Confirming most of what’s been reported in advance by the wrestling media, WWE officially issued a press release about the special event they’re producing with their Indian broadcast partner Sony - Superstar Spectacle.
WWE Superstar Spectacle, an unprecedented two-hour television special event for India featuring WWE’s Indian performers alongside Superstars from Raw, SmackDown and NXT, will premiere exclusively on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony MAX on India’s Republic Day, Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. IST, with commentary available in both English and Hindi.
The unique showcase of Indian-inspired action will emanate from the state-of-the-art WWE ThunderDome and incorporate stunning elements of traditional and contemporary Indian culture among epic matches featuring WWE Champion Drew McIntyre, Rey Mysterio, WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Charlotte Flair, AJ Styles, Bayley, The New Day, Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro, SmackDown Tag Team Champions Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode, Ricochet and many more plus an appearance by WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair.
“We love the passion and support from the huge WWE Universe in India, so we’ve teamed up with SPN, the exclusive home of WWE in India, to surprise our fans with an incredible event to kick off 2021,” said Paul “Triple H” Levesque, WWE Executive Vice President, Global Talent Strategy & Development. “WWE Superstar Spectacle will be an epic event with electrifying matches featuring some of the biggest names in WWE along with our incredible Indian performers, plus thrilling and authentic Indian-inspired entertainment.”
“WWE has consistently featured among the top watched sports properties in India over the years,” said Rajesh Kaul, Chief Revenue Officer, Distribution and Head – Sports Business, Sony Pictures Networks India. “We are excited about presenting WWE Superstar Spectacle to WWE fans and viewers in India on Republic Day which will showcase and celebrate the best of the next generation Indian talent in WWE.”
With matches announced in the coming weeks, WWE fans can look forward to witnessing appearances by 10 Indian WWE talent, including:
- WWE Superstar Jinder Mahal, the first WWE Champion of Indian descent.
- The Bollywood Boyz, WWE Superstars Samir and Sunil Singh.
- The first all-Indian tag team in WWE, Indus Sher, featuring Rinku and Saurav.
- NXT Superstar Jeet Rama.
- Kavita Devi, the first Indian woman to sign a WWE contract.
- The Great Khali trainees Giant Zanjeer (7ft 2in, 340 pounds) and Dilsher Shanky (7ft, 310 pounds).
- Guru Raaj, the first Indian-born high-flyer in WWE.
The arrival of WWE Superstar Spectacle comes at a time when WWE’s popularity in India continues to increase. WWE is one of the most-watched sports properties in India, and India ranks No. 1 for WWE YouTube consumption and No. 1 in WWE Facebook followers. In addition, WWE has been actively recruiting elite athletes and performers from the country. In 2019, WWE hosted its largest tryout in history, where more than 70 top athletes from India showcased their abilities in Mumbai and four Indian recruits were selected to train at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, U.S.
India is already a huge market for WWE, and the company is clearly looking to build brand loyalty with the South Asian audience with this move. With flagging ratings in the United States potentially limited future increases in television rights fees domestically, and indications it has no plans to resume touring any time soon, global growth figures to be a big part of WWE’s plans in the near-term future.
How India receives Superstar Spectacle will certainly influence those plans. Stay tuned.