Don Callis

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"The Jackyl" redirects here. For other uses, see Jackal (disambiguation).
Don Callis
Birth name Donald Callis
Born (1963-10-13) 13 October 1963 (age 53)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Cyrus
Cyrus The Virus
The General
Don Casablancas
The Jackal
The Natural
Don Callis
Billed height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)[1]
Trained by Tony Condello
Debut 1988
Retired 2006

Donald Callis (born 13 October 1963) is a Canadian former professional wrestler and manager, known for his appearances with the World Wrestling Federation as The Jackal, and Extreme Championship Wrestling as color commentator Cyrus.

Career[edit]

Callis was trained by local wrestling promoter Tony Condello and debuted in 1989. Wrestling under the name Don Casablancas, Callis formed a tag team with The Psycho as "The Mercenaries of Mayhem" under the tutelage of their manager The Golden Sheik.

In 1990, Callis debuted with the West Four Wrestling Alliance, where he became a five time Canadian Heavyweight Champion.

World Wrestling Federation (1996–1999)[edit]

He received a tryout match with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1996 and was eventually hired as a manager.

On September 20, 1997, Callis debuted in the WWF as "The Jackal," 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 Jackal'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 Jackal sometimes would compete in singles matches mainly on Saturday Night Shotgun and house shows. Once the Jackal 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 Jackal ordered Kurrgan to attack Recon and Sniper out of the Tag Team Battle Royal and caused the stable to disband.

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)[edit]

In mid-1999, Callis debuted in ECW as Cyrus the Virus, 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 ironically was the dubious reason given to The Jackal for his WWF firing.

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 for 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. 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.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2003–2004)[edit]

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.

Retirement[edit]

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.[2] The show is part of The Jericho Network on PodcastOne.

New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2017-present)[edit]

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.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Callis has expressed an interest in participating in Canadian politics, and worked as a Media Relations Specialist for the House of Commons of Canada in the early 1990s. Callis earned an MBA in 2003. As of 2012, he is the President, CEO and Executive Director of the Manitoba Trade and Investment Corporation.[4][5] Callis has been married to three actresses, and a porn star.[6]

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Don Callis. Onlineworldofwrestling.com. Retrieved on May 26, 2016.
  2. ^ http://podcastone.com/killing-the-town-with-storm-and-cyrus
  3. ^ Currier, Joseph (January 17, 2017). "NJPW World finds its new lead English color commentary voice". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved January 17, 2017. 
  4. ^ Backstage News On Punk Vs. Jericho, Don Callis Update. WrestlingInc.com (February 25, 2012). Retrieved on 2016-05-26.
  5. ^ Don Callis. Ca.linkedin.com. Retrieved on May 26, 2016.
  6. ^ http://www.podcastone.com/pg/jsp/program/episode.jsp?programID=932&pid=1703327

External links[edit]