THE Pro Wrestling League is a big leap in the history of oldest combat sport. An initiative of ProSportify and Wrestling Federation of India, PWL is the richest wrestling event ever. The league in the inaugural year offers a prize purse of Rupees 15 crore including the total prize purse of Rs. 3 crore. PWL with 6 city-based franchisee teams will have a Pan-India reach. Each team will have 9 players – 5 Indians, 4 foreign , 5 men, 4 women. In the inaugural year, PWL will feature a total of 18 ties – 15 in the league phase, 2 semi-finals and the Grand Finale. Each tie will be contested on the best of 7 bouts formats; interestingly all seven bouts will be contested in the League Phase. PWL guarantees a minimum of 150 bouts. The League will be played under the PWL Rules, conforming to the United World Wrestling and Wrestling Federation of India rules.
WRESTLING, the sport, is almost as old as the human civilization. As a competitive sport, it had been contested at the ancient Olympic Games in 708 BC. When the modern Olympics resumed in Athens in 1896, wrestling became a focus of the Games. Since 1900, it became an integral part of Olympic Games.
India has a rich tradition in wrestling too. Since time immemorial it was a popular sport among people in the villages. Unlike the modern sport, the ‘Dangals’ then were organised in sand ‘akharas’. Thousands of people would gather around the ‘akhara’ and egg on the mat men. After the bout the winner would go around the crowd and people would offer him cash as reward for his victory.
The Sport in India has a mythological connect too. Greek Gods too are depicted as keen wrestlers.
Name of Gama Pehlwan is inscribed in the folklore of Indian wrestling. But when K D Jadhav secured a bronze in Helsinki Games – India’s first individual Olympic medal – the sport got a boost.
Following Jadhav’s footsteps several Indian wrestlers were knocking on the doorstep of Olympic glory. But despite their best effort by the likes of Ved Prakash, Sudesh and Premanth among others, an Olympic medal eluded them.
Then came Sushil Kumar at 2008 Beijing Games - his bronze there turned around the scene of wrestling in India. Wrestling emerged as a popular sport and Sushil its best Brand Ambassador. His silver in the next Games in London and also a bronze for Yogeshwar Dutt acted as perfect icing on the cake.
Young Amit, Bajrang and many others now inspired by these heroes are determined to keep up the tradition at the next Olympic Games in Rio. In the wake of Sushi and Yogeshwar’s brilliance, young women wrestlers are also performing exceedingly well. Geeta, Babita, Vinesh are on the right course even as Alka Tomar and Geetika Jakhar have already performed well.
Brilliance of these matpersons has set up the stage for the big league. On the mat, India has emerged as a power to reckon with.
Inspired by the chain of successful performance on the international arena by Indian wrestlers, the Wrestling Federation of India and ProSportify have joined hands to create a rare event for the sport of Wrestling – that will have all the goodness of professional world for its associates, and yet remain THE REAL DEAL for the wrestling fraternity.
Pro Wrestling League will kick off as the richest ever event in the sports with an offer more than $3 miilion in prize money and appearance fees.