IMPACT Wrestling managed to get ahead of the curve in 2019 with their booking of Sami Callihan and Tessa Blanchard. Both wrestlers broke through their own glass ceilings last year, proving many naysayers wrong.
To many, Sami Callihan was never considered a ‘top guy’ in any sense. However, in no time, he became the company’s top heel and even managed to dethrone Brian Cage, capturing the IMPACT World Championship in controversial fashion. Even his road to the belt was mired in controversy.
At Slammiversary XVII, we saw the first-ever intergender wrestling match main event a major PPV when Callihan took on the Undeniable Tessa Blanchard. Accomplishing everything she needed to in the Knockouts Division, Blanchard picked a fight with Callihan and oVe, quickly transitioning to the X-Division and the Heavyweight division.
Her fight with The Draw at Slammiversary was seen as revolutionary. So much so, that when they faced off in a rematch at Bash at the Brewery, IMPACT management decided to make it a #1 contender’s match for the world title. At Slammiversary this year, Callihan showed respect to Blanchard. After defeating her, he handed his bat to her.
However, at Bash at the Brewery, all gloves were off, and Callihan used every underhanded tactic known to man to pull one over on Blanchard. Cut to a few months later, and Blanchard found herself in a gauntlet match for an opportunity at Sami Callihan once again. It seemed that she was destined to face the Callihan Death Machine over and over again.
After knocking off Brian Cage, it was revealed that Blanchard would face Callihan for the IMPACT World Championship at Hard to Kill in January.
A new Undeniable champion is crowned
The rivalry between Tessa Blanchard and Sami Callihan was groundbreaking. Callihan stated many times over that he’s a hero to those fighting for equality because he’ll take the fight to Blanchard without holding back.
That’s exactly what we saw tonight. Callihan was vicious. He was ruthless. Looking to injure his longtime rival, Callihan tore apart Blanchard’s leg for the better part of the match. However, she overcame the odds, and the excruciating pain, to knock off the champion. After four Magnums and a Buzzsaw DDT, Tessa Blanchard’s arm was raised.
With that, Tessa Blanchard has become the first woman to hold a world championship in a major promotion. No one can deny her greatness or her place in history.