don callis
Photo Credit: All Elite Wrestling

Don Callis: Jim Ross Has Taught Me More About Announcing Than Anybody

“The Invisible Hand” Don Callis doesn’t believe All Elite Wrestling owner Tony Khan is threatened by his intellect backstage.

Don Callis recently sat down with Ben McCully of Rock 95 to discuss All Elite Wrestling’s debut in Toronto. When asked about doing some work as part of the All Elite Wrestling commentary team, Callis credited Jim Ross for teaching him more about commentary than anyone else. But he also admits he patterns his commentary style after Jesse “The Body” Ventura.

“It’s been interesting for me because Jim Ross has taught me more about announcing than anybody,” Don Callis admitted. “I mean, I pattern my style as a play-by-play guy after Jesse Ventura. I made no bones about that. He’s the greatest color guy, revolutionary. But Jim Ross taught me in 1997-1998 the times I got to work with him very important lessons that I’ve taken in commentary, and I’ve taken in my business career.

“One, know when to lay out. Two, always speak in sound bytes. I always remember that, and I always credit Jim Ross even though he’s a curmudgeon, even though Jim Ross likes to attack me to try to get himself over. I always credit Jim Ross for what he did for me in terms of advice. Tony Schiavone, I think, is to me; I love the sound of Tony Schiavone’s voice when I listen to wrestling.

“I listened to Tony Schiavone call so many iconic matches when I was a wrestling fan, so being out there with Schiavone getting to hit those Jesse Ventura lines on Schiavone just like Jesse used to is pretty exciting for me. Do I like Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross personally? Of course not. I mean, they’re miserable, old bastards who like to attack me when I’m out there. And it’s ridiculous. Excalibur, I used to wonder why he wore a mask, and I saw him without it. So I think it’s probably a good thing.”

When asked about being part of so many wrestling companies throughout his career, Callis said some people are threatened by his intellect, and that caused him to jump from one company to the next early on in his career.

“I learned early on in the business, as I’m sure you’ve experienced in your line of work, but sometimes intellect threatens people,” Don Callis said. “It’s one of the great things about working for a guy with a 160 IQ like Tony Khan; he’s not threatened by other people’s intelligence. A lot of wrestling promoters are. And so what happens is I would go into these places, and I would sometimes show a little too much of that intelligence. They go, ‘Who does this guy think he is with his MBA and his Ph.D., and all of those things?’

“And then people would get threatened, and then you would have to move on. So I would move on to the next wrestling company. So I learned very quickly people talk about the birth of The Invisible Hand. I learned very quickly to keep that intellect under wraps and operate behind the scenes, which is what I’ve continued to do with great success throughout my career.

“Whether it was reviving IMPACT Wrestling along with Scott D’Amore or whether it was changing the entire wrestling business by booking Jericho Omega at the Tokyo Dome, the thing that changed the entire landscape of wrestling history, and then once again last year, changing the wrestling business when I came to AEW, so it’s been a road where I’ve moved on where I saw opportunity, and right now the opportunity is right here in AEW.”

READ MORE: Don Callis: People That Are Truly Successful In Wrestling Are Selfish, I’m Just Playing The Game

What do you make of Don Callis’ comments? Do you enjoy the ever-evolving commentary team in All Elite Wrestling? Let us know your thoughts by sounding off in the comments section below.

If you use any of the quotes above, please credit Rock 95 with a link back to this article for the transcription.