The wrestling industry was abuzz recently with the announcement of some new talent getting their shot at the WWE spotlight, as part of the upcoming Cruiserweight Classic tournament. Among the 32 names announced, there were several highly touted stars who have paid their dues on the independent circuits. Fans and industry insiders have been eager to see them get their shot in wrestling’s biggest company. In some cases, these chronically over-looked talents are getting their just desserts with the announcement that they will be included in this historic tournament.
Unlike Tough Enough, which posts an open casting call far and wide to the general public, including men and women who have never before graced the squared circle, the Cruiserweight Classic is exciting for two reasons: First, it signals one of the largest open casting calls for experienced and credible talent ever launched by the WWE. Secondly, the recruitment of this pool of smaller wrestlers signals a shift in the WWE culture, as many of these wrestlers may have been overlooked a decade ago, as they were considered to be too small for the WWE.
In the case of Gurv and Harv Sihra, two brothers from Vancouver, they have amassed an international track record both in and out of the ring. News of their inclusion in the tournament has sparked a swell of support from peers, fans and the media across Canada. Here are twenty surprising things you may not have known about the brothers.
20. Gurv Got His Start In The Hart Dungeon
Older brother Gurv was the first to break into the sport, leaving his West Coast home in Vancouver, BC to train under Bruce and Ross Hart in the infamous Hart dungeon.
While in Calgary in 2004, he trained alongside future WWE tag team champions Harry Smith and Tyson Kidd. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury derailed his initial education in the sport and he returned home to rehabilitate.
While recovering, he learned of a local school being operated by ring legend Michelle Starr in Surrey, BC. Upon his medical clearance to climb back between the ropes, he enrolled in Starr’s camp to complete his formal introduction to the sport. Mentored by well-traveled veterans Vance Nevada and Disco Fury, Gurv debuted in 2005.
His younger brother Harv would later also train in Starr’s camp in a class that included future Shimmer champion Nicole Matthews.
19. The Team Has Been Active For 10 Years
While American audiences may still be unfamiliar with the team, the duo has not only been wrestling for more than a decade, but they have been working as a team for most of that time as well. Debuting on April 29, 2006, much of their wrestling journey since then has seen the brothers traveling and competing together as a team. That, of course, has also included opportunities to augment their skills at various development seminars, including Harley Race’s invitational camp in Missouri and some time training in Ohio Valley Wrestling under the watchful eye of Rip Rogers.
Their greatest longevity has come under the banner of Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling in Vancouver, where they have been featured atop the marquee for many years.
18. Harv Studied For A Semester In England
While the brothers have actively pursued opportunities to advance their careers, including efforts to ensure that they were on the WWE’s radar, a twist of fate sparked an international adventure that took Harv around the world.
When the WWE appeared in Washington State in 2009, creating opportunities for ECCW talent to appear on Smackdown, the brothers were overlooked by their local promotion. Harv looked at the snub as an indication that he needed to create his own opportunities and booked a flight to England, hoping to explore wrestling opportunities in Europe.
The break allowed him to study for a semester while overseas and attend a chance talent audition held by the producers of Slumdog Millionaire. It ended with an invitation to embark on a modeling and acting career in India upon completion of his school year.
He did complete his studies upon his return to Canada, graduating with a minor in History.
17. They Are “Death Tour” Survivors
Without a doubt, the most infamous and grueling tour in professional wrestling has to be the annual campaign that occurs in the Canadian sub-arctic led by veteran promoter Tony Condello. The trip, dubbed alternately as the “Death Tour” and the “Northern Hell Tour”, has been survived by a who’s who in the sport. Edge, Lance Storm, Scott Norton, Joe Legend, Christian, Rhyno and more have all made the trip, which includes two weeks of travel driving across the ice of frozen lakes to reach remote outposts in the northern wilderness. In these communities, there are no hotels, so the wrestlers often spend the nights in sleeping bags on gym mats in the schools where they perform.
It is a tour that has cracked many a star, while forging the character of others. The brothers first endured the tour in 2006, and returned for a second time the following year so that they could demonstrate that they weren’t scared off from the first one.
16. Gurv Is A Huge Fan Of Tupac
From his youth, Gurv was a huge fan of Tupac Shakur, and, like many teens, had plastered his bedroom walls as a monument to the iconic music personality.
