Raj Singh recounts his WWE tryout experiences and his decision to join IMPACT.
Present day, 18-year veteran Raj Singh is a part of IMPACT Wrestling and paired on-screen with Shera. Raj competed in two matches at the IMPACT television tapings in Las Vegas, Nevada in late October.
Throughout his career, Raj has had several opportunities to partake in tryouts for WWE. He recounted one of those as he was speaking to Jeremy Prophet on ‘JOFO in the RING’. It was suggested to Raj that he should change his gimmick because they already ‘have an Indian guy’, referencing Raj’s real-life cousin, Jinder Mahal.
He switched up his character and was eventually called back by WWE but they wanted the version of Raj that they asked him to change.
You [Jeremy Prophet] and I did the tryout together and then after the tryout at FCW there, they had called me back for another one and I came back for another one now when they were at the P.C. in Orlando and they told me to change my gimmick. They’re like, you know, ‘We have an Indian guy here,’ which obviously they were referencing Jinder [Mahal] and they’re like, you know, ‘Unless you guys are gonna be a team, we might wanna’ yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah. ‘Show us you can flex some muscle and do something else.’ So I completely came up with a different persona which that’s when you and I worked a singles. I was doing that persona, which was like a Caribbean salsa dancer.
Looking like Pitbull on stage there… I would hope so [I looked better than Pitbull] and taller too and then next thing you know, I get a phone call. Again, they’re like, ‘Okay, well we like your stuff. Can you come on down to the P.C. for a tryout?’ Another one and it just happened to be, they call me, they’re like, ‘Hey! Do you have your turban?’ [Singh laughed] I was like, yes I do you idiots. They tell me not do the Indian gimmick, I come back something totally different and they said, ‘Hey, grow a beard out and bring your Turban’ and then they started asking what languages I speak so I told them I speak Punjabi and they said, ‘Forget the Spanish thing. Let’s roll with this’ and it was a little game of like, we like you, but hold on. Hurry up and wait I was calling it.
There came a point in Singh’s career when he had looks from both IMPACT Wrestling and WWE at the same time. He decided that IMPACT was the spot for him and explained that it was because of their desire to have him there. He said that spoke volumes.
Next thing you know, as the phone calls are coming in back and forth [between IMPACT Wrestling & WWE], I had worked in front of Scott D’Amore in Ontario probably three months prior and then I get a phone call and it’s Don Callis and then he’s asking if I’d be interested in coming over to IMPACT and of course, you have to say ‘yes’ because TNA and IMPACT are one of the companies we grew up watching our whole life so of course you wanna be a part of that. But now, when it rains, it pours. Nobody’s called me for the last seven, eight years and now I’m getting a call from both companies at the same time. So I went back and forth and you know, I’m not trying to sound like a cool guy or say I was leveraging anything but I literally was like, hmm, what do I do? I’ve been in the business for X amount of time, I’ve been trying to make it for a while. My cousin’s been here already for like seven, eight years at the time and I was like, you know, IMPACT was… the desire that IMPACT showed to having me on the roster spoke volumes and people are always like, aww, the glitz and glamor of WWE. I was like, you know what? You gotta be respected in order to enjoy it as well and WWE was playing a game of let’s do this, let’s do that, hurry up and wait. IMPACT was like, let’s get the ball rolling. Let’s rock, and that was more or less how it happened. Lightning in a bottle I guess. I started to just travel a little bit, got booked in Toronto and then Scott just happened to be there that day.
Coming up for IMPACT is their ‘Over Drive’ event on November 18th. Below is the updated match card for the event:
- IMPACT World Championship: Josh Alexander (c) vs. Frankie Kazarian
- Vacant IMPACT X Division Championship Tournament Final: ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey or Trey Miguel vs. P.J. Black or Black Taurus
- IMPACT World Tag Team Championships: Heath & Rhino (c) vs. The Major Players (Matt Cardona & Brian Myers)
- Knockouts World Tag Team Championships: Taya Valkyrie & Jessicka (c) (w/ Rosemary) vs. Tasha Steelz & Savannah Evans
- Bully Ray vs. Moose
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit JOFO in the RING with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.