In a recent interview on The Chris Van Vliet Show, Don Callis discussed comparisons to Paul Heyman, the idea for his Cyrus character in ECW, and much more. You can read his comments below.
Don Callis on the biggest influences on his wrestling career and comparisons to Paul Heyman: “There’s probably been 3. Kenny’s uncle, the Golden Sheik, for sure. Bad News Allen who kind of took on my training after the Sheik moved on. And then Paul Heyman in ECW. I’ve been happy for Paul that he’s had the success that he’s had because he’s a very talented and hard-working guy. He did a lot for me. There have been people now that have been comparing us, and I think it’s an unfair comparison for Paul because Paul is a tremendous wrestling performer, a character on a television show. He does a wonderful job of that. I’m not a character. I am the essence of who I am and what I do is done at a much higher level than what characters like Paul, with all due respect, can do.”
On idea for his Cyrus character in ECW: “There’s an interesting backstory to that. I came up with the idea of doing something different that leveraged a real-life difficult situation with the network. At the same time, I had made friends with a couple of the executives there, and I had pitched a few ideas. There used to be a show called Dallas – it was a very famous show in the ’80s. TNN used to run the reruns and I had successfully pitched a Dallas with Callis monthly marathon of Dallas – a 24-hour loop where I and one of the stars of Dallas would talk about the show because I was a subject matter expert. I always looked at Dallas as a wrestling show with the way that they wrote it. It was germane to what we were thinking in the ’90s.
“So, I pitched this idea, which got me even closer to the network legitimately, and that caused some problems internally for me because I think that Paul [Heyman] and others did not have a great relationship with the network, but I did on a legitimate basis. It caused some issues, but ultimately, I think the portrayal of that character – I think Paul had a lot to do with it. Once he saw, ‘Hey, there’s something here to this office thing’, I think Paul then looked and said, ‘How can we really turn the volume up on this character to get maximum heat because we know the fans don’t like the network.’ So, it was a joint kind of collaboration where Paul and I worked together creatively in a non-formal setting.”
On comparisons between AEW and ECW: “You can’t really compare eras. You really can’t. I think that certainly there was FMW before ECW, but I think that ECW pushed a lot of limits with what they did at the time. Those limits don’t exist anymore, of course, because the business has just changed so exponentially. I don’t think you can compare the two at all.”
If using any of the above quotes, please credit The Chris Van Vliet Show with an h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.