The ‘Network’ spokesman Cyrus, star of ECW Wrestling and a columnist for SLAM! Wrestling and the Winnipeg Sun, came by CANOE and SLAM! Wrestling today for a chat. He answered questions from fans for an hour on the state of ECW, his start in the business, his days in the WWF, his favourite wrestlers, the CFL and politics.
Moderator: Hey folks. ECW star Cyrus is here in the offices of CANOE ready to chat with SLAM! Wrestling fans from around the world. Let’s go to the first question.
Viper: how did you get into the wrestling business??
Cyrus: I had always been a fan, and having played a lot of sports in high school, I found myself in university not doing any competitive sports. I was looking for something to do, and decided to give wrestling a try with local promoter Tony Condello, who had trained Roddy Piper.
Derek Bonk: Hi Cyrus. I will be attending ECW’s first show at the Hershey Centre on Saturday night. And I was just wondering if you could announce some of the matches on the card that night. THANK YOU!!! ECW RULES!!!!!!!!
Cyrus: I have no idea what the top matches will be, only that they will be fantastic.
Terry Chmel, Winnipeg, Canada aka Cyrus country: Hi Cyrus do you think you will ever go to WCW? I personally think you would be a big star there.
Cyrus: I am very happy in ECW and also very appreciative of the break given to me by Paul. I like going to my job, which is very important to me.
Patrick Bennett: Don, is there any hope of ECW getting a new TV deal in time for the change in a few weeks? Also is there a chance of getting ECW out in western Canada?
Cyrus: On the TV deal, I would say that with a product as good as ECW there will always be someone in the TV industry wanting to exploit the obvious benefits of our product. As far as shows in western Canada go, I have been a big proponent of ECW running shows in Canada, as I believe Canada is starved for live events. What the timetable is I don’t know, but I hope it will happen soon
DTC: Don, who are your favourite Canadian wrestlers?
Cyrus: Bret Hart Bret Hart Bret Hart Bret Hart and Bret Hart
Mike Bright: Hey Mr. Callis. Does Mr. Heyman do all the booking, or do you and others help him out?
Cyrus: Paul is the creative genius behind ECW. He is also a guy who is very open about listening to others’ ideas. Sometimes I make suggestions for my own stuff, but Paul is the booking genius.
Ryan Doucette: You’re the funniest guy in Wrestling. Why did you leave the WWF? If you had the chance, would you ever go back?
Cyrus: I left because I was given my release. I would never say never, but I believe for what I do (color commentary and the heel manager schtick) they really don’t have a utility for me.
John Starr: Who do you think is going to be the next big star to come out of the Canadian indies?
Cyrus: It’s not like a few years ago when you had Lance Storm, Jericho, myself, Adam Copeland, Jay Reso, Joe Legend etc all unsigned independent guys. Most of us have been signed. One guy who is constantly overlooked is Dr. Luther Len St. Clair, who has worked for like twelve years and is tremendous. There are a couple of guys from my wrestling school who trained with me last year who have potential if they apply themselves.
Terry Harris: How do you respond to the statement that ECW is merely a developmental league for the WWF & WCW and they really only employ unproven wrestlers and castoffs from other companies.
Cyrus: There is some truth to the fact that some guys who have come here were overlooked by WWF or WCW. Some would say that I fit into that category. I think it is a testament to Paul’s creativity and open mindedness that guys get a chance to get over where they might not have before. The downside of that is that if guys become big stars with ECW and get the venue to showcase their talents, then they get noticed and sometimes get snatched up. However, I don’t think calling us a feeder system is accurate, as there are a lot of guys, like RVD for one example, who could go wherever they want, but choose to stay in ecw
Anonymous: What is your favorite Japanese Wrestling Promotion, and who is your favorite Japanese Wrestler?
Cyrus: My favorite promotion was New Japan, but I also watched a lot of All Japan. My favorite Japanese wrestler is and was Muta.
fletch: Don, I was wondering why you and other wrestlers, particularly Lance Storm and Jerry Lynn, enjoy eating at Cracker Barrel so much? I know Lance raves about the place.
Cyrus: Cracker Barrel is a holy shrine for us, a shining light in the depth of darkness. You have good, home cooked food, and tremendous waitresses who are judged by the same five star system as Dave Meltzer judges matches. Also, Lance always orders for me.
The Foxx: Do you like the whole Triple H-Kurt Angle-Stephanie storyline ?
