May 20th, 2024

Don Callis reluctantly returns to Winnipeg with All Elite Wrestling

By John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press on April 30, 2024.

Don Callis is considered one of the four greatest professional wrestlers to ever come out of Winnipeg, much to his chagrin.

Callis will be representing his stable of wrestlers on Wednesday night when Winnipeg’s Canada Life Centre hosts All Elite Wrestling’s Dynamite. Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega, two of the other legends of Manitoba wrestling, will also be on the card.

The 60-year-old Callis is not particularly eager to reconnect with old friends from his days growing up in Winnipeg.

“I anticipate they will attach themselves to me to try to make themselves feel better about their lot in life,” said Callis on Tuesday as he was driven to Canada Life Centre. “I have probably less in common with people in Winnipeg than people in the other places that I spend my time during the year but, nevertheless, I’m branded as being from Winnipeg. It is what it is.”

Omega is expected to make an appearance on Wednesday after missing several months recovering from diverticulitis. Jericho will defend his FTW championship against Japanese legend Katsuyori Shibata.

Callis has previously managed Omega and worked closely with Jericho. He said it will be bittersweet seeing those two in prominent positions on the card when he has a mixed history with both of them.

“We’re three of the four faces on the Mount Rushmore of Winnipeg along with Rowdy Roddy Piper,” said Callis. “They’ve both fundamentally betrayed and/or disappointed me so, it’s sort of bittersweet.

“I know, Kenny has got a big appearance at the show and I think that’s very exciting for fans. I personally am hoping that he is going to apologize to me in a public fashion.”

It’s the second time that AEW has been in Winnipeg.

Last year’s card was headlined by a three-way bout for the AEW world trios championship, with the then-champion House of Black facing Omega’s group The Elite and The Jericho Appreciation Society.

In addition to Omega’s appearance and Jericho’s match with Shibata, Toronto’s Adam Copeland will defend his TNT championship against an unspecified member of the House of Black.

Callis said that he appreciates how AEW president and owner Tony Khan has made a point of having several shows in Canada throughout the year.

“(Khan) really is in touch with what people want. He’s a big fan of Canadian wrestling and Canadian wrestling fans,” said Callis. “If you look at his roster, you’ve got myself, you’ve got Kenny Omega, you’ve got Adam Copeland, you’ve got Christian Cage, Jericho.

“There’s a lot of guys on here who are not just Canadians, but Canadians in top spots.”

The Callis Family – his current stable of wrestlers – includes Japan’s Konosuke Takeshita, American Powerhouse Hobbs, Australia’s Kyle Fletcher and Will Ospreay of the United Kingdom, who Callis refers to as his Golden Goose.

Ospreay will challenge Roderick Strong for the International title at Double or Nothing in Las Vegas on May 26.

“Will Ospreay is a guy who has the physical capability. as everyone can see, to win any title at any time,” said Callis. “Will’s problem is one of hesitation and is one of being a nice guy.

“But I look at it like this: sometimes you gotta eat what you kill. Sometimes leaving someone the door open to come back and take another crack at you is not wise you want to eliminate as many of the potential contenders and pretenders that you’re able to.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 30, 2024.

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