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Sony Six and TNA to bring live wrestling events to India

Sony Six extends its partnership with the international wrestling organisation by organising India’s first ever live televised wrestling event; ropes in The Great Khali to help find TNA’s next ‘Indian Star’

Mayur Lookhar | Mumbai | October 21, 2015


Sony Six, the primary sports channel of Multi Screen Media, and TNA Wrestling, the international professional wrestling entertainment organisation, have partnered up for India’s first ever live televised wrestling event.

In addition to this, Sony Six and TNA announced the launch of their second search for India’s next big wrestling star – to join Mahabali Shera (Amanpreet Singh) on the TNA roster. Sony Six has roped in former World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Dalip Singh, better known as The Great Khali, to help unearth the next ‘Indian Star’ on TNA.

Mahabali Shera, along with his colleagues Ethan Carter, diva Rebel and John Gaburick, Executive Vice-President - TV and Talent Relations for TNA, were in Mumbai on October 19, 2015 for the key announcements. After Mumbai, the TNA team will travel to Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Bangalore as part of their four-city promotional tour.

The project will give aspiring wrestlers from India an opportunity to be showcase their talents on a global platform. The announcement follows 2014’s unveiling of TNA’s first ever Indian wrestler, Mahabali Shera, after a year-long talent search led by TNA Hall of Famer and Olympic Gold Medallist Kurt Angle.

TNA will be hosting three events starting with TNA One Night Only in Mumbai on December 2, which will air live around the world. The in-ring action will take place at the Dome@NSCI in Worli, Mumbai.

Prasana Krishnan Prasana Krishnan

Prasana Krishnan, Business Head, Sony Six and Sony Kix, commented, “India is a country that has an extensive history of wrestling, with such talent in abundance. Given the national interest for the sporting event, we want to showcase consistent content along with high quality and local programming to connect with our viewers. The TNA One Night Only: Mumbai event will be a first of its kind initiative in India for wrestling fans. For the first time, our local viewers will be able to experience a live event, which is something that they have only seen on our channel.”

“The talent search will further give Indian wrestlers an opportunity to be a part of the incredible international TNA Roster. Through our annual efforts in showcasing international wrestling talents in India, we aim to reach out to a broader fan base in the country,” he added.

Action from World Wrestling Entertainment (earlier WWF) have been quite popular with Indian viewers and are among the most watched sports programmes in the country. When asked whether the hosting of TNA in India was a step towards breaking the stronghold of WWE here, TNA’s John Gaburick replied, “I don’t think our goal is to catch up with WWE in India. We have a unique product that we are trying to showcase to the world. When we looked at our strategy, we clearly identified India as a perfect partner, given the rich history of the sport. Like you said, in 1997 you enjoyed seeing those (WWF) stars, but those came and left. That was the end of it. I think our goal and strategy is to do something that is a little bit more integrated, it will be a bit more personal, more hands on and be part of this community. It starts with the live events and the talent search. Our overall vision and growth strategy is to invest in India, to invest in our partnership with Sony Six and to make something very unique and special.”

Krishnan added here, “Like John said, they (WWE) are who they are. They have a good product and their fan following. However, the route that we have chosen is two-pronged – the local element and ground events approach to give a touch and feel experience to fans. So eventually, depending upon the roster that we are able to find and how successful these events are, expanding the connect is always possible.”

However, both Krishnan and Gaburick refused to comment on the kind of investment that TNA is making in India to bring the cream of TNA to the country.

“TNA has committed to bring the best talent from their roster to India. So, localisation and more active touch and feel experience for the fans are the two pillars on which we’re hoping TNA’s growth in India will be built,” remarked Krishnan.

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