A wrestler, presumed to be from Ontario, was jailed after a one week tour of India by 16 wrestlers, mainly from Canada, disintegrated in controversy and a near riot as the organizers announced that it was cancelled during the initial press conference.
According to the Times of India, Tiger Jeet Singh’s Universal Wrestling Stars Inc., a Canadian wrestling company, was scheduled to do an “India vs. Rest of the World - War of Legends” tour in Patiala, Ludhiana and Jalandhar. The shows were cancelled after organizers failed to obtain permission from the Indian security agencies and the sports department. In addition, they were asked to pay a 125% tax on the tickets sold.
During the press conference, held Thursday, October 25th, the wrestlers expressed their anger at coming all the way to India only for the tour to be cancelled. The most angry was the “Russian” Nikita who flipped a table in the general direction of the press, called them “ugly Indian cheats” (which was described as a “racial epithet” by the local press) and challenged any Indian to wrestle him, saying “I am here to kill you.” He was subsequently arrested and his passport was seized.
In reality, the “Russian” is almost certainly Ontario wrestler Alexander the Great aka Jason X, travelling with Ontario promoter, trainer and wrestler Ron Hutchison. Various Ontario wrestling insiders confirm that it was him, based on videos of the press conference and posters of the tour.
Needless to say, the Indian press accepts that Nikita is Russian, and some have even speculated that the incident will affect relations with Russia. From a Tribune opinion article by Shastri Ramachandaran (hopefully with tongue firmly wedged in cheek), “It is a relief that the organisers will be around to put up a fight another day, and leave the country to now proceed with a policy debate on what the fracas means for India-Russian relations. Was this simply a tactical blunder or is it a strategic failure with long-term consequences for India, Russia and all those smaller countries in between? Is it in anticipation of this clash that top Russian politicos gave a wide berth to Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Defence Minister A K Antony when they were in Moscow recently?”
Also on the tour were high profile wrestling stars Sonjay Dutt, Jerry Lynn and Steve Corino.
Four joshi (women wrestlers) from Quebec and Ontario were also scheduled to appear: Kacey Diamond, the first champion of ALF (Association de Lutte Feminin) the only monthly joshi promotion in Canada; Josianne the Pussycat, a veteran of Carmen Elektra’s Naked Women Wrestling League; respected veteran Misty Haven, wife of Ontario’s Michael Von Payton; and Portia Perez.
Former International Wrestling Syndicate Canadian Champion, Dan Paysan was also booked on the tour, scheduled to feud with Sonjay Dutt as the masked “Mr. India.”
All of the wrestlers are staying at the Hotel Park Plaza in Ludhiana, waiting for their previously scheduled return. In other words, despite the tour being cancelled, the wrestlers are in India for the duration of what would have been the tour.
Credit: Michael Ryan, "IWS Newsletter," posted on Mempho Board