Below is the second final part of my interview with The Singh Bros., who discussed their journey to WWE, working on the main roster and more. Click here for the first part of the interview, where the Singhs discussed Jinder Mahal's match with Brock Lesnar at The Survivor Series falling through, being paired with Jinder, if they have input into their characters and more.
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Training under Rip Rogers and Harley Race, and how the initial years were for both of them:
Sunil: "Actually, we both… our original start was with the Hart family in Calgary. So it started with the Harts in the Dungeon, and then picked up as many training camps as possible, with Harley Race, Rip Rogers, and sometimes you can't learn just by taking body slams and arm drags. You have to learn it from the top guys, and Rip Rogers and Harley Race - especially Harley, a former world champion was able to teach us a lot of ring psychology."
Samir: "A lot of things we did was… I remember, Edge released a book in 2004. I was in Grade 11 at that time. Being a Canadian, I was like, 'If I have to emulate anybody's career, it should be his, because he was a Canadian independent wrestler.' So I literally wrote down every tour that he did in Canada, and then when me and my brother started wrestling, we emulated that. So one of the big ones was Tony Condello's 'Hell Tours', and we talked about this before. You drive on frozen lakes, and you try to go to these remote regions in Canada, and the only way you can get there during winter times is when the lakes freeze over. You have to pack your food for two weeks, and it's just brutal conditions. They call it the 'Hell tour', and they call it for a reason, because it's absolute hell. And one of the longest drives we had to do was 74 hours, just to get to a wrestling show. So you're in your car for 4 days, just to get to a wrestling show. But that's just how we learnt - getting in your car, and going to these small towns in Canada.'
Sunil: "Because the thing is, where we're from, there weren't many opportunities, and you need to go out of sight to create opportunities. We were just looking at people that succeeded where we were from, and how they got to the WWE, and, like my brother said, Edge, Christian, Chris Jericho… all these guys had done tours. So we're like, 'Okay, they did these tours, and if we did those tours, we may possibly get there as well.'"
Samir: "Another cool story is, in 2007 or 2008; WWE never really comes out to the west coast of Canada. They come to Toronto a lot, so, we were like, 'Okay, we were not booked'. But we actually flew all the way to Toronto, and we lied to security, snuck in backstage, and we started handing out our packages to writers and producers backstage. Just trying to get a job, and that's how we actually bumped into Chris Jericho, and he thought it was just the greatest thing ever. That these two Canadian kids were trying to make it in WWE, and he gave us his contact information, he stayed in touch, watched our matches over the years. We just did his podcast recently, and we were just talking about how it all comes full circle, so it's pretty cool."
If they were looking at the likes of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in 2004 while they were working on the independents in the United States:
Samir: "I think they had a little different career path than us. They broke out into the United States a lot earlier than us. We kind of most predominantly stayed in Canada. My brother went to Japan, I wrestled in England, but Canada was where we had our bread and butter, and that's kind of where we got noticed."
Sunil: "We were lucky to do some work in India before we got here. That was cool, it put us on the map. And then doing stuff in Japan. So, yeah, definitely different career path for everybody."
Samir: "And then we all end up in the same place, right?"
About the Hart Dungeon:
Sunil: "Unfortunately, I never got stretched by Stu because unfortunately, he had passed by then. So I got hands on training with Ross Hart and Bruce Hart. There was no Bret unfortunately either, but at the time I moved out, they were just moving out of the house, because the house had been sold. So, I was able to; I'm just blessed enough to be on the same canvas as Jake Roberts, Bret Hart, Dynamite Kid, British Bulldog and all these amazing guys - everyday that had been on that mat."
Samir: "Superstar Billy Graham!"
Sunil: "Yeah, you name it! The who's who down in that Dungeon. So, just to be down there was a blessing in itself."
Samir: "It's cool to have the 'Sihra' Singh name attached."
Working in the dojos, and how it was as gaijins:
Sunil: "Actually, I went on a world trial basis. This was when there was a promotion that was just started by Tajiri, and it was basically on a world trial basis. So, I never went through that system (gaijins and dojos), but just to be in Japan, and be able to wrestle one of the top guys of all time from Japan, Akira Nogami - that was pretty cool, having that spotlight with him."
Samir: "Speaking of respect, that even comes into WWE, when you're in the locker room. You need to get the respect of guys like The Usos, and the locker room leaders in the WWE. So it's transitional, no matter where you go in the world. You can't just show up, and expect anything to be handed to you."
Sunil: "You start from the bottom, no matter where you go. You could be the 'top guy' in the indies, but once you leave the indies for another promotion, you got to start from the bottom - up. So, as my bother was saying, building that trust, building that respect factor, and getting that respect, and giving it back is a lot."
Samir: "The SmackDown locker room has been awesome."
Their initial thoughts when WWE approached them with the idea for CWC:
Samir: "Man! At that time, we were both wondering 'what do we do?' Because we were both getting older, and we've been trying to get the job for years. And I think, we you get to the lowest point, that's when God just opens up a door."
Sunil: "We never lost hope. We always knew we'd get here. We just needed to focus, and I've always been told, 'You'll get the call when you least expect it', and that's exactly what happened. You wake up one Wednesday morning - or whatever day it was, and you get the invite for CWC, and you're like, 'Yup! We'll be there no matter what.' It was a long four months to get there, because the initial call came in early 2016, and we had to wait till June because of all the legal paper work."
Samir: "I thought it was a gem of an idea. I don't think WWE knew at that point that it would turn into its own brand, so it was very cool. That we were a part of something that launched a brand. It was just a show, the Cruiserweight Classic. But it did so well, that 205 Live is now a brand of its own, and in January, it starts touring for its own live events. So it was cool to be a part of history like that. And we were representing India on the CWC."
Sunil: "We knew when the CWC call came that this was our moment, that this was our time. That we're going to get jobs with WWE, and we've got to impress the higher ups, and we've got to not only compete in the Cruiserweight Classic, but also get full time jobs, and not just get full time jobs, but to get to NXT. And not just getting to NXT, but then get to the main roster. So all of this happened in a year and a half, it's just unbelievable."
Samir: "Just to add to that, the cool thing about the Cruiserweight Classic was we went to Triple H and told him we really want to be here, and Triple H was the one that gave us the jobs in WWE. He was the one that gave us the contracts to come to WWE. And on December 10th, Jinder Mahal in India faced Triple H. It's one of those cool stories that, you just can't make this stuff up."
Sunil's degree in criminology and Samir's degree in history, and why they got into wrestling:
Sunil: "That's funny because, as we were doing… as we were pursuing this dream, the biggest thing we were told was, make sure you have a backup plan. Because you never know! I remember meeting Jim Ross once at a convention. And I was like, 'Mr. Ross, what's the best advice you can give me?' It had nothing to do with wrestling. He was like, 'Make sure you have a Plan B!' I was like, 'Okay!' (laughs) Whatever that means.
"In all seriousness, looking back now, definitely that was the deal I had with my parents. If I had to get into this business, make sure you have a backup plan. Because not everyone succeeds and makes it where they want to hopefully get. Criminology was my Plan B."
Samir: "It's just two kids trying to make it out there. College and education gives you life experiences. Gives you the ability to interact with people, and gets you to talk about life besides wrestling and besides sports. You get to interact with other human beings. When we say it's good to have an education, we mean that. Yes, if you want to be an actor or fighter - whatever, but educational side will give you the tools in life you will eventually use. "
Click here for the first part of the interview, where the Singhs discussed Jinder Mahal's match with Brock Lesnar at The Survivor Series falling through, being paired with Jinder, if they have input into their characters and more.