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Don Callis

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Don Callis (October 13, 1964) is a Canadian former professional wrestler and manager, best known for his appearances with Extreme Championship Wrestling as color commentator Cyrus the Virus.

Early life

Callis became a wrestler after looking for a sport to play while attending the University of Manitoba, where he earned a Degree in Political Studies.

Career

He was trained by local wrestling promoter Tony Condello and debuted in 1989. Wrestling under the name Don Casablancas, Callis formed a tag team with Rick Martel known as "The Supermodels". He also teamed 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 Heavyweight Champion. Callis began a heated feud with former partner Rick Martel in June 1994. He also toured in Japan, South Africa and Lebanon.

World Wrestling Federation

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 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 stable was not particularly successful, with their biggest achievement being their victory over the Disciples of Apocalypse at Survivor Series 1997.

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 AKA "Earthquake"), and Howard Stern Show regulars Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf and Crackhead Bob, 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, Hell's Henchmen, until he requested and was granted a release just a few months later - following which they found a new leader in the Undertaker, became the Acolytes of his Ministry, and broke away to make their mark as the Acolyte Protection Agency.

Extreme Championship Wrestling

In late 1999, Callis debuted in ECW as "Cyrus", a commentator who was presented as working for TNN, the TV network that was broadcasting ECW. His character represented many of the real problems between ECW and TNN at that point, as he constantly criticised the violent nature of ECW programming. Callis teamed with the anti-hardcore Steve Corino, and eventually formed a stable with Corino, Yoshihiro Tajiri and Rhino 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 the "Anarchy Rulz" event, in which Gertner was triumphant. ECW would declare bankruptcy soon after.

With ECW gone and World Championship Wrestling purchased by the WWF, Callis returned to university, eventually earned 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

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. After this, he quietly departed the company.

Retirement

Callis departed TNA on good terms later that year, having been offered a job in International trade that made use of his MBA. Callis is all but retired from professional wrestling, although he 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.

Personal life

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.

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