Cyrus: I am a big fan of all three performers and I think the storyline is very real life and sophisticated which is what wrestling fans demand nowadays. It is also good for them because it attracts a female demographic that likes the soap opera aspect of it.
Jeff King: With the impending loss of TNN and so many wrestlers from ECW moving on to WCW or WWF, is ECW going the same way as the AWA from the mid/late ’80s?
Cyrus: The old AWA was basically a pretty rough product at the end. ECW is a fantastic product that remains unique. There is no comparison.
Kate: Do you thing pro wrestling is getting too graphic for younger children to be watching it on TV un-chaperoned?
Cyrus: I think, like everything, parents must monitor what their kids watch. Wrestling is not near as bad as a lot of the stuff on TV nowadays.
Anonymous: Do you think ECW will ever be as big as the WWF?
Cyrus: The WWF has become such a huge diversified company that it is hard to say. ECW is also a much younger company than WWF and is still rapidly expanding and growing. Only time will tell.
Terry Harris: How come you do not wrestle, I have watched some of your matches with Rick Martel and they were very good matches, why are you not used as a commentator/wrestler it would make sense seeing as ECW has such a lack of depth on their roster.
Cyrus: Wrestling was always my weak suit while talking and acting, etc. was my strong suit, so really it just makes no sense to focus on something I am not that great at.
Fuzzy: Will ECW bring a PPV to Canada?
Cyrus: I would love to see a PPV in Toronto. I think a lot will depend on how the show goes Saturday in Mississauga, which should be unreal. I would like to see PPVs in Canada by next year
Chet Reidel: After ECW leaves TNN, what direction do you see ECW taking the Cyrus character?
Cyrus: Who knows? The thing I like doing best is color commentary, so hopefully there will be an opportunity for me to do more of that
Ectomorphian: For someone with bad genetics are steroids a necessary evil to make it into the wrestling business?
DTC: Will you and Gertner ever have a match?
Cyrus: Who knows, I think Gertner would blow me up
alan: Why do you hate the CFL so much?
Cyrus: Jeff Giles jobbed me out of doing an opening kickoff gimmick for the Bombers, and at the time I was with WWF, and my thing was….”who the hell is Jeff Giles”. More people forgot to watch WWF on Monday nights than would watch the CFL all year, so they had heat with me. Plus I have had to sit through some horrible excuses for games at the Winnipeg Stadium, and I became disenchanted with them. You see, I remember the glory days of Dieter Brock and Tom Clements
DTC: Don, why do you think the Human Oddities gimmick failed in the WWF?
Cyrus: Someone didn’t think it fit in with the direction of their programming. The bottom line was that the first segment we did drew the highest rating on RAW that week
ECWRULES: With the way WCW is going right now, do you think that ECW will be able to beat WCW most of the time in the ratings?
Cyrus: We are already out drawing them and sell more merchandise. The ratings have not been on a level playing field, but the litmus test might be if we were on a better network.
Todd, North Carolina : Cyrus, out of all the wrestlers you managed, (Kurrgan, Oddities, etc.) which did you enjoy working with most, now that you no longer manage them (if you still do I apologize), what is your opinion of how their careers are presently doing, and if you could, which one of them would you like to have the chance to manage again and why?
Cyrus: I liked Kurrgan personally very much. He is such a nice guy that I would have loved to have seen he and I succeed as a team, but it didn’t work out
Corey: Who do you consider is the future of wrestling?
Cyrus: Chris Jericho, Adam Copeland and Jay Reso, Rhino to name just a few
Terry Harris: Has ECW lost its edge it was the first North American company to employ cruiserweights, hardcore wrestling and profanity. WWF has seemingly mastered ECW’s recipe and defeats them in every other category. How do you respond to this.
Cyrus: No it just doesn’t appear so cutting edge now that other companies have copied the formula
Dominick: Hey Cyrus, I dig your column! My question is how do rate Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat amongst the greatest wrestlers of all-time? He’s had the greatest matches against Savage, Jake the Snake and of course Ric Flair! However, he never seems to get the respect he so rightfully deserves.
Cyrus: One of the three best babyfaces I ever saw, maybe the best. Probably doesn’t get the respect he deserves from non wrestling people because he wasn’t a great promo
Max Moon Fan: After Bret Hart retires, which Canadian wrestler do you see carrying to torch to represent Canada? Lance Storm? Chris Benoit? Chris Jericho?
