I had the opportunity to speak with Global Force Wrestling's Sonjay Dutt recently about this weekend's tapings, his role with the company, and what he's looking forward to from the shows. We'll also have part two of the interview up next week, where Dutt talks TNA, Jeff Jarrett and Toby Keith.
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I've been told you're working behind the scenes for Global Force Wrestling. What exactly are you doing and how has that been for you?
"I've been doing a little bit of everything. It's all about teamwork here. There aren't a lot of us, but we're working our butts off trying to make this thing happen. Pro wrestling is all about the talent you see in the ring. That's what's going to differentiate us from anyone else, that's the reason any pro wrestling company is a success. Our talent that we have locked in for Vegas is top notch. We have guys from nine different countries. This is truly what Jeff's vision was, to bring in people all over the world. Doesn't matter who you work for, what style you have, or what you specialize in. This is a place where everything comes together. It's a bunch of styles meshing together as one, and finding hidden gems, talents people don't know that need a showcase what they're all about."
How early were you involved in Global Force?
"I guess since day 1. He was attempting to start something knew after he left TNA in late 2013. We've always been friendly, he's definitely a good friend of mine, even after we got done with Ring Ka King. All of a sudden he leaves TNA and I get a call and he lays the groundwork for what we have now."
Did you also work backstage on Ring Ka King?
"Yeah, I did. I guess my duties now are a little more than what I did then, but even back then they were kind of extensive. It was the first time a North American company was going to venture into an Indian market. Not just to run live events, but we created a show in India, filmed in India, to air in India with authentic Indian wrestlers. That process for me started maybe a year before we went to air. Jeff laid the groundwork, I went over there for a week, and sat through 300 auditions of Indians who may or may not know what pro wrestling even is. We had to make stars out of that. It was challenging but really fulfilling."
Do you think that helped set you up for what you're doing with Global Force?
"Yeah, I think so. It's no secret I'm of Indian descent, I speak the language, I grew up in an Indian household. I'm very connected to the Indian audience through my time on TNA television in India. I think he saw that as a perfect fit, and it kind of was, because culturally there were some dos and donts that he may not have known, or TNA as a company may not have known. Me being from the country and knowing the culture, I think I was a good guideline to run things by. I wanted to learn as much as I could and put my hand in as many things as I could, and I think I proved to Jeff I wasn't an idiot."
What can you tell us about the NEX GEN division? It sounds similar to the X-Division.
"Wrestling has evolved. Not just in the past 10-20 years, but the past five years. The wrestling fan in 2015 wants a totally different product. There's a next generation of wrestling and there's a whole group of guys with that style. It's kind of a hybrid of styles. You have guys who have traveled the world extensively, myself included. We've mixed together all the styles learned through their travels into one style of pro wrestling. We think that is going to be the next generation of what pro wrestling is going to be in North America, so why not give those guys their own platform?"
You all have a lot of working agreements. Are there any plans to integrate those early on?
"Absolutely. At our first TV tapings, we have the IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion KUSHIDA, we have some more coming in August. Steve Payne is coming in from AAA. We're trying to mix in all of the different styles in wrestling to see what happens."
Do you know how many episodes you plan on taping next weekend?
"That's something we're figuring out. That's an ever-changing topic as we figure things out. I don't know about a television deal, Jeff is holding that pretty close to the vest, and how that will affect us."
Is there anybody you want fans to look out for at these tapings?
"It's a mix of guys that may not have had that exposure on a national stage. There's also guys that have had that national stage, but never got to run with the ball. PJ Black, Chris Adonis, who were known as Justin Gabriel and Chris Masters. I'm a big fan of Chris and how he's evolved. We'll see him in Las Vegas and you'll compare him to seeing him years ago. He's not a boy anymore, he's completely changed. Gabriel is similar.
"You have guys like Jigsaw, who people outside of the northeast, might not know who he is. He's been plugging away at his craft, traveling the world, he just needs that stage to show people what he can to. A team like Reno Scum, they're getting their opportunity. Kongo Kong, a big monster from the midwest who can fly around like Jigsaw. It's such a different cast of wrestlers.
"We have Bobby Roode coming in from TNA Wrestling, we have Nick Aldis, who was known as Magnus in TNA coming in too. It's funny how the timing of things worked out. He'd made that decision to come to Global Force weeks before Jeff appeared for TNA, but he's ready to start fresh too. Everybody has a story, and we want to tell that story. Then there's the Bollywood Boys, a team from Canada. They want that shot. Check out our Global Force Youtube, our production team is really cranking things out to get you all to know the talent better."
Do you all know who will be calling the action with Chael Sonnen?
"Right now we've got Sonnen and Cyrus Fees, he's a successful MMA commentator, and a big pro wrestling fan as well. He'll be in Las Vegas."
Where can the fans follow you on social media?
"On Twitter @SonjayDutterson, on Facebook at Sonjay.Dutt, Pro Wrestling Tees as well if you want to support that. Follow GFW on Twitter @GFWrestling. Our production team is blasting out content almost on an hourly basis. GlobalForceWrestling.com as well.