Interview: Sonjay Dutt discusses Indian market, Intellectual Property rights, Alberto El Patron, & more
Sonjay Dutt is a very interesting man indeed. In addition to performing high flying and death-defying moves in the ring for many years, he's also been the creative mind that is powering Impact Wrestling to new heights under the Anthem regime.
He answered every question I threw at him and discussed how important India was as a market during a recent teleconference for the Indian media. Here are some excerpts from the interview:
Q. We recently saw 'The Woken Hardyz' on WWE programming. Why was the decision made to let wrestlers keep their IP, outside Impact Wrestling?
A.: I think it's a bit of goodwill that the company has extended to the talent, and I think that's pretty much it, there. It's something we've incorporated for the talent coming in, and it was extended to some people who came here before, as well.
Q. I was around for Impact Wrestling's tapings in India, where you won your X-Division championship from Low-Ki. The show was built around you, and Shera. Now that Shera is no longer with the company, has the focus on India, as a market, changed?
A.: No, I don't think so at all. I think every individual, whether it be wrestling or any other profession, sometimes certain circumstances arise and people have to move on. They have to make a decision in their lives and their careers. and I think that's something that happened to Shera.
If anything, our interest in India is stronger than ever. Look at the numbers and the amount of viewers that are talking about Impact, are watching Impact. It's one of our biggest markets and if anything, our attention is going to be stronger on India, moving forward.
Q.: We recently saw a picture of Jeff Jarrett in rehab. Are you in touch with him, and is he doing well?
A.: I sent him a 'Happy Thanksgiving' text, and other than that I'm not very sure of his status.
Q:. How did you come up with the hilarious idea of a 'standby wrestler'?
A.: Well, I'll give all credit to Dutch Mantel. That was a Dutch Mantel idea (laughs). Back in the day, in the infancy and the height of wrestling on television in America, there was a thing where a match could go short on television.
If it went short, there were a couple of standby wrestlers who could go out there. That's kind of where it came from. That's a Dutch Mantel idea which I love (laughs). I thought it was awesome. The moment he gave me the idea, I said I got the perfect guy in mind to play it.
It was Richard Justice.
Q. Alberto El Patron was the top babyface in Impact Wrestling, right before his suspension. Why did he become a darker, more heelish character, upon his return at Bound for Glory?
A.: Well, I think that if you put him in his shoes after all that happened, he probably would be a little mad and he probably would be, you know, a little frustrated with the company. If you put yourself in his shoes, it's possibly how he feels, and that's kinda the direction that it went.
Q. Will India be a one-off trip for the company, or was it a one-off special thing?
A.: I don't think you can classify that as a one-off. Me personally, I think we can go there at least once a year, that would be awesome.
I think, like I said before, India is one of our biggest markets and wrestling fans in India, they crave wrestling. If I had it my way, we'd be there, every year at least.
Q.: As someone who's the face of Impact Wrestling in India, what's your personal opinion of Jinder Mahal?
A: Jinder's a good friend of mine. Jinder and I go way back and I'm proud of the guy. I think it's amazing what he's done in the last year. Something that nobody expected. He transformed himself and he's reaping the benefits of the hard work he's put into transforming himself inside and outside the ring. I think the world
I think the world of the guy.
Q. With the departure of Jim Cornette from the company, is there a plan to make someone the authority figure?
A.: Right now, I don't think there are any plans for any authority figures.
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