that’s why he’s the IMPACT World Champion, the AEW World Champion, the AAA Mega Champion, and still the TNA World Champion. He’s the best—but he’s not going in to have a wrestling match. Kenny is stepping in the ring with Sami Callihan, this isn’t ‘catch-as-catch-can’. Sami Callihan is going to come at him in ways that Kenny Omega can’t prepare for,” D’Amore said. “Sami is much more cerebral than he gets credit for—but there’s also that unpredictability. I think Sami comes in [with a gameplan] and gets caught up in the emotion in it and then does whatever the hell comes to mind. So, Kenny Omega is not going in there to have a wrestling match, he’s going in there to have a knock-down, drag-out donnybrook fight with one of the baddest dudes on the planet in Sami Callihan.”
D’Amore said Sami might not look like the most intimidating guy compared to some, but he noted that he’s “as tenacious and as vicious” as anyone else and you’re looking at a guy that’s not afraid to do whatever it takes.
“Sami Callihan is focused and obsessed with being remembered. That’s what he’s trying to do. He’s trying to be remembered, and right now,” D’Amore noted, “what he’s focused on is being remembered for going out there and destroying Kenny Omega, getting his revenge on Don Callis for the years of problems they’ve had, and restoring order in IMPACT. I think the stage is set for an amazing main event on Saturday at Slammiversary.”
Check out our full interview with Scott D’Amore at the top of this post; Slammiversary airs on Saturday, July 17 on pay-per-view and streams on FITE.