SLAM! Wrestling Canadian Hall of Fame: Cyrus Don Callis
By GREG OLIVER - Producer, SLAM! Wrestling
Photo by Peter Parsons, Halifax Herald
REAL NAME: Don Callis
BORN: Winnipeg, Manitoba
PRO DEBUT: 1989 - (WFWA)
6'2", 210 pounds
AKA: The Natural; Don Casablanca; The Jackyl, Cyrus
The mystery has been solved. The Jackyl -- an up-and-comer in the WWF -- is actually Don Callis, a good Canadian boy. Not that he wants to talk about his past.
During a February 26, 1998 chat on AOL, he said:
"I don't like to talk about the man that I was, I like to talk about the man that I have become. Suffice to say, that I have come from an
intellectually elite background not conducive to the professional wrestling industry. However, the truly great men of history were born with
one set of goals to which they uniquely are suited to achieve. I am the one person in the WWF who is capable to doing to perfection
everything in the industry from talking, managing, wrestling, booking to tv production and I had no choice but to follow the path that was set
out for me.
He debuted in 1989, and quickly became a known quantity, and eventually, a hot property.
His WWF role didn't showcase his wrestling skills -- he is accomplished in the ring and has a fan in Rick Martel, who in an April 1998 interview said, "I liked the way he wrestled. He was a pretty exciting character. He could have some pretty exciting interviews. I saw there was something here, some potential." The two actually teamed up together in Winnipeg and in the Maritimes as the Super Models.
Trained by Tony Condello, Callis started his career as a fan favorite, but after only months was turned
So the heel Callis took on a manager, the Golden Sheik, and teamed with the Psycho as the "Mercenaries of Mayhem".
From there, he moved into singles competition, and won the WFWA Canadian Heavyweight title in November 1990.
Callis feuded with E.Z. Ryder and lost the title to him. He regained the title in May 1991 and started a prolonged series against Jim Brunzell.
In February 1992, Callis was stripped of the WFWA title for conduct unbecoming a champion, but regained the title from Chi Chi Cruz in August 1992. He then lost and regained the title from Brunzell, and also switched the belt with Steve Rivers.
Besides being a star for the WFWA, he was also matchmaker for the group. Not long after he took over, the group changed its name to the IWA.
In June 1994, Callis started prolonged series against Rick Martel. At one point, he also formed a heel alliance with Bad News Allen, and was the architect behind Chris Jericho vs. Lance Storm.
Callis' first WWF tryout was in Wisconsin in June 1996. He didn't get hired, and that fall went on a three-week tour with Japan's WAR.
After years of slogging it out in Winnipeg, and other exotic locales like South Africa and Lebanon, Callis debuted with the WWF on September 20, 1997 as The Jackyl, manager for the
His stay in the WWF was a frustrating mess, and he never caught on in any of his roles.
In early 1999, after parting company with the WWF, he debuted in ECW as Cyrus.
Thanks to central Canada's leading wrestling expert, Vern May of Canadian Wrestle-Media for his help with this bio.
February 14, 2004: Callis leaves role in TNA
Sep. 3, 2003: Callis loves new TNA character
July 5, 2001: Cyrus trying to keep busy
May 24, 2001: SLAM! Wrestling Editorial: Cyrus is dead wrong
Sept. 7, 2000: Cyrus chat transcript
April 22, 1999: Jackyl re-emerges as Cyrus
April 15, 1999: Jackyl starts wrestling school
May 26, 1998: The Jackyl's Canadian collection
April 16, 1998: Jackyl: Wrestling's warrior prophet
"Cyrus" Don Callis: He was The Jackyl in the WWF for a while, leading the Truth Commission, but it was as Cyrus (the Virus) in ECW that he really hit his stride. Callis' "No Holds Barred" column appeared in the Winnipeg Sun and Thunder Bay Chronicle until early 2005.
Archived Don Callis columns
I'm a big wrestling fan in Winnipeg and I met the Jackyl in a bar called
Club 200 in 1993. He was quite the gentleman, and I wish him all the best in
I have never met the Jackyl, But I went to the same high school as him
(Kelvin High) and my friend Kris has talked to him on the phone (Thanks
to Mr. Weibe!) Well I was actually at the same Kelvin high basket ball
game as him once and I didn't even see him, I was a little upset about
that, but I have to meet him one day, he's just so Darn CuTe! And when
I do meet him, I'll totally have more memories! Don Rules!
I had the opportunity of working with Callas last Summer, as he
wrestled for Grand Prix Wrestling in the Maritimes and I did some
announcing. Don Casablanca was his name and he made an excellent team
with Rick Martel. Both men are amazing athletes and deserve bigger
Dave Lowe -Nova Scotia
I knew the Jackyl (or "Natch" as he is known among his hometown boys) as a complete professional who had the intestinal fortitude to overcome the incredible impediments which are presented to up-and-coming wrestlers in this territory. The road trips in this territory must be the most grueling to be found in any Indie territory, and they can quickly beat down the spirit of all but the most dedicated. Natch let nothing stop him and believe me the reasons to give up in this territory are great. Nonetheless, Natch never gave up.
I will always remember Natch for his professionalism, his killer knee drop, and his uncanny ability to be asleep in the back seat when it was his turn to drive the next 300 miles home from a tour.
Dave Levinsky, Wpg.
Donny is my friend, he's a great guy, he is. He always lets me get him coffee or a drink if he's thirsty. When I was drunk once after a show in south-eastern Manitoba, Donny was one of the guys who never yelled "Jump" so loud as most of the others when I threatened to jump off the roof of our hotel. He also didn't laugh as much as the other boys about the crying and wetting myself thing.
Boy, was I drunk and feeling sorry for myself. And it was also Donny who gave me a shoulder to cry on when I finally climbed down in disgrace. I think the shoulder belonged to Scotty Lightfoot.
I call him now and again in new York, but he's really busy, ya know?
K.A.K. Atcliff, Manitoba
I went to an ECW House Show oon May 2nd 1999. I arrived at the building
about 30 minutes early. We waited outside for about 10 minutes. They let us
in, and my friends and I immediately found our seats. We then went over to
the Merchandise Stand and looked around, out of a door walked Don. He walked
by me, and I said kinda said in a normal voice "Jackyl" he turned around and
waved, then walked by me again. I stood there and realized that I could have
gotten a picture. Amazingly though, he walked back out of the door, and I
asked to get a picture with him. He was SUPER Nice and said sure. We took
the picture and he went in line to get some coffee. I looked over at him,
and he kinda waved me over, I stood there in line with him and talked for
about 10 minutes. I told him my name and the show started. Later on in the
evening, I went to get a Soda at the concession, and he was standing there
with, I believe his wife, and I asked him if I could get another picture,
just in case the other did not turn out. He was more than happy, the girl
snapped the picture. I thanked him once again. Don was a total class act.
I am really glad that he was so nice!
I met Don at Club Taboo, and he let me buy him beer before his match with Larry Updike.
I met Don in my hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario where he was signing autographs at a car wash. I had the chance to talk to him about
various wrestling experiences. I think he's the nicest guy in the wrestling business. He told me what it takes to become a professional
STEVE, Thunder Bay, Ontario