While the pilot episode of sports entertainment reality show Ring Ka King was being shot in Balewadi, Anurupa Dongare chatted with ace Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh and international wrestlers -- Monster Abyss, Jeff Jarrett and Matt Morgan
International wrestlers at Ring Ka King
Jeff Jarnett is the founder of Total Non-stop Action (TNA). He is the third generation of Jarnetts in the wrestling business and is extremely keen to explore the Indian market. When asked about the polarised format of western wrestling as compared to the Indian 'Akhada' or 'Kushti', Jeff says, "Various formats are famous all over the world -- sumo wrestling in Japan, Muchador wrestling in Spain and we have managed to form a cult fan following there as well. We hope to do the same in India."
Ring Ka King has roped in Indian wrestlers as well to add a desi touch to an internationally acclaimed format. "These Indian wrestlers have gone through rigorous training and we have picked the best of the lot," says Jarnett.
When asked about the reason for appointing Harbhajan Singh as the goodwill ambassador of the event, Jeff says, "The fact that he is a sportsman is one of the reasons we roped him in. His controversial background too was a major reason why we wanted him for the show. These are perfect ingredients for a show like ours," he concludes.
Matt 'The Blue Print' Morgan is one of the most intimidating wrestlers in the Ring Ka King lineup. For someone who is 7 ft 2 inches tall and weighs almost 150 kg, Matt Morgan is exactly the opposite of his intimidating character in the ring. Talking about the reason he became a wrestler, Matt says, "When I was 6 years old, I saw all these amazing wrestlers on television and I had no idea it could be taken up as a career. As I grew up, I was exposed to different sports such as football, basketball and rugby. I heard from my friends that since I was almost 7 feet tall, I could actually become a professional wrestler. However, when I contacted these wrestling schools and told them my statistics they just hung up. No one believed in me. But eventually I forayed into professional wrestling."
When asked about his styling in the ring, Matt says, "Believe it or not, my DNA has been stored at NASA; I have technically been immortalised hence I have the 'double helix' or DNA strands on my trunks. The colour was based on Hulk Hogan's advice as he told me to use white since it shows my tan off. I just kept quiet and listened to him. The man has done a thing or two, you know" he jokes.
The diet of a wrestler is always an intriguing facet and Matt is no exception. "I eat every two hours. My breakfast consists of 8 egg whites, a gallon of milk, a glass of orange juice and anything from bagels to donuts."
Finally, we ask him since it is his first trip to Pune what would happen if he went out on the streets. "I'll tell you something that happened earlier. I took a cab and he charged me almost 200 bucks more than the regular amount and said it was highway tax. I showed him my fist and said how's this for highway tax?" he laughs.
Since Bhajji is hardly associated with a wrestling entertainment show, we quiz him on why he chose to be associated with it. "I am not here to judge or wrestle. I am happy being a cricketer. I am here to promote the sport, create awareness about it and I am here as an audience member, as a sportsman."
Talking about his connection with wrestling, Harbhajan says, "I was a judo champion when I was a kid. Thankfully, I realised that my size wasn't right for the sport and cricket became my passion, my life." Bhajji admits that interacting with sportsmen there was hardly any communication barrier. "When we meet sportspersons we talk about diet, exercise and what keeps us ticking. Each one has a different approach towards his / her game and this is what is intriguing about being a sportsman." When asked if he plans to make a foray into reality television since it is his second show on the idiot box, Bhajji says, "I don't know what I will do after I retire. I have a good 6 to 7 years of cricket left in me. But the experience of participating in two TV shows was certainly exhilarating."
Although it might seem as though there is nothing common between the wrestlers and Harbhajan, the show ties together all the elements of a masala entertainer and brings it to the audience. So, sit back on this Saturday and enjoy the paisa vasool entertainment.
A sense of mystique surrounds Monster Abyss. With his mask being a major part of his wardrobe, his in-ring character of Monster is the one to watch out for in the show. "The mask protects my identity while giving me a certain sense of enigma," he says. When asked about his diet, his answer is simple, "I eat anything and everything. I eat healthy but I eat everything."
Talking about his toughest component, Monster says, "Kurt Angle was my toughest opponent. His finishing move or 'the ankle lock' is a problem for me because of my size." We ask him which wrestler would he not want to get into a fight with and he says, "No matter how big or small my opponent is, I will fight anyone." Coming from a 6 ft 8 inch tall 'Monster' who has a childlike quality and is endearing, we find the statement hard to believe.
On January 28, 8 pm on Colors.