Recently on The Jim Ross Report, WWE Hall Of Famer Jim Ross welcomed NJPW commentator and Impact Wrestling executive Don Callis. Among many other things, Callis talked about his longstanding relationship with the newly crowned IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega, how Omega has improved his craft, and whether we will ever see Omega work for Impact Wrestling.
During the conversation, Callis divulged that he has been along for the ride with Omega as he ascended to the top of NJPW. Moreover, Callis described Omega's title win over Kazuchika Okada as "euphoric" given Callis' close bond with Omega.
"I've been on this journey with Kenny Omega since he was a 16 year old kid who I booked." Callis explained, "I gave him his first break wrestling for the promotion I had in Winnipeg [Canada]. And his uncle, The Golden Sheik, who was an indie wrestler in Winnipeg helped train me in the [pro wrestling] business in 1989, so my roots with Kenny go back many years. I've been on this journey with him, and specifically since I've been in New Japan and we have a very close relationship. We talk about ideas, we do things, I helped put together the match between him and Chris [Jericho] for the Tokyo Dome, so to see Kenny, and how hard he works, and how seriously he takes this business, how he wants to change the business for the positive, to see that kind of manifest itself in this huge victory [over Kazuchika Okada], it was just such a… I don't know… euphoric, great feeling. I'm like, 'yeah, in wrestling sometimes we get s--t right and we really got it right.'"
According to Callis, Omega has evolved into top talent with his unparalleled psychology and storytelling. Callis compared Omega to the late great musician Prince, as 'The Cleaner' is so good there ain't nobody better, so he should never ever go by the letter [never ever].
"We all know he's a tremendous athlete, world class athlete, but where Kenny has really differentiated himself is in the storytelling aspect and the psychology." Callis continued, "and, as we know, psychology is one of the hardest things to get down in this business. I think I still don't have it to this day. And Kenny [has] just become a master at telling these great stories that make sense. It's like when Bret Hart would do something in the first minute of the match and then at the 20-minute mark, you'd be able to call back to it and it was all part of his strategy and his storytelling. Kenny's like that, but with Kenny, those callbacks go back a year, a year-and-a-half, and he [has] just become such a compelling guy. He really is, in my view, I call him a revolutionary because he is all about changing the business for the better. He's not a mark for any particular place or any particular idea of a big money contract. He really wants to make his mark on the wrestling business. This is not a guy who would cheat wrestling just because. He's doing it because he wants to impact change both in wrestling and I think he has social message, as well, to put out there. He really is unique. I compare him to Prince in terms of just being totally super-skilled and totally with a different agenda than everyone else."
On whether Omega will ever appear for Impact, Callis said he has learned to "never say 'never'" in the pro wrestling genre and he pointed to the Jericruise, which will feature ROH, NJPW, and Impact as evidence of the three pro wrestling promotions working together. Also, Callis never expected pro wrestling legend and WWE stalwart Chris Jericho to wrestle for any other promoter than WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, more proof that anything can happen in the wrestleverse.
"I kind of say, 'never say 'never'' and I think that one of the things that we've been doing under Ed Nordholm here at Impact is breaking some longstanding paradigms of pro wrestling." Callis professed, "the intellectual property stuff that we've talked about before, but also we've been working with multiple people now and now recently announced by Chris Jericho and I know [Ross] will be on that cruise, so that'll be cool, get to have a beer together. It's going to be Impact and Ring Of Honor on the same cruise ship, so there's some stuff that's probably going to happen and I don't think you can have those talents in a closed environment like that, so we are working, in a sense if you take that, with Ring Of Honor right now. We've got Taiji Ishimori coming in for our pay-per-view and our TV in July. The Bone Soldier just started with New Japan, so we'll see what happens. How many people would've thought that Chris Jericho would've headlined the Tokyo Dome with New Japan Pro-Wrestling? I was so sheepish when I pitched it to him because he always told me, 'I will never work for anyone except Vince McMahon and I have a deep respect for Vince.' Obviously, he took Vince into consideration. Vince is the first guy he told about it. Nevertheless, it shocked me that Chris was on a New Japan show, so I've learned to say, 'never say 'never'' in this business."
A special thanks to ROH Wrestling for the video above. Check out this edition of 'Slobberknocker Audio' here. If you use any of the quotations that appear in this article, please credit The Jim Ross Report with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: The Jim Ross Report