New Delhi: Double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar and other star grapplers gave their stamp of approval as wrestling on Monday joined the league bandwagon with WFI and Pro-Sportify announcing the launch of Pro Wrestling League (PWL) at a glittering show here.
After the unprecedented success of cricket, hockey, football, tennis and kabaddi leagues, wrestling is also set to get a makeover. Well-known rapper Apache Indian launched the theme song of the league as the grapplers, flanked by models, walked the ramp.
The likes of Sushil, Yogeshwar Dutt, Geeta Phogat, Babita would now be seen competing against some of the best wrestlers of the world on the Indian soil at the PWL, which is slated to be held between November 8 and 29 across six cities.
"Pro Wrestling League is going to be very good for the Indian wrestlers as we would get a lot of exposure while competing and playing alongside top grapplers of the world. We always talk about getting exposure and through this event we would get it sitting in our own country," said Sushil.
"The fact that we would be able to fight some of the best in the world before the Rio Olympics next year, will be an added bonus for us," said India's lone double Olympic medallist.
There would be six city-based teams with the world's top 66 wrestlers. Each team will consist of 11 players -- six male and five female. Per team will have six Indians and five foreigners.
Out of five foreign players, four can be part of a tie. The league will be played on the best of nine format but all the bouts would be contested during the league phase. Each bout will have three rounds of three minutes each, separated by a one-minute break.
Every team will play others at least once over the 21-day event, in which 15 league games, two semifinals and the final will take place. The base price for each team is set at Rs 3 crore and the six franchises would be finalised by September 7, while the host broadcaster would be decided by August 30.
The players' auction is slated for September 15. The organisers are looking to have three teams from northern India and one each belonging to eastern, southern and western regions of the country.
"Around 20 top wrestlers of the world have already signed up for the league, which includes eight world champions. September 1 is the deadline to take on board all wrestlers before the auction take place on September 15," said Director, Pro Sportify, Kartikey Sharma.