The Story of Satender Dagar aka Jeet Rama - Vindication of a lifetime of hard work
Professional wrestling, unlike other career options, isn’t a popular choice, especially in a country like India. When we talk about professional wrestlers from the United States and other countries in Europe, they’ve been given a foundation, with professional wrestling existing in those countries since the late 1800’s.
Professional wrestling was a part of the “circus” act, which used to roll from town to town, with strongmen displaying their superhuman strength. However, towards the beginning of the 20th century, professional wrestling started to evolve – especially in the United States and Japan – which had an impact on the business around the globe.
It was in mid-1900’s that India produced a couple of professional wrestlers, although understandably, they couldn’t achieve the same amount of fame as their counterparts from the West. However, with the likes of Dara Singh and Gama Singh opening doors and paving the way for future generations, professional wrestling soon became an enticing, yet relatively unrealistic option for the Indian wrestlers.
However, it was in 2007 that the Indian wrestlers started believing that they could take up professional wrestling as a career option. With The Great Khali enjoying unprecedented success in the WWE – defeating the legendary Undertaker and later winning the World Heavyweight Championship – the industry saw a massive boom in the country.
Humble beginnings of Satender Dagar
After watching The Great Khali conquer the professional wrestling world, a “pehelwan” from Haryana started dreaming about making a name for himself on the world stage. Satender Dagar dedicated his time and effort to establish himself as one of the most popular wrestlers in the country, winning the National Heavyweight Championship in kushti on two different occasions.
Satender’s hard work and dedication stemmed from his upbringing, and with the rigors involved in training for the traditional wrestling style in India. Winning the “Hind Kesari” title was a step in the right direction, and with WWE’s plans to foray into the Indian market, Satender became one of the two short-listed prospects from the country.
Training for his WWE debut
Satender, along with Lovepreet Sangha started training at the WWE Performance Center in mid-2015. With WWE announcing a couple of live events in India – the first after more than a decade, WWE wanted to unveil the new Indian stars during the tour.
After training at the WWE Performance Center for the major part of a year, Lovepreet and Satender made their much-anticipated debuts in January 2016.
Satender, who was repackaged as Jeet Rama, took on one-half of the American Alpha, Chad Gable in his debut match in New Delhi. On the second day, Rama teamed up with Lovepreet to take on the American Alpha, and the duo managed to secure a victory over their American counterparts.
Satender’s story serves as an inspirational tale for the aspiring professional wrestlers from India.
A unique physical specimen
Standing at a mammoth 6’4” and weighing around 240 pounds, Satender turned quite a few heads during his kushti days. After winning several junior and senior tournaments, Satender eventually moved up to the heavyweight category, where his intimidating presence and his sheer strength worked in his favor.
Satender’s appearance caught the attention of the WWE scouts, who came down to Chandigarh to scout potential talent in the country. Satender was then reportedly taken to Dubai, where he, along with WWE prospects from several other countries was put through rigorous physical exercises for nearly six hours!
After impressing the scouts with his strength and stamina, Satender received a three-year contract with WWE and was asked to start his training at the WWE Performance Center immediately.
Satender, much like Khali will help in popularizing professional wrestling in the country, not just as a means of entertainment, but also as a career option. With his daunting physique and his background in kushti, Satender now has a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a name for himself on the world stage, and emulate The Great Khali in WWE.
Satender had also previously mentioned that his inspiration in the company was none other than The Undertaker, and with WWE taking the initiative of catering to the Indian audience, it might not be long before we see Jeet Rama on our television screens.