The Bollywood Boyz, Harv Sihra and Gurv Sihra, sat down with Wrestling Inc’s own Raj Giri to talk about their five year run in WWE. Both Harv and Gurv were initially brought in as part of WWE’s Cruiserweight Championship, which they described as a tryout that ultimately led to them getting a job after they impressed with their performances.
“Even at that time, we were the only tag team I believe that were participants in that tournament,” Gurv said. “For us it was like ‘okay, maybe this is our quote, unquote tryout or dark match or whatever you want to call it.’ And I remember having that talk with one of the higher ups who did say ‘go ahead and show Hunter what you can do in the ring. And we’ll take it from there.’ Was that it? At that point we were like ‘yeah, this might be the only opportunity we get in a WWE ring.’
“I remember the mindset going in was ‘I don’t care if I get signed,'” Harv said. “It’s like you play in the NHL once. ‘Wow, I did it.’ At that time we had obviously spent a decade on the indies and didn’t think it was really going to happen. We were like ‘we’ll get to wrestle in a WWE ring. I don’t know if it’s ever going to happen again, but it’s like cool to tell your children some day. Hey I had the jersey on. I wrestled in a WWE ring. I got footage.’ You could tell them my journey in wrestling paid off. I made it, I made it to the WWE. But we kept being brought back. We got eliminated in the first round, but then we got brought back for the second round, third round. We kept doing dark matches and then we did something on NXT. For us it was like ‘okay, I think we stood out. We’re special, we’re unique.’ We came in like four or five times and we felt eventually like we were going to get it. They wanted to keep bringing us in. But then I think, somehow 205 Live the idea came in, and a bunch of us got signed. But yeah. We felt very confident after the first one.”
The duo worked between 205 Live and NXT until of April of 2017, when they were paired with Jinder Mahal on Smackdown. The idea for this pairing was first broached to them by one of Triple H’s right hand men.
“Road Dogg,” Harv said. “He was the writer on Smackdown and he talked to us after the show so I’m assuming he came up with it. But he was the one that sat us down and said ‘This is where we’re going and it’s a huge opportunity. It was very similar to what I did with Jeff as the Roadie.’ As soon as that clicked in our minds it was like, you look back and I don’t know how are careers had gone if we didn’t do it, but you look back and it was a huge opportunity.”
“Just to add context to that, after the very first show of 205 Live we went back to NXT down at the Performance Center ,” Girv said. “So that call to come back to TV’s on that Tuesday were very random for us. We thought we were going back to 205 Live. But we showed up to Louisville, Kentucky that night and they’re like ‘oh we’re going to pair you guys. You guys are going to come out to the ring during this match and you guys are going to be off the races with Jinder’, which we thought was going to be a four week run until Backlash. But going back to what my brother was saying, I know Road Dogg pulled us aside and said ‘we don’t know how big this is going to be pretty big for everyone involved, especially for India.’ It got bigger and bigger. I think from what I recall it was supposed to be a one off and it was supposed to lead to Backlash. I’m assuming we impressed the higher ups enough where they were like ‘no we got to keep these kids in.'”
The call up happened so quickly that it occasionally led to the brothers having to search for clothes while traveling. As such, they compared it to the old school way of calling talent up, as opposed to one with a ton of hype around it.
“I consider our call up very old school. Whereas like it wasn’t like ‘okay you guys are going to get drafted to Smackdown and we’re going to put a hype video behind you guys, right?’ It wasn’t anything like that. It was more ‘come up to TV’s.’ ‘What are we doing?’ ‘Okay, this is what you’re doing.’ And literally it was like week to week, day by day, ‘okay, get in the rental car and you guys are going to go to the next set of live events in, like, California.’ That’s all we were getting.”
“Everything was happening,” Harv said. “We got booked on a Europe tour on last minute. We’re in England, we have no clothes. We just came in for one show with Jinder. And then like ‘hey, you guys are on the Europe tour.’ We had no clothes. So we literally had to catch a flight to Germany that night from UK to Germany. We landed in Germany and we literally, me and Gurv, we bought clothes. Two weeks worth of clothes.”
