Don Callis says he turned down an offer to be a part of WWE creative in the 90s because he doesn't want to work in a cubicle for any boss, he wants to be the boss.
Don Callis is currently at the forefront biggest mainstream inter-promotional wrestling rivalry in North America in decades.
As IMPACT EVP and the advisor to the AEW World Champion, Kenny Omega, Don Callis has repeatedly referred to his higher-level of thinking when during interviews following the reveal of he and Kenny Omega having a master plan to bring change to the wrestling industry.
However, before Don Callis was a commentator for NJPW, or an executive for IMPACT, he was an on-screen personality for the WWE known as “Jackyl” in 1997. As Jackyl, he led the Truth Commission. The short-lived faction was a pseudo militia group and its featured star was Kurrgan, a giant of a man who used a devastating claw.
In a new interview with Chris Van Vliet, Don Callis reveals that in an effort to do more with the giant, he wrote and formatted several weeks of weekly television and presented this to higher-ups in the company and that was the first time he turned down an offer to join WWE creative.
“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 color 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.”
He continued, “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.”
Now, Don Callis is pulling the strings in one of the biggest angles in wrestling today. Up next for he and Kenny Omega is IMPACT Hard To Kill on January 16. Fightful will have live coverage of the event.
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