Some called that the Golden Screwjob, others the greatest angle in pro-wrestling. When you listen to Don Callis, it’s a matter of family and history books. He trained under the tutelage of Kenny Omega’s uncle, The Golden Sheik. He has known the AEW Champion since he was a kid. Together, they have built a long-term plan to shock the system and rewrite history.
Omega so becomes one of the most talented wrestlers in the business right now, and Callis “The Invisible Hand,” the Magic Maker, the Golden Booker. Together, they have pathed their way from Japan to AEW and Impact Wrestling to make sure Omega would come to that point, becoming the ultimate attraction, whatever the promotion, wherever the place, as long as the Gold is around his waist.
SteelChair Wrestling Magazine had the opportunity to take part in Don Callis press pass on Wednesday. The “Invisible Hand” told us more about his plans with Kenny Omega, wherever they go and whoever they involve.
On where his loyalty lies
“There’s a famous quote someone said to me one time, they said, ‘Don, you gave me the power to do this.’ This was someone who worked for me. And I said, ‘Well, if I did give you power, then you’ve got nothing. Because real power is something you take.’ You TAKE it from someone. It doesn’t work, grassroots, bottom-up. It’s top-down, it’s elitist, it’s a hierarchy. It’s higher-level thinking. In other words, why you are seeing these barriers being broken down today is not because Don Callis had a meeting or that Scott D’Amore had a meeting. The real reason why this is happening is because Kenny Omega and Don Callis as in such a powerful position right now that we can literally do what we want. We can write our own ticket.
“Someone asked about Scott D’Amore. He is one of my best friends. He is a brilliant guy. He and I complement each other very well. Is Scott upset? Well, Scott is a smart guy. He is not an idiot. Of course, he is not upset. Would he have liked it if I told him about it? Maybe. That’s an ego thing, but at the end of the day, Scott sees Kenny Omega and Don Callis as the greatest thing in pro wrestling right now because he leaves his ego out of it, so you see, I’ll operate from a position of power. There’s a reason why I played the long game and wait I could have got a meeting with whoever in the wrestling business, let’s work together, I’m the Executive Vice President of Impact Wrestling. I could get that meeting, but I take power. I don’t negotiate it.
“My loyalties don’t lie to companies, or things, or money, or position. I am true to myself, so in other words, I came up in the business as a lot of us did as wrestlers, worrying about what other people thought of you. I remember, five years ago, looking at social media, what are people saying about so and so? I really don’t care. It doesn’t matter because as long as I am happy with myself and I am true to my higher purpose, then none of this other stuff really matters to me. Kenny Omega is my family. At the end of the day, Kenny and I have been planning this not for weeks, not for months, but for years. We have an unbelievable ability to play the long game and watch a plan roll out the way it should, and not to rush.
“As I’ve said before, those of you who thought I came back to be a colour commentator for New japan with Kevin Kelly, that was my purpose. That was a joke that was all part of the plan. The plan that you’re seeing now, you are living, a lot of things have happened this year in the world, you are living history right now. Kenny Omega and I changed history three years ago with the Tokyo Dome. We changed it again a couple of weeks ago on Dynamite and on Impact Wrestling. My loyalty is to myself period. I don’t care what anyone else thinks I am, and I say this not to put myself over. Instead of me saying my opinion, I will give you direct quotes from high-level people in this business. Don Callis is “the most forward-thinking, revolutionary, intellectual in the history of the wrestling business. So you can take your Eddie Graham’s — God bless him — you can take your Bill Watts’. You can take your Paul Heyman’s. You can take all the people you think are smart and strategic, and those people are insects compared to an intellectual giant. Compared to a person who thinks on a higher level like I do.
“There is no relationship between AEW and IMPACT Wrestling. There is a relationship, a family relationship between Don Callis and Kenny Omega. There is a power dynamic. Kenny Omega and Don Callis have power in AEW because Kenny Omega is the AEW World Champion, the greatest wrestler in the history of the business. Don Callis and Kenny Omega have power in Impact Wrestling because when we show up as we did a week and a half ago, or a little less than that, more eyeballs viewed Impact Wrestling. In the history of my tenure there certainly, and of the company, no one’s ever talked about either company in the context that they have. The business has changed. We’ve changed it. Kenny Omega and I have changed it. AEW got its highest rating ever with Kenny and me on that programme. IMPACT, the same thing.
“How does one measure success? The simplistic approach is ratings, it’s eyeballs, it’s money. Those are things that really don’t interest me. I’m concerned about what small children are being taught in the history books fifty years from now about, what Don Callis did about, how Don Callis changed the industry more than anyone in history. I love Impact Wrestling. Impact Wrestling is a great company. Scott D’Amore and I, it’s a labour of love for us, and we work together great. Do we get along perfectly all the time? Nobody does, that’s a relationship, but Scott and I work very hard. We take a lot of pride in Impact Wrestling. I’ve just moved on from the traditional trite meanderings of ratings and numbers and money. What I want is to be written in stone in the history books, that’s exactly what I am planning, and that’s exactly what I have done, not once but twice.”
On making history in a complicated time
“I don’t care about the things that people care about. I don’t care about ratings. I don’t care about fan reactions. I don’t care about how much the gate is. So to be perfectly honest, I barely noticed that we weren’t in front of 20, 000 people because to me, my audience is not the people in the seats. My audience is not the people who are watching this media call. My audience is the people that will read the history books. My audience is the people that will still be talking about Don Callis and Kenny Omega fifty years from now. That’s my audience, and at the moment, I have an audience of one as long as I please myself. I really don’t care what anyone else’s reaction is. That’s the truth.”