Cyrus: I think Benoit and Jericho are obvious choices, but I think Adam Copeland has as much potential appeal as Jericho, although at this time Jericho’s charisma is at a higher level of development, though he is a few years ahead of Adam in experience, while Adam has just started to get used to talking with the mic. Lance is doing the Canadian gimmick and is probably the best pure wrestler, with Benoit, but Lance doesn’t have Jericho or Edge’s charisma yet
Jon Spratt: Don’t you feel that the Network angle in ECW has been somewhat forced, to an extent?
Cyrus: Not at all. I am obviously biased, but in, my opinion it was one of the best angles of the year.
Shawn: Cyrus, as someone who grew up in Manitoba I am interested in local wrestlers. I can remember watching the WFWA and seeing you and others like Chris Jericho, and many more. What can you tell me about Eddie Watts what is he doing know? Thanks
Cyrus: Last I heard he was out in the Maritimes, but had also been successful away from wrestling. I really don’t know a lot of details, although I remember him as being a good worker.
Desyth: How much does it cost for the NHB wrestling school?
Brian: Will ECW hire any of the wrestlers let go by WCW lately and if so who?
Cyrus: Well, Psychosis and Eaton have been in, and you never know who Paul is talking to
DCB from Toronto: What is your opinion of Steven Richards’ new gimmick as the leader of the Right To Censor group?
Cyrus: I think Steve is a tremendous talent and I am glad to see him getting an opportunity to showcase his talent in the WWF
GRANT: Don, did you have a friendship with Rhino before he came on the seen? Also where is Rhino from?
Cyrus: Yes, I had Rhino in Winnipeg working for me and Tony Condello and I both tagged with him and worked matches against him. He is from Detroit, poor fella
Terry c: Hi Don is ECW in financial troubles? Will they be able to survive wherever they go on television?
Cyrus: My cheques clear every week, and the houses are often sold out, so I assume we are in good shape
GrandMattyB: What’s the best gimmick in ECW right now in your opinion?
Cyrus: I like the way Rhino has been pushed, I think it is exactly on the money
Cyrus Fan: Hi Don, I loved your Jackyl character in the WWF. You had mentioned previously of your political experience in Canada. Do you plan to a) ever go back into politics or b) integrate it into any future angles with yourself. Keep up the great work!!
Cyrus: I had an opportunity to run for the Progressive Conservatives last year in the Manitoba provincial election, but turned it down. Running for office would not be something I would turn down, but would be more interested in national politics.
Al Gore: What would you do to make WCW a better promotion?
Cyrus: Book long term to buildup storylines and draw money
ECWRULES: I was just wondering if you have seen “Beyond the Mat”, and what you thought of it?
Cyrus: I liked it, but it seemed a bit contrived to me
Desyth: What are your thoughts on wrestling’s “smart fans”
Cyrus: I think most fans are smart now, and it doesn’t bother me, as there is so much more you can do, now that you dont have to worry about K5 so much
Desyth: Did you like Jericho better in the WWF or WCW?
AL: What is your favourite match of all time, in each of the Big 3 Wrestling Companies?
Cyrus: WCW Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat: Chicago (or New Orleans) WWF Hart vs. Austin ECW RVD vs Jerry Lynn
Anonymous: Cyrus-what effect in your opinion will the Owen Hart lawsuit have on the WWF?
Cyrus: Hard to say, I dont really have an answer for that
ECWFan: You come across as quite an intellect on TV. What type of background do you have?
Cyrus: Educated at the University of Manitoba where I got a degree in political studies. I also was a stage actor and worked as a media relations specialist for the federal Tories
DTC: Don, what are your thoughts about the rolls that Mike Awesome and Tazz are currently playing in WCW and the WWF?
Cyrus: I like Tazz’s character and I like the fact that Mike Awesome is giving his gimmick everything he has despite the fact that a lot of people don’t like it
Navin Pratap: What are your thoughts of the Survivor Series controversial match between Michaels and Hart?
Cyrus: I felt at the time that it was all a huge work. Having said that, it’s hard to listen to Bret on the subject and not come away believing it was not a shoot
DCB from Toronto: Don, if you had one chance to go “back in time” and do something over again, what would that one thing be?
Cyrus: I would have used the time I had before wrestling full time in the big companies to further my education so I would never be reliant on the business
Moderator: Well that’s about it. Cyrus has to go. We want to thank him for taking time out of his busy schedule to chat with the readers of SLAM! Wrestling. Be sure to check out ECW’s show this Saturday in Mississauga.
Cyrus: Thanks a lot and if you are in the Toronto area, be sure to check out ECW in Mississauga on Saturday night