How ironic it all is.
The wrestler/manager that was once known as The Jackyl (aka Don Callis) — a cult leader — is starting up a wrestling school in Winnipeg.
Callis is a rather busy fellow these days. He is writes a weekly wrestling column for the Winnipeg Sun, hosts a radio show and recently began to appear at ECW cards as Cyrus.
But he says that it is the school that has taken up most of his time. “I have gotten maybe 50 or 60 calls a week and I haven’t advertised,” Callis said.
The school will be based in Winnipeg and is set to kick off this summer.
He decided to start up the camp after hearing many horror stories about wrestlers spending thousands of dollars and still not being trained properly.
“I just thought it was stupid,” Callis said. “I would not have trained guys that way.”
After 10 years in the business, Callis thinks that his brand of knowledge will be useful to his future proteges.
“I always had suggestions of how a camp should be run and thought I should do one myself,” he said.
He is currently taking calls for his camp but will attempt to stress the difficulties in pursuing a wrestling career to potential customers.
“I don’t give anybody any illusions like you’re going to make a million dollars,” Callis explained. “Being in the business is very tough.”
“It’s not just about being good enough — it’s about having the right connections,” Callis added.
But the new school will not be the only game in town. There is already another school in Winnipeg run by Ernie Todd, the promoter of CWF/NWA in Winnipeg. Todd questioned how organized his new rival is.
“Anybody can say they’re opening a training school. But where is it located, how much does it cost, when are the training times?” Todd asked.
Todd is rather unconcerned about the new competition that his school will face. “It doesn’t matter if he runs a school or not. I could care less. It doesn’t matter to me. I knew him before he was The Jackyl, what he was all about. He’s still the same talent,” he said.
Grads from Todd’s school have the chance to participate on the CWF circuit, an NWA-affiliate which runs shows in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The head trainer at the CWF camp is E.Z. Ryder, a nine-year vet.
Both of the schools teach future prospects the basics of the game.
“I was brought in by Bad News Allen, Japanese style of wrestling. It’s about showing the guys respect for the business,” Callis stated.
Todd’s approach to teaching is the same. “We run them through the basic wrestling skills, teach them the basic stuff. I mean, we don’t take them to the top rope and have them do huricanrana off the top ropes in the first month. They do their bodyslams, suplexes, how to run the ropes, how to fall, their basic bumps.”
— With files from Greg Oliver