New Delhi: In what could become a major embarrassment to the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar is likely to make a shock career switch by joining World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), following the footsteps of legendary Kurt Angle.
According to a report in HT, the celebrated wrestler is currently in talks with the WWE Network. It claimed that WWE Network's head of talent development, Canyon Ceman will arrive in New Delhi Saturday evening to meet Sushil's agent.
“We are exploring all options for Sushil to get into professional wrestling and are in talks with WWE,” Raman Raheja, whose company Super Sports handles Sushil’s commercial interests, told HT.
It's claimed that Sushil was not happy with the treatment meted to him in the run up to India's selection for 2016 Rio Olympics. The legend was overlooked to send Narsingh Yadav, who earned an Olympic quota.
If at all this arrangement comes to fruition, Sushil can become the second Indian superstar in world's premier sports entertainment, after The Great Khali (Dalip Singh). It was once ruled by Angle, who won a gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics. The American wrestler joined the then World Wrestling Federation (WWF) three years later in a lucrative multi-year contract.
Sportkeeda also reported that the wrestler is keen to turn a pro wrestler as early as by the end of 2017. And there's no brand as big as WWE when it comes to pro wrestling.
WWE has been one of the most followed and watched events in India, and it having a known Indian performer, competing against global names will only enhance the brand image.
Sushil fought a protracted legal battler with Narsingh over India's representation in the men's 74kg freestyle wrestling event at the Rio Games.
The move, if materialised, will shock many. But in reality, But it will be a good move from the former world champion. With age catching up, he will find it hard to wait for another four years to compete, at his best, when Tokyo Olympics happens.
And an alternative arena, with lot bigger elbow room and wider viewership will allow the 33-year-old to keep alive his wrestling legacy.
The fact is, to the majority of Indians, WWE is as real as Olympics. Even today, The Great Khali is relevant as any world champion wrestler.