Exclusive: Indian NXT superstar Rinku Singh discusses WWE tryouts in India, wrestling being tougher than other sports & more
He is the subject of the movie- Million Dollar Arm. He is a former baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates. But now, Rinku Singh is determined to be a WWE superstar. He's currently teaming with fellow Indian Superstar Saurav Gurjar, and their gimmick is as Indian as it gets:
I caught up with him during a telephone call and asked him about this unique look. He replied in fluent English:
We're representing a tradition that I and Saurav, we're both very proud of. Even though I've lived in America for 10-11 years, I've always represented my culture and tradition. No matter where I've gone all around the world. I have a temple wherever I go. We have a temple in our house, where Saurav and I pray. I believe that representing our culture and tradition is very, very important.
The team does not have a name yet, but they're considering 'Nightmare Namaste'. As of right now, they're content with calling themselves Rinku Singh and Saurav Gurjar. As a WWE Superstar, Singh wants to be a role model for young men and women:
All the WWE Superstars, not just what they do in the ring, but what they do outside the ring is absolutely heartwarming. Seeing that they're always out there putting smiles on kids' faces. Visiting hospitals, visiting senior care centres. Encouraging kids to do well in school. I've always wanted to be a role model.
I ask Singh who his dream opponents are from the NXT roster. He does not take names but instead dubs his team a group of warriors who'll take just about anyone on. Singh speaks of his fellow NXT superstars in the Performance Center and says they're a family:
We train at the same place. We do all the shows together. So, it's like people from all around the world, best of the best. We have each other because we're so far away from our families and so we take care of each other like families. And obviously, it's fun to have Saurav and Jeet Rama bhai. We just have so much fun when we get together.
I ask Rinku about the one topic that's on the minds of one and all right now. What does a Performance Center in India, as confirmed by Triple H, mean for Indian pro wrestling? Rinku Singh is naturally quite optimistic in his response:
I feel like it's a massive opportunity for the India market. And I feel like this will be taking over big time. I feel like we have the no. 1 fan following from India. This is one of the biggest opportunities for Indians. As an Indian, I couldn't be more proud knowing that WWE is willing to open a PC in our country. It's absolutely amazing for our athletes and our countrymen.
So what advice does Singh have for the men and women who may want to follow in his footsteps, participating in the WWE tryouts come March?
See, my advice would be to take this very seriously. Because opportunity won't come knocking on your door twice. It'll come your way once and either you take it or regret it for the rest of your life. Give not a 100%, we're talking about 110%. You want to be somebody. You want to do something for your country, for your community. You want to give it all you got. If you make it, it'll be good for our country, good for our family, good for everybody. Take it seriously, and don't quit!
This past week on RAW, we saw Triple H call up 4 NXT superstars- Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Aleister Black, and Ricochet. I asked Singh what his thoughts were about this promotion. Singh was extremely proud of his fellow NXT Superstars:
Good, I'm happy for them. Wrestling, from outside the ring, might seem easy. And you're hearing this from a guy who's been a professional athlete for 10 years, representing India and America. The physical aspect, none of the sports out there can compare. They've put in the work, and look at them. Hard work does pay off. Very very happy for them knowing that they got promoted to the main roster.
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