On maybe Chris Jericho joining them
“I have a very small group of people that I consider my friends. Chris Jericho and I’ve been friends for thirty years. He’s my oldest and closest friend in this business. And Chris and I, we talked business because Chris is brilliant, he really is brilliant, and me, I think Chris Jericho may go down as the greatest all-around performer and entertainer in the history of the business. I think Kenny Omega will go down as the greatest wrestler in the history of the business, and I think I will go down as the greatest revolutionary, high-level thinker in the history of the business. That’s three guys from Winnipeg, so that’s pretty cool.
“Just as I did in 2017-18 with New Japan Pro-Wrestling, when I put together the match that changed the entire wrestling business. My idea, my execution, Jericho vs. Omega at the Dome. The match that Tony Khan said made him think that something could happen with pro wrestling. We gave birth to AEW with that match in the mind of the invisible hand, Don Callis, we got that. And I included my friend, Chris Jericho, in that idea, not just because Chris Jericho made it work. Chris Jericho, some massive star, but also because he’s my friend. So, now as I find myself as the most talked-about non-wrestling person in the business, and Kenny Omega is the most talked-about wrestler. Of course, we would both be open to helping Chris out by having him in a situation where he could benefit from what Kenny and I are doing right now because that’s what Don Callis does for his friends and family.”
On Rich Swann and Hard To Kill
“I don’t think people fully have even been able to comprehend it if I told you three months ago you were going to see Kenny Omega and The Good Brothers, for life as they say, in a six-man tag in the main event against the Impact World Champion Rich Swann and The Motor City Machine Guns. My god, revolutionaries in this business with a great thank you. You would have said Don, this is great, this could never happen, we’ll never see this, we’ll never see that any more. The world has changed, and at Hard To Kill, you’re going to see the AEW World Champion Kenny Omega and The Good Brothers with Don Callis against Rich Swann and The Motor City Machine Guns. You’ve got a little time to digest that, and then, don’t think we’re resting on our words because there’s going to be more history that you’re going to get to witness on Impact Wrestling, AEW, it doesn’t matter. We’re going to do it everywhere. It’s not going to stop.
“To me, what sets Rich Swann apart is his incredible ability to overcome and continue, to push past the limits. We saw that when he wrestled three people in a number one contender, gauntlet situation. I am a big fan of Rich Swann. I am a big fan of the Motor City Machine Guns. I am a fan of Josh Alexander. I am a big fan of Ace Austin. I am a big fan of many people. Many people, if they were sending out Christmas cards, should send one to Don Callis, thanking him for what he did for them. Ace Austin sends me a Christmas card every year, by the way. I am not in this for accolades or people patting me on the back. I am a big fan of the truth, and the truth is that Rich Swann is great and Kenny Omega is next level. Kenny Omega is the number one wrestler on the planet. I have said it before. It is very controversial. It is the truth. I don’t care. Number Two isn’t even close. Kenny Omega, at 50 per cent, is the best wrestler on the planet. Kenny Omega at 100 percent and reunited with family – The Invisible Hand – is truly next level.
“A lot of people don’t like this kind of truth-telling that I am doing since Kenny Omega and I have been together, but the reality is when you are operating at another level of consciousness, you stop worrying about what others think and say about you. Comparing how Kenny and I think to everyone else in pro wrestling is like comparing an insect to the Dalai Lama in terms of intellectual capacity. We are Next Level. That is why people don’t see the things we do, and so that’s going to continue. I would gladly buy a ticket to see Rich Swann and Kenny Omega in the same ring, and we are going to see that, and I think that is wonderful. All the fans dream small, and their lives revolve around which wrestler could face which wrestler and which video game is better. Whatever reality these folks are living in, you are getting to see your dream, and you can thank Don Callis.”
On what their next move will be
“We are going to continue to shock the world as we did on Impact Wrestling last night. People said: “Don and Kenny are going to sit on that bus the whole time. I am not going to look at that.” Meanwhile, when I spoke on that bus, what you got was Hamlet. The reality is I give people something they have never had before. You thought you were going to hear another world-class promo on the bus. Kenny is not going to get off the bus. What did Kenny do? He broke a sign over the head of the Impact World Champion, and people went… “Oh, my God! What is happening?” Don’t think you can predict what I am going to do or what Kenny Omega is going to do. Don’t think you can predict what is going to happen because you haven’t predicted any of it yet. Just sit back like the insects that you are and be entertained, dazzled.
“The reality is we’re operating on a higher level of consciousness, that allows us to be in the moment, and that allows us to beat anyone. It doesn’t hurt that Kenny Omega is the greatest wrestler in the world today and the greatest wrestler of his generation. There’s never been anyone like Kenny Omega, and there’s never been anyone like Don Callis in terms of the way I think about this industry and the way I change the history of this industry. No one has changed history the way I have, not even once now. I’ve done it twice. The Invisible Hand is a real thing, it’s been here all along, and now you’re actually seeing it come out of the shadows.”
IMPACT Wrestling is airing on Tuesday at 8/7c on AXS TV and Twitch in the USA. The show is available to view in the UK from 2 am Wednesdays on the IMPACT Plus app and airs on FreeSports at 10 PM every Wednesday and 5STAR on Fridays in the late evening (please check local listings weekly). Hard To Kill will air live on Saturday, January 16 at 8 PM EST worldwide on Fite TV and on Premier Sports 1 in the UK.
All pics, videos, and screencaps courtesy of Impact Wrestling, AXS TV, Fight Network, and Basil Mahmud.