After international wrestling promotions like WWE and TNA, it's now time for India's very own Ring Ka King! The new wrestling-based reality show is set to hit desi telly, and its goodwill ambassador, cricketer Harbhajan Singh, hopes the show will help in popularising the sport among the urban youth.
"I am very excited to be part of this show as it will promote a rather rural sport like wrestling in India. I won't be judging or participating in the show but I will be encouraging the wrestlers like the audience," said Singh. "I was skeptical about playing cricket on a professional level but thanks to all the encouragement, I went ahead and made it possible. I wish the same happens to the Indian youth, who are planning to become professional wrestlers. This show is likely to bring up wrestling as a popular sport," he added.
The show, to be launched on Colors Jan 28, will see 30 international and Indian wrestlers fighting it out in the ring to become the 'king'. The list of wrestlers includes names like Jeff Jarrett, Matt Morgan, Scott Stiner and Monster Abyss, as well as Indian wrestlers with international level training, like Jwala, Mahabali Veera, Romeo Rapta, Zoravar and Deadly Danda.
Wrestling has been more confined to the traditional 'akhaada' in the country, but that will not take a toll on the viewership of Ring Ka King, says Raj Nayak, CEO, Colors.
"Until a few years ago, Formula One was a lesser known sport in India but thanks to all the sponsorship it received, a lot of people took interest in it. We are hoping we will get the same response for wrestling too," Nayak told IANS.
They have big plans to market the show, for which the title sponsor is Tata Primus.
"We are planning to have a line-up of many more advertisers for the show and will promote it through billboards across 70 cities in the country. We hope this show will get a tremendous opening which will translate into good TRPs," said Nayak.
Ring Ka King will be spread over 13 weeks and will end just before the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches begin.
In the first four weeks of the show, viewers will see exciting matches that will crown a heavyweight champion and a tag team champion. During the subsequent weeks, the champions will have to save their title and fight against the other contenders, who will come their way and throw open challenges to claim their belt.
The show has been produced by Endemol, that has created shows like Indian Idol, Bigg Boss and Fear Factor - Khatron Ke Khiladi.
Ring Ka King is inspired by Total Nonstop Action (TNA), but Deepak Dhar, managing director, Endemol India, says they have Indianised it to cater to desi viewers. "We have pushed the boundaries with this new style. For Indian television, we have not changed the format much but have built on the existing format. It will capture the interest of the Indian audience," said Dhar.