Match Of The Week: Pentagon Jr. Vs. Sami Callihan

A bizarre, violent, and very entertaining clash from IMPACT Wrestling's Slammiversary XVI...

Wrestling is inherently violent, and inherently silly.

Sometimes it's important to step back and appreciate that, so in a week of G1 Climax classics and one incredibly serious NXT title change, we're instead taking a look at the most violent (and silly) match of the past seven days.

IMPACT's Slammiversary pay-per-view has been widely considered a big success, for multiple reasons. There was the electric four-way opener between Fenix, Taiji Ishimori, Johnny Impact, and Petey Williams. There was a stellar main event in Austin Aries vs. Moose. There was excellence up and down the card, from the likes of Tessa Blanchard, Brian Cage, and LAX.

But there was also the headline-grabbing Lucha de Apuestas war, in which Sami Callihan pitted his hair against the mask of Pentagon Jr.

Whether this type of wrestling is your cup of tea or not, you have to admit it was something. Let's dive in.

Pentagon Jr. vs. Sami Callihan - Mask vs. Hair
Slammiversary XVI
Rebel Entertainment Complex - Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Impact Wrestling

Background: Pentagon and Callihan are two wrestlers synonymous with IMPACT's recent rise. Both are fairly new faces to the roster, but are also two of the most recognisable stars of the North American independent scene.

Weirdly, for a feud of such intensity, this all started because both men were coming off the back of other rivalries. Drifting around in the upper midcard, two of IMPACT's most ultra-violent names found one another and began to happily swing away.

Pentagon was coming off the back of a brief IMPACT World Championship reign, having won the belt from Austin Aries, only to lose it back to him a few weeks later. Callihan had recently participated in a bloodthirsty feud with Eddie Edwards, but was essentially a walking storyline device to unlock the clean-cut babyfaces' inner darkness.

With Aries and Edwards moving on to rivalries with Moose and Tommy Dreamer respectively, Pentagon and Callihan set their sights on one another. Or, more accurately, the heel set his sights on the babyface, targeting his mask on several occasions.

Pentagon retaliated in typically cartoonish (but compelling) fashion, abducting Sami, dressing him in his own black and white attire, and tricking oVe into assaulting their leader backstage.

Things escalated rapidly, setting up this mask vs. hair bout. It was interesting enough, but became even more important in a wider context. Slammiversary was to represent a key milestone in IMPACT's ascendance, and this was to be one of the show's marquee matches. A good showing would be essential.

Impact Wrestling

The Match: Fittingly, for a bout featuring two of the biggest trash-talkers in the game, this one starts off with an exchange of words. Not very nice ones.

The pair quickly begin to exchange blows, leading to the first spot of the match blending comedy and violence - of which there'll be plenty more. Callihan unzips his Roman Reigns-esque chestplate, daring Pentagon to do his worst. His wish is immediately granted, as he's met with a gunshot of a chop. Sami sells this perfectly, rolling immediately to the outside and re-zipping his vest.

Pentagon follows him, and both men accidentally chop the ringpost in their eagerness to punish one another. The Lucha Underground phenomenon returns to the ring, but only to set up for a full-blooded dive - which is cut off as Callihan clocks him with a steel chair.

Immediately, the villainous Sami bypasses the very point of the match, ripping at Pentagon's mask with a railroad spike. Penta looks a mess after the attack, tied to the top rope by his damaged mask, blood pouring from a widened eyehole in the material.

Callihan grabs his trademark baseball bat and looks to take his opponent's head off, but Pentagon mercifully kicks him away and frees himself from the ropes. Now it's his turn to launch a spike attack, at one stage using the bat to drive the pointy end into Sami's forehead. It's grisly as hell, but undeniably entertaining.

(Both men are bleeding by this stage, obviously.)

Both men throw caution to the wind now - or continue to throw caution to the wind, I suppose - teeing off on one another with spike shots to the dome. Then they sit across from one another and exchange huge strikes. Then they just decide to stand up and use their chairs as weapons.

Even if you've not yet seen this match, I'm guessing you've realised that it isn't the most technical encounter in the world. But then again, it doesn't need to be. The crowd are eating up every move - no mean feat considering this bout is following two other hardcore matches from earlier in the night.

oVe make their inevitable interference, and Pentagon fights them off - but this allows Sami to blind his foe with a handful of powder. Penta blindly grabs the referee and snaps his arm, to the horror (and secret delight) of those in attendance. He nails his finisher on Callihan, but it's asking a little much of the ref to count with a broken arm.

Sami drives Pentagon headfirst into a steel chair and, predictably, a second referee sprints out to help the heel win. To everybody's relief, the luchador kicks out and the violence must continue.

Pentagon sets up a platform of four steel chairs and piledrives Callihan into them, but the deranged maniac unthinkably kicks out. However, Penta essentially has the match won now, and decides to dish out a boatload of superkicks for added punishment. Sami defiantly spits at him, so more punishment follows. A second package piledriver secures victory, and everybody goes wild for one of the most distinctive matches of 2018.

Impact Wrestling

Aftermath: Of course, as per the stipulation of the match, it's not over yet. Pentagon prepares to cut Sami's hair, but Callihan displays a rare quality - cowardice.

The heel scurries up the ramp, but Fenix (Pentagon's brother) is there to intercept, holding Sami in place while he is shaved bald. It's sweet revenge for the brothers, as Callihan had targeted both of them in the build-up to this match.

As a standalone bout, this is a rather trashy thrill-ride - but in the wider history of IMPACT Wrestling it could take on a far more important role. Many people's favourite match of the night, it may well be looked back upon as a key moment in the promotion's changing fortunes.

It remains to be seen what Pentagon will do next, but at the time of writing, Callihan looks to have been driven even more insane by the result. On the most recent edition of IMPACT, he and oVe jumped an innocent bystander and shaved his head, a result of Sami's accelerated paranoia and rage.

While nobody wants to see IMPACT become a hardcore-obsessed promotion, this bout definitely gave Slammiversary a nice edge - particularly in contrast to WWE's modern PG product. It was a slight gamble, but one which has clearly paid off.

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Jack G. King

Written by Jack G. King

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