Ayez Shaukat Fonseka, who hopes to wrestle for former WWE and WCW champion Booker T in March next year, is ready for local wrestling to hit television screens in Malaysia.
This comes after Simpang Renggam MP Maszlee Malik namechecked Shaukat and Nor ‘Phoenix’ Diana in Parliament on Monday and asked Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa, to promote local wrestling.
Maszlee said local television stations should promote the local wrestling industry.
“We are ready,” said Shaukat.
“I have 30 wrestlers under me. That would be enough to get us started.
“I have been in wrestling since 2014. It has always been a dream of mine to get a television show.”
He had approached many television stations before, and they had always said ‘No’ to him.
“Some asked us to buy airtime, which we cannot afford. I hope Maszlee’s statements in Parliament will open people’s eyes, to see the potential of local wrestling.”
Shaukat, who runs APAC Wrestling, said he hopes to bring in wrestlers from Singapore, Japan, the Philippines, Australia, and even the United States.
“I want to bring in wrestlers from the region to compete with Malaysians,” said Shaukat, who started the company last year.
“It was a risk starting APAC Wrestling during the pandemic, but I had to get it going. Despite the setbacks, we had weekly shows until the latest Movement Control Order (MCO).”
He kept the wrestlers up to date on the company’s plans, and they have been encouraging and motivating each other to stay positive.
That was especially important during the various MCOs when gyms were closed, and they had to train alone.
“There was some negativity about Maszlee’s statement from people who wanted to know why the government should support ‘fake sports’ when there are other, more deserving sports,” said Shaukat.
“I feel one reason why wrestling gets the spotlight is because of how we fight for attention, and the things we do to be heard and seen.
“It was not cheap shooting weekly episodes of APAC wrestling. It involved a lot of investment, and I would like to thank our sponsors for supporting us.
“I am sure if, and when, we get on television, we would be able to get more sponsors. That would certainly help build the industry.”
He stressed that wrestling is sports entertainment, and it’s their job, as wrestlers, to entertain.
“You can say we are actors, but we are athletes first, as we have to do intense training to be able to execute our moves in the ring.
“We ‘move’ people, in an emotional sense. The only difference is, we are doing ‘live’ stunts on stage, while most of the actors in a movie have stunt doubles doing the scenes for them.”
Separately, Shaukat hopes to get a working visa to join Booker T’s company, Reality of Wrestling, in the US. He was supposed to make his debut last month.
“I had been waiting since March last year, and it may be two years after my initial contact before I make my debut,” said Shaukat.
“Booker T is trying to arrange for my visa, and I hope to get everything sorted out by March.
“I am also excited that Singapore’s Sean Tan, who wrestles under the moniker of ‘Dante Chen’, has joined the WWE.
“It is an inspirational story as Dante was born and raised in Singapore. It shows that those from this region can make the grade if they are determined.”