WWE Champion Drew McIntyre feels India’s massive fanbase is ‘absolutely insane’ | EXCLUSIVE
WWE have also magnified their focus on India and even went ahead with Jinder Mahal as the top champion in the company owing to the popularity of wrestling in India.Updated: May 07, 2020 16:19 IST
‘I heard in India 25 million people watched WrestleMania 36 which is absolutely insane.’
These were WWE Champion Drew McIntyre’s words when he talked about his match at WrestleMania 36. Even though it is not talked about much but WWE has been massively popular in India for the past two decades. The TV viewership for WWE’s flagship programs RAW and SmackDown have been always been on the higher side while the social media interactions on WWE’s official handles is also dominated by Indian fans.
WWE has also magnified their focus on India and even went ahead with Jinder Mahal as the top champion in the company owing to the popularity of wrestling in India.
‘I know how the Indian fans are wild and passionate about the WWE but when I heard that number it just blew my mind,’ said McIntyre in an exclusive conversation with Hindustan Times.
Continental wrestling entertainment, started by the Great Khali, has been at the forefront of that narrative. There are wrestlers coming into the big leagues from India from that specific promotion. But still, that big jump is missing. You have seen the revolution in Britain. How do you think India can popularise professional wrestling and achieve status in that field. As the fan base is there and there is a huge demand for professional wrestling. it is just the nurturing of the talent that needs.
‘I know it is hugely popular from what I have seen. I have known how big it is for a while. I used to travel with the Great Khali and Jinder Mahal, that was my old riding crew. They explained to me just how big wrestling is in India. I have never got to go but I have seen on social media. All the messages I get are from the Indian fans.
‘They basically just say how they enjoy WWE and how they enjoy the work I am doing, which means the world to me. I can’t wait to come over to India. Personally, that would really help the growth. To help it getting bigger, we need to get a big show to India after everything normalises. That’s going to be helpful to be there live and I know Indian fans are going to be loud. It is going to be an awesome night. The Indian fan base is so huge and we are going to keep going strength to strength. I am very excited about the chance to go to India one day.’
Now with McIntyre being the WWE champion, it is a massive statement for British wrestling. How does McIntyre think the landscape might change for British wrestling, which is growing exponentially, with him becoming the WWE champion?
‘Hopefully, it will keep growing. UK fan base is so big, just like India it’s so passionate. Honestly, the fan base is bigger in India. But UK wise, I am excited to get back home with the title because there has never been a WWE Champion from the United Kingdom. It is shocking when you think of William Regal, Wade Barrett, or the British Bulldog.
‘I am pretty excited to hold the title in Britain and show that one of our own finally did it. For me, a PPV of some kind would be great in the UK, we haven’t had a big one since SummerSlam 92. Maybe, one day we can bring something to India like some version of a PPV. Obviously, I don’t know the logistics. But that would be pretty cool. The Great Khali told me when he holds shows over there that a lot of people show up to watch them. A WWE show with a lot of fans would be awesome.’
McIntyre defeated Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 36 to win the title. He will now defend his WWE Championship against Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank. Fans can watch the WWE PPV on the Sony Network.