Don Callis
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Don Callis
Don Callis
Birth nameDonald Callis
Born (1963-10-13) October 13, 1963 (age 57)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada[1]
Alma materUniversity of Manitoba
Professional wrestling career
Cyrus[1]
Cyrus the Virus[1][2]
Don Callis[1]
Don Casablancas[1]
The General[1]
The Jackyl[1][2]
The Natural[1][2][3]
Sidewinder Singh[2]
Billed height6 ft 2 in (188 cm)[4]
Billed weight180 lb (82 kg)[4]
Billed fromWinnipeg, Manitoba, Canada[4]
Trained byTony Condello[1]
Debut1989[1]
Retired2006

Donald Callis (born October 13, 1963) is a Canadian professional wrestling color commentator and executive. He is the current co-executive vice president of Impact Wrestling. He is also a former professional wrestler and manager. For most of his career he has been known as either Cyrus (shortened from Cyrus the Virus) or Don Callis. He first gained international attention working under the name The Jackyl working for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). He also worked for New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) as an English language commentator on NJPW World.

While in the WWF Callis managed a group known as The Truth Commission and later on The Oddities and finally The Acolytes before being fired in 1999. From 1999 to 2001, he worked for Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) strictly as a manager and fictional "network representative" in various ECW storylines. While in ECW he led a group known as The Network. In 2003, he was introduced as an onscreen character for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling and returned to the company (now called "Impact Wrestling") in 2017 where he took an executive position as well as an on-screen commentator.

Professional wrestling career

West Four Wrestling Alliance/International Wrestling Alliance (1989-1998)

Callis was trained by Manitoba wrestling promoter Tony Condello, debuting in 1989 in Condello's West Four Wrestling Alliance promotion under his birth name. Later that year, Callis adopted the ring name "The Natural". In May 1991, Callis won the WFWA Canadian Heavyweight Championship. Between 1991 and 1994, he held the championship a total of four times. In 1994, the West Four Wrestling Alliance was renamed the International Wrestling Alliance. Callis held the IWA Heavyweight Championship twice in 1996.

In 1992, Callis wrestled for the Quebec-based Lutte Lanaudière as "The General", teaming with El Diablero as "The Jet Set Team". The Jet Set Team held the Lutte Lanaudière Tag Team Championship for eight months.

World Wrestling Federation

The Truth Commission (1996–1998)

Callis received a tryout match with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1996 and was eventually hired to form a tag team with Rick Martel as "The Models". When Martel departed for WCW, he was left without a gimmick.

On September 20, 1997, Callis debuted in the WWF as "The Jackyl", a member (and eventually leader) of a group of wrestlers known as "The Truth Commission" (a take on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission). An article in WWF Magazine claimed that he was a lower-level WWF employee during the early 1990s, and that he developed a messianic complex when he led a group of WWF superstars out of Kuwait when they were stranded there during the Gulf War. In an effort to play up the Jackyl's gimmick as a charismatic, power-hungry fanatic, commentator Jim Ross often referred to him as the "David Koresh of the World Wrestling Federation". The Jackyl sometimes would compete in singles matches mainly on Shotgun Saturday Night and house shows. Once the Jackyl fought in his hometown, Winnipeg, as the General, against Jim Neidhart and lost the match. He would also team up with and managed the Interrogator (Kurrgan). The stable was not particularly successful, with their biggest achievement being their victory over the Disciples of Apocalypse at Survivor Series 1997. At WrestleMania XIV the Jackyl ordered Kurrgan to attack Recon and Sniper out of the Tag Team Battle Royal and caused the stable to disband.

The Oddities and The Acolytes (1998–1999)

Callis returned to television in 1998, forming a stable known as "The Parade of Human Oddities". The group consisted of "freakish" wrestlers, including "Golga" (a masked John Tenta a.k.a. Earthquake) and Kurrgan, and had entrance music performed by the Insane Clown Posse. The stable did not last long, and Callis eventually started managing the new tag team of Faarooq and Bradshaw, The Acolytes, until he was fired by WWF. Callis claims he was fired by Bruce Prichard for "getting himself over at the expense of the talent".

Extreme Championship Wrestling (1999-2001)

In mid-1999, Callis debuted in ECW as Cyrus the Virus (a name lifted from the 1997 movie Con Air), a commentator with a gimmick similar to that of his WWF persona. He would broadcast exclusively on pay-per-view along with Joey Styles. As the issues between ECW and their network TNN heightened, Cyrus was then presented as working for the network, under the shortened moniker of Cyrus. His character represented many of the real problems between ECW and TNN at that point, as he constantly criticized the violent nature of ECW programming. He would also display affection for RollerJam and Rockin' Bowl, two programs on the network that ECW fans alike despised, due to the network giving them preferential treatment despite poor ratings in comparison with ECW. He singled out Joel Gertner for disciplinary measures, among other things due to Gertner "getting himself over at the expense of the talent", which was the dubious reason given to The Jackyl for his WWF firing.[5][6]

Cyrus then displayed authority in ECW due to his executive position with the network, working as a heel to crusade against ECW fan favorites (in kayfabe), but to also appease the network by preventing the lewd content (as a shoot). Cyrus then teamed with the anti-hardcore Steve Corino, and eventually formed a stable with Corino, his manager Jack Victory, and their hired guns Yoshihiro Tajiri and Rhino. They were collectively known as The Network. He engaged in a long-term feud with commentator Joel Gertner, which culminated in a match on October 1, 2000, at Anarchy Rulz 2000, in which Gertner was triumphant.

