Don Callis has recalled his firing during the festive season of 1998 from WWE and reveals he was being lined up for commentary on an Eric Bischoff-owned WCW.
‘The Invisible Hand’ of professional wrestling, Callis was speaking on the ‘Talk’n Shop’ podcast with on-screen allies The Good Brothers. Recalling his life-changing experience in 1998, the current IMPACT Wrestling executive recounted:
“I had an eye-opening experience in 1998 when I was fired from my dream job two weeks before Christmas by Bruce Prichard. I had been told I would have a job there for life. They said to me three times ‘move to Connecticut and write TV.’ This is before they hired a bunch of marks and called them writers. This is when it was Pat Patterson, Vince Russo, Jim Cornette, and Vince [McMahon]. I thought I would have a job for life because I could wrestle, manage, commentate, and write. It was an eye-opener because it’s like there is no job security.”
Callis would go to work in ECW following his firing from WWE as Cyrus The Virus. During his time in ECW, Callis would work as a commentator and as a character – purportedly working for the ‘network’ at a time when ECW was in conflict with their real network partners TNN. Callis was present at the final ECW pay-per-view, ‘Guilty As Charged’ in January 2001. At this event, Callis would help Rhino win the ECW World Heavyweight Championship. With ECW on its last legs, Don Callis reveals that he had another offer of employment waiting for him – in WCW.
“In 2001, when ECW was about to go out of business, I had a gig lined up with [Eric] Bischoff. Joey Styles and I were going to go do commentary on Nitro. I was going to make more money than I ever made. I went from being able to leverage three companies to a monopoly.”
WCW would end up being bought by WWE in March 2001. Eric Bischoff had prepared a deal to buy the company but after TBS withdrew the offer of airtime for their programming, that offer became unviable.
Following a short stint in TNA following the closure of ECW, Callis withdrew from the wrestling industry, working in international trade in his home province of Manitoba. In January 2017 Callis returned to the wrestling business as an English language commentator for New Japan Pro-Wrestling. By the end of 2017 Callis had been offered a role to run IMPACT Wrestling with compatriot Scott D’Amore.
Don Callis would help Kenny Omega win the AEW World Heavyweight Championship from Jon Moxley in December 2021. This would signal the beginning of a working relationship between IMPACT and AEW. That arrangement has extended to NJPW, with talent from each company turning up on the other’s shows.