New Delhi: With the World Wrestling Entertainment returning to India after 13 years, the city fans are in for a two-day extravaganza involving national sportspersons Satender Ved Pal and Lovepreet Sangha, who are making their in-ring debut.
Apart from Lovepreet and Satender, the WWE line-up includes champion Roman Reigns, Big Show, Kane, Charlotte and few other big names which will put on a show at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium on January 15 and 16.
Lovepreet, 6 feet, 225 pounds, was one of the top raiders in the World Kabaddi League in 2014 and was a member of the United Singhs team that won the league championship.
Satender Ved Pal, 6'4" and 235 pounds, was a standout in Indian wrestling. He was also a two-time national heavyweight champion in Kushti.
Satender and Lovepreet explained the rigorous practice routines they went through in recent months.
"Training was indeed the hardest part, the last nine months were both physically and mentally exhausting for us, we dedicated hours in the ring and then other exercises and it is very demanding," said Satender.
Lovepreet on the other hand explained that he wanted to expand his horizon.
This will not be the first time that an Indian wrestler will be a part of WWE since 'The Great Khali' was associated with the spectacle and separated recently, Khali made his debut in 2006 and since then he became a nightmare for other wrestlers.
Khali's journey has been exemplary and his rivalry with 'The Undertaker' in the ring was a delight for the fans. Speaking on the relationship that has developed over the years between India and WWE, Gerrit Meier, WWE President International, said that he was especially excited about the debut of two Indian wrestlers, two-time Kushti National Heavyweight Champion Satender Dagar and Former World Kabbadi League Champion Lovepreet Sangha.
Meier was positive about the appointment of Joji George as Vice-President and General Manager, WWE India following the launch of WWE Network in November, 2015. This he sees as an impact of WWE's growing popularity in Asia apart from its conventional market.
The reigning WWE champion Reigns listed his fight with Brock Lesnar in Wrestlmania and his rivalry with 'Big Show' as his most memorable moments in the ring. Roman said that the two Indian debutants will learn with time and after Khali, expectations from the two will be more.
"Khali is very kind and he is a nice person and now the two wrestlers will have to prove their mettle," said Reigns. On being asked about his hero, Roman said that his mother is a true hero for him and also, the source of inspiration.
Roman represents a new generation of WWE wrestlers and he enjoys a great support from the fans. He said he is delighted to be in India and he is looking forward to provide enthralling entertainment for the fans.
Meanwhile Meier defended the controversy where the Indian flag was insulted by one of the wrestlers. He explained that the incident took place 20 years ago and it was just a part of the script that the wrestler was inacting.
"We acknowledge the incident and it happened around 20 years ago, we tell a story and it was a part of the storyline, WWE never intents to insult or disrespect any country and we have a great respect for all the cultures. If there was harm done or people find it offensive then we would like to apologise but that was never the intent, not now or 20 years ago," Said Meier.
Photos: Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt promote 'Badri...' on 'Dil Hai Hindustani'
Photos: Deepika Padukone, Neha Dhupia and Soha Ali Khan at event
In pictures: 15 facts about kissing that will surprise you
Birthday special: Shahid Kapoor's best performances in Bollywood
Photos: Kim Sharma, Sagarika Ghatge, Zaheer Khan at launch in Mumbai