Talking to current X-Division Champion Sonjay Dutt is a quite unique experience. As a wrestler and a producer for GFW Impact Wrestling, his vision of the company is as dual than complete. As a pioneer of Impact Wrestling and X-Division, a company he’s been apart of for nearly 15 years, he’s able not only to be the performer but to be the one who help other wrestlers to perform. During a recent X-Division- themed conference call, alongside his mate Low-Ki and his future Destination X opponent Trevor Lee, he revealed the duality of his work for the company and his pride in his Indian roots.
Like Karen Jarrett quoted last week, Sonjay Dutt is contributing on the creative process alongside Scott D’Amore or Dutch Mantel. But being a performer and a creative is not the easiest thing to handle for him. “It’s a tough job juggling with both of them. It’s kind of like time management in separating yourself from your backstage job duties and your on-screen persona. It really is tough, it’s a lot of work. It’s the first time I’ve done it. Like I said, it’s a circle in act and part of the decision to come here was due to the close relationship I have not only with Jeff but with everybody backstage and the challenges and the hope we’ll be rebuilding this thing with fresh ideas, fresh new concepts and talents, and try to get this thing up. It’s no secret we’re in a rebuilding phase and part of it is fresh ideas and concepts and talents in front of the camera.”
Rebuilding the company, and the X-Division, is a challenge Sonjay Dutt is taking straight to his heart. “In the X-Division what we’re trying to do is to show you a completely different style of wrestling, not a gimmick or anything else to see on a show. I think bringing in guys like Laredo Kid, Garza Jr., Marufuji, Ishimori and bringing in international talent like that really sets the X-Division apart from what else is on the show, but also sets itself apart from everything else you see on television wrestling today.”
X-Division is what Sonjay Dutt is wrestling for, but also fighting for in order to make it a unique platform for the company. “I think that myself, Trevor, Caleb Konley, Laredo Kid, Garza Jr., we’re really focused right now on trying to elevate the X-Division. Low-Ki is the perfect example of elevating your style and your performance in X-Division and catapulting yourself up. At Destination X, Low-Ki is getting his Global Championship shot. That’s a great representation of what can happen through your hard work and excelling in X-Division.”
GFW Impact Wrestling was back on the road last weekend, for the first time in 3 years, in New York. In this idea of rebuilding a company, and its relation with the fans, Dutt claims live events are important. “Part of this rebuilding stage is getting out there and getting in front of people that came to see us live and show them ‘look, this is what is going on in the company, not sure what you thought was going on before, but it’s completely different tonight’. It’s completely different today because it’s a complete new cast of characters behind the scenes and in front of the cameras. What we’re trying to do is to build this thing again and let people know that ‘hey that’s a different day” and what better way to do it but to get on the road.”
Dutt won his first-ever X-Division title in his native India last May against Low-Ki. A match, an opponent and a place he’ll never forget. “I think that timing in life is everything. Especially here, with this type of situation. All of the stars kind of aligned, everything kind of put into place and heading into that type of match, title change and whatnot, there was no better opponent than a guy like Low-Ki. The story just told itself – my eye injury and then Low-Ki’s eye getting messed up in India too, so both of us going into the match with these injuries, the whole back-story of me having to win it in India in front of my people… that type of atmosphere, that type of emotion couldn’t have been conveyed anywhere near appropriately. I think we truly did a great job of making it mean something and told a really cool story.”
India seems to be currently the new market to conquer for the wrestling industry. Almost at the same time Dutt won the X-Division belt in India, WWE was crowning Jinder Mahal, another India native, as its World Champion. Coincidence? For Dutt, absolutely not as Impact Wrestling had been coming to India for years when WWE is just teasing the market. “As far as this racing, it was something we as a company tried slowly but surely to do for a while. 2005 was the first time I went to India for this company. In 2012, Jeff, Dutch Mantel and I, we all created this show called Ring Ka King and we shot 26 episodes. It was a first foray for basically anybody associated with any kind of professional wrestling company, shoot content for TV, created stars. We created 14 or 15 Indian stars there that we plucked from obscurity, from different villages, audition them. We made them wrestlers, we made them stars, and that was the first time anyone ever did that. I think it prove to that audience we are the real deal. It’s one thing to boast things but it’s another to go over there shake their hands and perform in front of them and make that connection with them. It’s one thing to have people watching and being tuned with what is going on, but it’s another to make them go out there and spend money on it. That’s the trick that all of us in the industry are gonna have to tackle.”
Dutt may be multitask in GFW, wrestler, backstage producer, India ambassador of wrestling. But on Thursday at Destination X, for sure, he will be focused on one thing, and one thing only, climbing the ladder and reach back the X-Division title Trevor Lee stole away from him. To prove there’s only one X-Division champion and one man allowed to wear the title proudly around his waist.