Sonjay chats candidly with Nick about how he got involved in Global Force Wrestling, what all he is doing with the company, working on Ring Ka King with Jeff Jarrett, how GFW’s current TV negotiations are going, the pros and cons of pro wrestling on a platform like Netflix, India as a pro wrestling market, whether he thinks WWE or TNA will be more successful there, his reaction to Jeff Jarrett telling him GFW was invading TNA, Kevin Nash’s time on screen with Sonjay in TNA as part of the Paparazzi Championship Series, more
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You can find the full audio of the interview as well as some transcribed quotes below:
On why thinks there has been an increased focus on India as a pro wrestling market:
SD: I think the focus has kind of always been there. It’s just that nobody has kind of taken those first initial steps to capitalize on it. I think that, obviously, we were the first (with Ring Ka King). We went over there and we shot twenty-six episodes. We literally plucked guys you have never heard of. Guys you probably never would have heard of from these remote Indian villages. We saw something in some guys and we made them in to pro wrestlers. By the end of twenty-six weeks we made them in to household names in India. Superstars. One of them was the guy you see on TNA now, Sheera, or whatever they call him now. He was a Ring Ka King project. There were a lot of other guys that were incredibly talented. That picked up wrestling literally over night. We trained these guys for fifty-seven days and made them in to stars. We were definitely the front runners on going to a country that has 1.4 billion people. Next to China at one point India was the largest growing economy in the world and there’s this growing middle class that has money to spend that just didn’t have it before. With those type of numbers why would you not want to capitalize on that? I went over to India myself last year and ran five shows myself and it was a great success. Obviously I was on a much smaller scale then say a WWE or TNA but I made my effort to run last year. There’s other guys that have tried but it’s a different world over there. A different culture. Culturally you have got to really be in tune to how Indians do business which I think is very tricky. If you’re not in tune with the culture and you don’t know how Indians work you are going to be lost in the shuffle.
On what Indian pro wrestling fans like in a pro wrestling show:
SD: I think it’s really simplistic over there. They like action and that’s what they want, action. Some of the top Bollywood movies on a yearly basis are all the action flicks. Whether it be over the top action. Whether it be realistic action. Whatever it is it’s a fight based society. It’s a fight based oriented society. Wrestling has a rich history in India. People may not know that. When I say wrestling I don’t just mean pro wrestling but also amateur wrestling as well. This was started years ago in India this wrestling called Kushti. Which is traditional amateur style wrestling that was done in mud pits. It’s kind of like a national sport over there. Those roots are in pro wrestling where a guy like Dara Singh is probably the most famous wrestler from India that people may know of. Drawing 40,000-50,000 stadium sell outs with Lou Thesz in the 50’s. It does have a rich history that as times have evolved and changed I don’t think that everybody’s kind of… WWE has done a couple shows out there. Nobody has made a full fledged effort to capitalize on such a growing economy. In the last 8-10 years is when that has been going on with the country.
On if it’s out of the realm of possibility that the WWE Network could add two or three million subscribers when they launch in India:
SD: It’s tough to say. It really is. It’s such a new thing. I’m talking just in India for a family to spend money on a “network.” It’s different. It’s really a test to see how advanced they have gotten over there when it comes to consuming their entertainment and media. It’s going to be a tough one. It could go that route or it could not. It’s definitely a place you want to at least test the waters where there’s so many people. I don’t know what it costs over there but if it’s comprable to what it is over here in the states, $9.99, cost is just going to the number one factor over there.
NH: I have read that the price is the equivalent of $9.99 American.
SD: Again, you can’t directly make that comparison because $9.99 to a home with a median income of $50,000 here versus $9.99 to a median household income of $20,000. It’s just a big difference in how far that $9.99 is going to go over there.
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