WWE holds its first tryout in India

WWE holds its first tryout in India

Talent scouts and WWE Performance Center officials are in Mumbai this week searching for the next Superstar at WWE’s first-ever tryout in India. Featuring more than 70 prospects from throughout the country, the camp is the biggest tryout in WWE history.

WWE narrowed down the field of prospects from hundreds of applicants who answered the casting calls, hosted by officials in January.

Tryout attendees’ athletic backgrounds run the spectrum. Some contenders come from the region’s growing independent wrestling scene, highlighted by promotions like Continental Wrestling Entertainment (The Great Khali’s organization), Wrestle Square and Rising Wrestling Entertainment. Others boast bona fides in powerlifting, bodybuilding and shotput. Team sports like kabaddi, cricket and rugby are represented, as are combat sports, including kushti (a traditional form of mud wrestling), wushu, jiu-jitsu and boxing. 

Among those competing at this week’s tryout are:

  • Sunil Kumar, a 7-foot-6, 330-pounder from Jammu who is known locally as “The World’s Tallest Wrestler,” The Great Angaar.
  • Ali Akbar, a 6-foot-5, 310-pound professional bodybuilder from Dera Bassi. Akbar, who won the title of Mr. India in 2013, also participated in WWE’s 2017 Dubai tryout and has trained under The Great Khali.
  • 25-year-old Rajpal Phelwan, a 6-foot-8, 286-pound amateur grappler from Surah who has captured numerous championships
  • Obstacle-course racer and MMA fighter Sanjana George from Bangalore. She holds a 5-1 fighting record.
  • Decorated freestyle wrestler Pawan Kumar, a 25-year-old who has won multiple gold medals in the Commonwealth Games and is a five-time national champion. 
WWE holds its first tryout in India
  • 22-year-old powerlifter and wrestler Rimee Sharma. Sharma reached the podium in weightlifting competitions in Thailand and Sri Lanka, and she participated in last year’s Women’s Wrestling National Championship in Gonda.
  • International physique athlete Shweta Rathore from Mumbai. In 2014, Rathore became the first woman from India to claim the Miss World Fitness Physique title.
  • Ankur Baliyan, a 23-year-old wrestler from India who resides in Tokyo and competes for several Asian promotions, including the DDT organization in Japan.
  • 22-year-old powerlifting sensation Navneet Bhati. The 216-pounder, who deadlifted nearly 700 pounds in competition in 2018, has been training in wrestling for six months.
  • Great Khali protégés Gurvinder “Shanky” Singh and Sukhwinder Grewar, who stand 7 feet and 7-foot-2, respectively. Singh and Grewar both attended WWE’s Dubai tryout in 2017.
  • 23-year-old Yogesh Jadhav, an actor and undefeated MMA fighter who stands 6-foot-10.
  • Devvrat Chaudhary, 28, a former wrestling champion and soap opera actor. The 6-foot-4, 271-pound Chaudnary has earned numerous grappling medals, including gold in the 2016 All India Inter-University Championship.
  • Nawanshahr’s Bikram Singh, a 6-foot-4, 270-pounder who has won strongman titles throughout India.

Overseeing the camp in Mumbai is WWE Performance Center Head Coach Matt Bloom, with assistance from coaches Robbie Brookside, Sarah Stock and Hartley Jackson; referee Darryl Sharma; as well as NXT and NXT UK Superstars Kavita Devi, Saurav Gurjar, Rinku Singh, Jeet Rama and Jinny. The first day of camp also included a visit by The New Day's Kofi Kingston, Big E & Xavier Woods.

The event builds upon WWE’s continued efforts to recruit internationally. In the last year alone, WWE has held tryouts for the first time in Jeddah, Cologne and Santiago. For more information on WWE’s talent development program, including how to apply for a tryout, visit WWEPerformanceCenter.com today.

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