KARACHI: Some 25 international players, including former WWE stars, will make Pakistan their stomping grounds in May when they visit three major cities in the country, it was announced on Tuesday.
The international wrestlers will take part in the grand wrestling events in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad organised by the Pro Wrestling Entertainment (PWE).
In a video footage, aired at the pre-launch ceremony, wrestlers expressed their enthusiasm for performing in Pakistan.
France-based wrestler of Pakistani origin, Badshah Khan, Tiny Iron, Yacine Osmani and wrestling legend in Europe, Flesh Gordon, along with PWE CEO Syed Asim Ali Shah and the team were present on the occasion.
“We want to show that Pakistanis can also do it. There is a demand and fan base for pro-wrestling in Pakistan… we are bringing professional wrestling to Pakistan now,” said Khan.
He explained that the promotion will arrange three shows, with the first one in May where international wrestlers will perform. “And then, we plan to start an academy to train potential Pakistani wrestlers. Rest assured, whatever we do, we will do it in style.”
Iron said he already felt he was part of the Pakistani community. “Thank you for welcoming me with open arms. Forget the news and all the talk in the media. Pakistan is definitely one of the most beautiful countries in the world,” he said.
Gordon said he had “promoted professional wrestling in Europe for 40 years and now, it’s a pleasure to bring this international art form to Pakistan”.
The performances, according to Khan, were not just for the rich. “Everyone, rich or poor, young or old, can enjoy it and we will make sure it does. We will give out 10% of the tickets to the audience for free,” he said.
FCCPI chairman Ishtiaq Baig, who was also present, spoke about Tanzilur Rehman, the 17-year-old boy suffering from muscular dystrophy, who met WWE superstar John Cena last year.
“When Rehman told Cena he was an inspiration to a lot of kids in Pakistan, Cena told him he would someday visit the country to meet his fans. So, we extend all our support and hope the WWE superstar would visit in May.”
Pro-wrestling is a combat sport that’s popular all around the world. Even Pakistan has a large fan base enamoured with interest and viewership to watch wrestling, especially WWE. As it is mostly focused on sports such as cricket, hockey and football, wrestling almost always gets lost in the shuffle. Pakistanis have so far only watched the spectacle through their television and laptop screens.