Executive Vice President of IMPACT Wrestling, Don Callis, has spoken out about being offered a position in WWE creative but turning down the role in order to be the boss.
A former employee of World Wrestling Federation, Callis was a regular on the company’s television output as The Jackyl – manager of The Truth Commission – after plans for a team with Rick Martel who would have been known as ‘The Models’ fell through. It was Callis’ actions in ordering the imposing Kurrgan to attack his teammates in a Battle Royal at WrestleMania XIV that caused the team to disband.
Following his stint with the military faction, Callis put together The Oddities and went on to a brief dalliance with Faarooq and Bradshaw before being released from the company thanks to, in his own words, getting himself over.
However, the aid to AEW World Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega has spoken to Chris Van Vliet about his time with the WWF and how they offered him a spot on creative which he turned down because he didn’t want to work for a boss and instead wanted to be the boss:
“If you were to look at a couple of promos I did in WWF in 97. I was, I think the first person maybe one of the first people anyway to come out as I was a total unknown and I came out in one of my first promos I did in on a live Raw was, not calling out a wrestler, I called out Vince McMahon. I said that I wanted to run the World Wrestling Federation. I wanted to run the wrestling business and people thought, ‘oh that’s an interesting kind of bullet point’ or whatever.
But it was true. I never had an interest in being a pro wrestling manager or being a colour commentator. I wanted to be the person pulling the strings. I was twenty-nine years old when I said that and I don’t think the time was right. Vince McMahon was clearly not a guy who was going to allow other people into the tent they had they had offered me jobs to move to Stamford on three different occasions which I turned down. But that’s always been the goal. You don’t want to be the person acting in the movie. You probably want to be the studio or the person that finances the studio that finances the movie.”
As Don Callis revealed, he was the creative driving force behind Kurrgan who he wrote over a month of television for:
“As I recall I was one of the first people ever to I wrote six weeks of television for Kurrgan to try to get him to a different level and I wrote it out in a week-by-week format that would be fairly common now, in 1997, it was pretty unheard of for a wrestler to write out his creative in the way of formatting that we do now when we write episodic TV. So that was new and different and they were like ‘Oh, maybe you should be on creative.’ I did not want to be boxed into working in a cubicle for anyone in any office anywhere doing anything. So I just kind of pushed back and said, ‘that’s not why I signed here. I signed here to be a wrestler.’ Ultimately, that didn’t work out. But we’re all a product of our time in the business. So all of those things I think grow us as people.”
In recent years, Don Callis has had partnerships with New Japan Pro Wrestling and most recently All Elite Wrestling who now have a close working relationship with Callis’ IMPACT Wrestling allowing talent to cross borders and wage inter-promotional wars.
Credit for the interview: Chris Van Vliet
h/t for the transcription: Fightful