They embarked on a journey though they were told it was a lofty destination that they would never reach. A decade after they began, the Sihra brothers arrived in the WWE as participants in the first ever Cruiserweight Classic.
Gurv and Harv Sihra grew up in Burnaby, British Columbia, active in hockey and other sports like many of their classmates. Their parents, first-generation immigrants from India, arrived on Canada’s Pacific Coast with little more than the shirts on their backs and the promise of a better life for themselves and their children to come. In their childhood, the brothers were drawn to professional wrestling and attended their first live event when the WWE hosted a pay per view event in Vancouver in July 1996. That ticket changed their lives and from that moment forward, they declared their ambition to wrestle for World Wrestling Entertainment.
Older brother, Gurv, got his start in the infamous Hart dungeon, training under Bruce Hart. At 20 years old, his introduction to the sport was interrupted by a separated shoulder which sidelined him for an extended period and saw him return home to the west coast. When recovered, he resumed his training at a local school headed by Michelle Starr, Disco Fury, and Vance Nevada and debuted in October 2005, graduating in the same class that produced Ring of Honor’s Kyle O’Reilly.
Younger brother, Harv, couldn’t wait to join his brother in the pro ranks and to kickstart the journey that they had been plotting together for close to a decade. At 18, Harv enrolled in the Michelle Starr camp as well, debuting just four months behind his older brother. However, while both brothers were earning their individual spots on the card, their tag team partnership wasn’t immediate. Perhaps because their trainers discovered that aside from their last name, no two rookies could have been more distinctly different from one another. Gurv was serious and sincere like his idol Bret Hart. Harv, on the other hand, was colourful and flamboyant, no doubt owing, in part, to his childhood fandom of Shawn Michaels.
Individually, each brother adopted an aggressive ring schedule, campaigning from coast to coast across the country. They toured with veteran promoter Tony Condello on the infamous “Death Tour” across the frozen lakes of the Canadian arctic, they rode atop the ring between towns in the ring truck while getting ring time for the Atlantic-based Main Stream Wrestling. Anywhere they could ply their trade, they packed up their bag and took the booking.
However, while fans were warming up to the two charismatic brothers and they were winning over the respect of their peers in the locker room, one daunting obstacle still remained. With neither brother tipping the scales past the 200-pound mark, or standing taller than six feet tall, they were advised by everyone that it was a shame that they would never have the opportunity to ascend to the top tier of the sport – simply put, they were too small.
They weren’t discouraged, though. It was a chance meeting with Bret Hart at a Las Vegas wrestling convention that helped to re-focus their efforts. Connecting at the Cauliflower Alley Club reunion, they sat down with the five-time WWE champion and shared their journey to date and the goals that they had set for themselves. Hart, who enjoyed a fourteen year run under Vince McMahon’s banner, imparted wisdom that would become their mantra as they pressed forward. Hart said: “You can’t hold back true talent. If you’re talented, you’ll get your opportunity.”
They returned home to Vancouver re-energized, electing to focus on their tag team partnership and to double their efforts to get on the WWE’s radar. In addition to wrestling, Harv travelled internationally, becoming a Bollywood action star and spokesmodel for an Indian brand of blue jeans, feeling that the experience would broaden his resume for a company that was actively steering itself away from being a sports league to an entertainment superpower.
The team’s first big break came in 2011 when they received the call from Jeff Jarrett to be part of the inaugural roster for the upstart Ring Ka King promotion in India. Finding themselves alongside a roster that included a number of household names, they shocked the wrestling community by upsetting the team of Scott Steiner and Abyss to win the promotion’s tag team titles.
Their success in India ignited their career in North America and the Bollywood Boyz were vaulted into main events at Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling, including five separate reigns as the tag team champions for the Vancouver-based circuit. In 2015, they finally made their big break into the American wrestling market, again under the watchful eye of Jeff Jarrett, this time for Global Force Wrestling where they made history in October of that year by becoming the promotion’s first tag team titleholders.
Their inclusion on the roster of WWE’s initial Cruiserweight Classic tournament both elated their devoted fans and silenced their critics. Just as Bret Hart had identified in 2007, their talent could not be ignored. The Canadian brothers, dubbed by their peers as being too small to get a break in the WWE, had finally arrived.
“We’ve never taken any opportunity for granted,” says Harv. “Whether it was surviving the brutal cold of the Canadian winter driving for hours over frozen lakes to get to the town, or being blessed with the opportunity to showcase ourselves in the company of those who have paved the way for guys like us – we are appreciative of every step of this journey.”
“From the trainers and vets that helped us in the beginning and continue to offer encouragement, to all of those we have had the opportunity to work with along the way,” adds Gurv. “Every part of that was a piece of this success. For us, it just goes to show that no matter what your dream, you just have to stick to your path, even if nobody else can see it.”