Satnam Singh Talks NBA To AEW Transition, Dream To Have AEW PPV In India, Comparisons With Great Khali, & More (EXCLUSIVE)


Former NBA player and current AEW superstar Satnam Singh the first Indian-born wrestler of the promotion is making is certainly making his country proud. After having a great run in the NBA with Dallas Mavericks, Satnam decided to explore the avenue of pro wrestling. He signed with AEW in 2021 and made his debut last year. He also has a Netflix documentary, ‘One in a Billion,’ released in 2017 that captures his life and more.

I had the privilege to speak with Satnam Singh about some interesting topics which you can read in the next section.

Could you talk us through how did transition from NBA to AEW happened?

Satnam: Actually, it had been in my mind to get into pro wrestling. It was my second option after basketball. So, in 2017 or 18, I decided maybe after basketball, whenever I see like, ‘okay, I’m done with basketball. I’m ready to go anywhere I want.’ So, then I talked to my manager, then he told me, ‘okay, let’s talk to the wrestling companies.’ So, then we reached out to AEW in 2021.

Several athletes from other sports have started to enter pro wrestling world recently, how do you view this from your own experience and how does it help?

Satnam: That’s really different than basketball because I played basketball for 18, 19 years, like all my life, you know, and it’s really hard for me to take that decision to move from basketball to wrestling. It took me at least two to three years to figure out, to understand the situation, and make myself strong. When you do an 18-year job with basketball and you put your hard work, your dedication and you make history with India and then you have a documentary, you know, and you’re the first Indian basketball player from India and drafted to NBA. So those are the things I kept in my mind. So, I was thinking, ‘okay, that’s good thing. You did really good job. You did everything maybe nobody did like last 75 years. Nobody did that, but you did it. That’s good.’ Then I decided to make another, story, like another opportunity and another.. you know, to do something for my country, to be the first ever Indian wrestler in AEW.

We know that India holds a huge market for pro wrestling, why are the Indian wrestlers emerging into the US scene and not staying in India? 

Satnam: Many wrestlers from India come to the USA because of real jobs in wrestling. It’s actually in the USA because we have two big companies in America. Like NBA is the top promotion for basketball. And then, pro wrestling is a profession in America. AEW is a big company and it’s good for all the Indian wrestlers. If they come to USA, then they can figure out something for the trial. If they are really good, of course, any company can take them. They have more opportunities here, but I would say if Indian wrestlers want to stay in India and they want to do wrestling, then we have to figure out something like someone has to start a company. Like Tony Khan. What he did, someone had to do the same thing in India. Then we can have opportunities in India. Like how Cricket is in India. One day wrestling will be that big in India. 

What is your advice for aspiring wrestlers from India who want to enter the top wrestling promotions across the world, especially AEW?

Satnam: I would say if you want to do something in your life, I would say just keep working hard and put your hard work in the ring and keep doing it. Listen to coaches, listen to yourself, watch the videos. You need to have real focus on your goals, wherever you go, just focus on that and follow that goal. Whenever you feel like, ‘okay, yes, now it’s my time to come, I’ve achieved my goal.’ That’s your time. 

AEW had massive success with All In London this year and next year will certainly get bigger. Do you think a similar event in India would be a good idea given the huge fanbase?

Satnam: Actually, that’s my dream. This is my dream that one day, AEW comes to India and we have 90,000 plus people come to India and watch the show. That’d be amazing. It’s good for AEW, good for the wrestlers and the Indian wrestlers can see how much we need to work hard for this opportunity. So I would say one day in the future.. I can say right now, in the future for sure, AEW will come to India and we will do the same big event like in London. So that’s my dream.

I’m sure you get comparisons with The Great Khali. What do you make of it and What were your thoughts on him when you finally got to meet him?

Satnam: I met him I think 2017, so I saw him, I met him in New Delhi, so he just came
and we were talking about each other and he, I told him ‘I’m so proud of you and you
did great job for India and you make all these Indian wrestlers proud. So thank you for being whatever you give us.’ He’s really nice guy, down to earth person. So I really respect him for this. The person is just really good. A lot of people compare me with him because I’m really tall, like I’m very huge. And he’s also tall, but I am more athletic because I run. Every time people see me they go ‘oh, this guy can run, he can do whatever you want him to do, he can do a crossbody.’  But the Great Khali, there’s only one problem. I’m not going to say it’s bad, but it’s good and bad both. He’s slow, his lower body is not strong, but I have my lower body, like really strong.  So that’s the only plus point I have. 

Any message for the Indian fans?

Satnam: Yeah for sure. I just want to tell everyone to focus on your goals and keep working hard every single day. It’s not because you are a wrestler. But you play basketball, tennis, any sports. Follow your sports and keep doing your study and focus on your goals, whatever you want to do in your life. That’s the more important. So keep doing all those things. That’s my message.

If you use any quotes from the article please credit Sports India Show with an H/t for transcription

Fans can catch AEW Collision on Sunday, 03rd December and AEW Dynamite on Thursday, 7th December, 2023 LIVE on EUROSPORT and EUROSPORT HD. Both the shows air from 06:30 am IST. The Eurosport channel can now be streamed on the discovery+ app.