It didn’t take either Harv or Gurv long to realize that their spot was to be Jinder’s sidekicks, more there to take bumps than to wrestle or cut promos. Upon that, Harv realized that taking big bumps would be what helped them get over.
“As the weeks went on we realized we knew our spot,” Harv said. “This was about Jinder and he was going to get that championship and it was his spot. And we were the side act. So we knew we weren’t going to be wrestling and doing a lot of stuff, so we had to get over with our bumps. And that’s what Shawn Michaels told us. Like ‘this is the characters you’ve been given, that’s part of being in WWE, you have to play different characters. But if you get one bump, make sure that one bump gets replayed over and over again.’ And that’s kind of what happened to us. Because we knew, we had to get over just from our bumps because that’s what we were there for. Just to bump around.”
Despite this, The Bollywood Boyz remained under an NXT deal their first few months on the main roster. That after a certain big match between Jinder and Randy Orton occurred.
“It was after the Punjabi Prison match actually,” Harv said of when the contracts switched. “They saw that big bump and you know.”
“We got pulled in and we were told ‘hey, we’re switching your NXT contracts to main roster contracts,'” Gurv said. “I think that was like two and a half, three months later. As Harv was just saying, it was right after the Punjabi Prison there, so that must’ve been the badge of honor.”
“I got a bonus for that bump,” Harv said. “I remember Mike Chioda was checking up on me, and he was ribbing me and he was like ‘oh, you’re going to get a bonus for that.’ I’m like ‘whoa, what’s going on here?'”
“No matter how many bumps you take, the pay is the same,” Gurv joked.
When asked about working with Jinder Mahal, both Gurv and Harv had nothing but good things to say. They credited the former WWE Champion for taking them under their wing and giving them great advice, as well as treating them as if they were on equal footing, despite Jinder’s main event status.
“Great,” Gurv said. “Everything was on the job, learning and training. When we started riding up and down the highways with him, he was teaching us. Because he had already come once, left, come back and was now back in the game. So he was teaching us the ins and outs of locker room etiquette. ‘Here’s the gym, here’s the hotel.’ Just a brother teaching us the ways. It was cool because, even on our first European trip, you don’t know everything. You don’t know like the veterans sit in the back or like, whatever it is. He was very like hands on as far as teaching us. But we learned so much from him. The coolest thing about not only Jinder’s program with Randy but when he worked with Cena and AJ, we were like sponges in those dressing rooms when they’d be putting together matches for the program. Knowing why they’re doing what and the thought of the match and learning on the fly. Stuff you can’t learn in a classroom setting.”
“He was very good to us,” Harv added. “I remember when he became WWE Champion he was like ‘hey guys, we are the WWE Champions.’ That was like ‘you didn’t need to say it.’ He’s the guy going out there, having fifteen, twenty minute matches on the live events while we come in for the bumps. But for him to say that made us feel like ‘okay, we’re a part of this.’ And he was very good to us and he didn’t really need to be sometimes. Obviously we had known him prior to WWE when we were coming up through the independents. But yeah, very good to us, very kind to us. And it was a good run. It was good for what it was. And going back to kind of talking about, we don’t know where our careers would’ve gone if we stayed in NXT. Maybe there would’ve been more budget cuts, who knows at that time? The fact that we came up like this, earned our merit like this with the boys. We had a good, fruitful five year run for something we didn’t think was going to last very long.”
Eventually Gurv and Harv split with Jinder, returning to 205 Live and NXT before their release from WWE. Jinder meanwhile has formed a new stable on WWE’s RAW brand, consisting of Veer and Shanky. Both Bollywood Boyz stated they were happy to be back doing what they were doing when Jinder’s new group were formed and wish the trio nothing but success.
“We were on 205 Live doing our thing at that point,” Harv said. “We were just happy with what we were doing. We were loving what we were doing 205 this last one year and it kind of wasn’t on our radar. I’m sure it wasn’t on their radar. Again it was kind of done. Like how many times can you keep going back? I don’t think it would’ve had the same affect.”
“I’m happy for Veer and Shanky,” Gurv said. “Those kids are exciting. They’re getting a huge opportunity to be in the limelight now and find a mainstream audience. So good for them, I hope they do well and succeed.”
You can watch the full interview below.