Don Callis: Rich Swann Is Great, But Kenny Omega Is Next-Level

Don Callis, Kenny Omega & Chris Jericho
Photo by Fight Game Media

Don Callis, the notorious Executive VP of Impact! Wrestling, was the subject of the most recent Press Pass event.

The press (including HOW’s very own Impact man-on-the-scene Dane Nielsen) came at Callis with all kinds of questions, ranging from his new relationship with Kenny Omega, to comparisons between Paul Heyman and himself.

The event kicked off with some breaking news, courtesy of event host Josh Mathews; at 11AM ET (16:00 UK time), Impact! Wrestling is bringing back Celebration for Hard to Kill.

The event will run two hours via Zoom and will have limited attendance. Already confirmed for the event are Don Callis & Impact! Tag-Team Champions The Good Brothers. Register now on the Impact! Wrestling website. 

Since Kenny Omega was brought into Impact! by yourself, he has targeted the Impact! World Champion Rich Swann. With all the hard work Swann has put in recently, how do you feel about an outsider targeting your Champion this way?

Callis: The question you might want to ask is ‘who is responsible for overseeing the direction of Impact! Wrestling on that side of things? Who has been referred to as ‘The Golden Booker’? You’re talking to him right now. If people are happy with how Swann has been treated and featured lately, they should thank Don Callis. He’s a great athlete with great attributes. What really sets him apart is his ability to ‘overcome’ his limits, as we saw during his rivalry with Eric Young. I’m a fan of Swann, but I’m a bigger fan of the truth, and the truth is; Rich Swann is great, but Kenny Omega is next-level. Omega is the no. 1 wrestler on this planet.

Impact! Tag Team Champions The Good Brothers have recently expressed interest in returning to New Japan Pro Wrestling. How do you feel about how open the wrestling world has become, and do you think we’ll see a Bullet Club reunion of any sorts across the three promotions?

Callis: The wrestling paradigm is that companies don’t tend to get along. Everybody tries to fix it from the bottom up, through meetings and conversations. That doesn’t work. Somebody said to me one time ‘Don, you gave me the power to do this’, they worked for me. I said ‘well, if i did give you power, then you’ve got nothing because real power is something you take.’ It doesn’t work ground up. 

The reason why we’re seeing these barriers be broken down recently isn’t because Scott D’Amore had a meeting, or because Don Callis had a meeting, but because Kenny Omega and Don Callis are in such a powerful position right now. We literally can do whatever we want.

You mentioned earlier how people should be thanking you. Somebody else who likes gratitude is Chris Jericho. Could we see Don Callis and Chris Jericho on-screen during this situation between promotions?

Callis: I have a very small circle of people who Ii would call ‘friends’. Jericho & I have been friends for 30 years, he’s my oldest and best friend in this business & I think he will go down as the best performer in the business. I think Kenny Omega will go down as the best wrestler in the business & I think I will go down as the greatest, revolutionary, high-level thinker in the history of the business. That’s three important guys. 

In 2017, I put together the most important match in changing the landscape of the wrestling business. It was my idea & execution; Jericho vs. Omega in the Dome. This was the match that made Tony Khan say ‘wow, I love professional wrestling’. I included Jericho in this idea because he made it work, he’s a massive star and he’s my friend. The three of us already made history, and Kenny & I would be very open to including Jericho in what we are doing right now. That’s what Don Callis does for his friends.

Where does your loyalty truly lie at the moment, is it with Impact! Wrestling, Kenny Omega or something bigger? 

Callis: My loyalties don’t lie with companies, or ‘things’, or money. I am true to myself. I used to worry about what people thought about me. I used to check what people were saying online. I don’t care anymore. It’s about me & as long as I’m happy and being true to myself, I’m good. 

Omega is family to me. We 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 fold out perfectly. My return as colour commentator to New Japan was a part of that plan. This is my true purpose. I’ve been described as THE most forward thinking, revolutionary, intellectual in the history of the wrestling business. Take your Watts’, Grahams and Heymans; they are insects in comparison to a man like me.

How difficult was it to plan the relationship between Impact! Wrestling and AEW?

Callis: There is no relationship between the two. There is a relationship between Don Callis & Kenny Omega; a family relationship. There is a power dynamic. We have power in AEW because Omega is the Champion & the best wrestler in the history of the business. We both have power in Impact! Because when we show up, like a few weeks ago, more eyes turn onto the product. Kenny & I have changed the business already; both programmes have had their highest viewing figures ever because of us. So there is no relationship, there is a higher level purpose.

Might we see a super-show down the line, whether it’s Impact! With AEW; Triple A with New Japan; all these companies together. Is this something that might happen down the line?

Callis: Yourself and the fans that talk about super-shows are dreaming small. Those are inconsequential to me, I don’t care about the success of five different companies working together. I’m way more concerned with doing things you haven’t thought of; doing things that you haven’t dreamt as possible. I won’t expose those now, but I’ll leave the super-shows to someone who operates in logistics and is sick of frantic ass-kissing to put together. 

A few months ago Impact! Announced a new partnership with PremierSports, now Kenny Omega and yourself have a partnership that will do good things for Impact! Do you have an ideal next step for the continued success of Impact?

Callis: I guess the question for everyone’s ‘how does one measure success?’ The simplistic approach to people like Josh focuses on ratings and money, which doesn’t interest me. I’m concerned about what the history books will say in 50 years time about what Don Callis did, and how he changed the industry more than anyone. 

I love Impact! Wrestling, and Scott D’Amore. This company is labour of love for us. Scott & I take a lot of pride in Impact!, but I’ve taken off from the traditional freight of meandering ratings, numbers and money. Ultimately, people forget. What I want is to be written in stone in the history books, which is what I’m planning and what I’ve done for the company and industry. 

Tune into the Impact! Wrestling Hard to Kill Celebration event via Zoom on January 16th; 11AM ET and 16:00PM UK time, register now on the Impact! Wrestling website. Don’t forget to order the event now, via PremierSports or FITE.TV.

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