Following this, Cyrus (kayfabe) canceled ECW on TNN (as the show was soon to be canceled legitimately, in favor of WWF Raw). Cyrus would then go on to aid Rhino in winning his first ECW World Heavyweight Championship at the final pay-per-view, Guilty as Charged 2001. ECW would declare bankruptcy soon after.

Independent circuit (2001-2003, 2018)

With ECW gone and World Championship Wrestling purchased by the WWF, Callis returned to university, eventually earning a Master of Business Administration. He also briefly operated the No Holds Barred Wrestling Camp, a Winnipeg-based wrestling training camp. Callis also wrestled on the independent circuit, primarily appearing with Canadian promotions such as the Prairie Wrestling Association, Pro Outlaw Wrestling, and Top Rope Championship Wrestling. From 2001 to 2002, he appeared with Border City Wrestling, holding the BCW Can-Am Tag Team Championship with Terry Taylor.[2][1]

On July 13, 2018, it was announced Callis would commentate the All In broadcast with Ian Riccaboni, Sean Mooney, Excalibur, Alicia Atout, Justin Roberts, and Bobby Cruise [7]

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2003-2004)

In 2003, Callis debuted in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) as a "Management Consultant". During this time he claimed credit for the Ultimate X match, which he said he devised to settle the dispute over who was the X Division champion once and for all. He engaged in a power struggle with then Director of Authority Erik Watts and used his power to make life difficult for Jerry Lynn, repeatedly fining and suspending him. On January 28, 2004, Callis succeeded in ousting Watts from TNA when he defeated him in a match for control of TNA, though he quietly departed the company afterward.[8]

Retirement (2004-2017)

Callis departed TNA on good terms later that year, having been offered a job in International trade that made use of his MBA. While having generally retired from professional wrestling, Callis made an appearance at the ECW reunion show Hardcore Homecoming on June 10, 2005.

Callis also wrote weekly wrestling columns for the Sun media group and co-hosted a local Winnipeg radio show called "No Holds Barred" with Joe Aiello on 92 CITI FM.

On October 18, 2016, Callis debuted a new podcast with longtime friend Lance Storm called Killing the Town with Storm and Cyrus.[9]

New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2017-2019)

On January 17, 2017, Callis announced that he had accepted a position to become the new English color commentator for New Japan Pro Wrestling's events on New Japan Pro-Wrestling World, working alongside Kevin Kelly, replacing Steve Corino.[10]

At the December 11 World Tag League Final, Callis took part in a storyline attack done by Chris Jericho on Kenny Omega.

Callis stopped commentating after Dominion 2019

Impact Wrestling (2017-present)

On December 5, 2017, Impact Wrestling announced Callis as the promotion's new executive vice president, alongside Scott D'Amore.[11]

On April 22, 2018, Callis featured as the colour commentator for the Impact Wrestling Redemption pay-per-view as well as the following episode of Impact. During the Summer & Fall of 2018, Don Callis was regularly appearing alongside Josh Matthews as colour commentator and it now appears that Callis may have become the permanent colour commentator for Impact Wrestling following the departure of D'Angelo Dinero and the experiments in using Sonjay Dutt as a color commentator when he was recovering from an injury.

All Elite Wrestling (2020-present)

Callis made his All Elite Wrestling debut as a special guest commentator (at the request of Kenny Omega) during the World Title Eliminator Tournament Final between Omega and "Hangman" Adam Page at Full Gear. On December 2, 2020, at Winter Is Coming, Callis was a special guest commentator for the AEW World Championship match between the champion Jon Moxley and the number 1 contender Kenny Omega, and resulted in Callis helping Omega win the title. When asked about it, he assured everyone that their questions would get answered on the December 8 episode of Impact!. On December 9, 2020, Callis returned to Dynamite, arriving by helicopter with Omega. Callis also revealed he had been planning things with Omega since both men first met in their native country of Canada several years ago.

Championships and accomplishments

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Cyrus". Cagematch.de. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Harris M. Lentz III (21 October 2003). Biographical Dictionary of Professional Wrestling, 2d ed. McFarland. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-4766-0505-0.
  3. ^ Hoops, Brian (January 14, 2019). "Pro wrestling history (01/14): Christian wins NWA World Title". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "Cyrus the Virus". ECWWrestling.com (via Wayback Machine). January 26, 2001. Archived from the original on January 25, 2001. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ R.D. Reynolds (16 November 2010). The Wrestlecrap Book of Lists!. ECW Press. p. 185. ISBN 978-1-55490-287-3.
  6. ^ James Dixon; et al. (17 December 2015). The Complete WWE Guide Volume Six. Lulu.com. p. 296. ISBN 978-1-326-50746-6.
  7. ^ "HERE'S OUR BROADCAST TEAM". ALL IN 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  8. ^ Brian Fritz; Christopher Murray (16 November 2010). Between the Ropes: Wrestling's Greatest Triumphs and Failures. ECW Press. p. 250. ISBN 978-1-55490-268-2.
  9. ^ Cyrus, Lance Storm and. "PodcastOne: Killing the Town". podcastone.com. Retrieved .
  10. ^ Currier, Joseph (January 17, 2017). "NJPW World finds its new lead English color commentary voice". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved 2017.
  11. ^ Currier, Joseph (December 5, 2017). "Scott D'Amore & Don Callis named executive VPs of Impact Wrestling". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved 2017.
  12. ^ a b c d "Cyrus - Titles". Cagematch.de. Retrieved 2017.

External links


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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