In fact, when he first debuted in the ring, he was so self-conscious about being ethnically type-cast, as many east Indian wrestlers had before him, he adopted Tupac’s music for his ring entrance song in an effort to break the mold of ethnic wrestlers in western Canada.
He and Harv would eventually find a way to uniquely integrate their own traditional culture into their ring persona. And, when they did, it was directed by the brothers, not as a racial stereotype caricaturized by promoters.
15. The Brothers Are Multi-Sport Athletes
Both brothers were heavily involved with athletics throughout their whole lives. Even though they would declare their aspirations to pursue a career in wrestling from an early age, they did not restrict themselves to solely activities that were related to grappling.
From age six, both brothers played ice hockey for ten years. Interestingly, they both experienced success resulting in belts prior to their pro wrestling debut as well. Both brothers earned black belts in tae kwon do as youngsters, skills which undoubtedly have enriched their ring repertoire when the situation calls for it.
14. Harv Was The Spokesmodel For A Blue Jean Line
Upon Harv’s arrival in India in 2009, he was greeted with opportunities in the Bollywood film industry as well as modelling. He discovered that the movie industry, as a foreigner in his ancestral land, was incredibly political. Luckily for him, he was soon in high demand as a model.
During an extended stay based in Mumbai, Harv was regularly featured in photo shoots and fashion layouts. His largest success in India came when he was selected as the official spokesmodel for a clothing line – Killer Jeans.
13. Both Brothers Are Scorpios
Those that follow astrology will recognize that Scorpios are extremely ambitious, persistent and determined. That description seems to be very accurate when you analyze the track record of the team, both individually and collectively.
Whether in the ring, in the gym, or in their pursuits away from the sport, both Gurv and Harv have demonstrated their keen focus on their goals and their willingness to put in the work to reap their due rewards. Harv’s birthday is November 2 and Gurv’s is November 13.
Scorpios are often described as deep, intense people for whom there is always more than meets the eye. That is definitely the case with this duo.
12. Gurv Considered A Career In Border Security
Following the advice of many experienced pros, Gurv explored career opportunities beyond the ring.
For him, it started with a career in public service as a loss prevention officer. He studied criminology with aspirations of securing a career as a Customs and Border Security Officer if wrestling didn’t pan out.
Thankfully, his ambitions between the ropes have continued to provide new opportunities, including his recent inclusion in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic.
11. The First Live Match They Saw Was WWE Pay Per View
When your first exposure to a live wrestling event is a WWE pay per view, it definitely shapes your vision for your future. For Gurv and Harv, who were huge fans of Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels – Gurv favoring Bret and Harv idolizing Shawn, they were thrilled to learn that a WWE pay per view was coming to Vancouver. They were even more ecstatic to find out that their dad had bought tickets for the 1996 In Your House: International Incident pay-per-view.
With matches that included Michaels, Owen Hart, Steve Austin, the Undertaker and a number of other future Hall of Famers, the brothers’ ambition was cemented at that moment. They quickly began making their plans began to make it to the WWE themselves.
Their inclusion in the Cruiserweight Classic represents the completion of a near 20 year goal that they set as youngsters.
10. Harv Has An Impressive Film Resume
Though Harv found the Bollywood film industry to be intensely political, not that unlike professional wrestling perhaps, he was able to break into the industry.
Both in India and later in Canada, Harv has been able to assemble a modest resume of film and television roles. To date, his biggest starring role found himself sharing marquee billing with Bollywood A-lister Ashkay Kumar in the film Brothers.
9. They’re Members Of The Cauliflower Alley Club
While the brothers represent a very new school repertoire in their matches, their respect for the pioneers of the sport and those that have paved the road before them is demonstrated by their membership in the Cauliflower Alley Club.
The club, which is largely a benevolent organization of wrestling professionals who celebrate the tradition and heritage of the sport, is best known for the organization’s annual reunion. Held in Las Vegas, it draws a wide cross section of present and past ring personalities.
The Sihras have been in attendance for multiple reunions and have taken advantage of the opportunity to soak up knowledge from all of the ring legends they have had the occasion to meet.
8. They Have Appeared On WWE Television As Rosebuds
If fans seeing the announcement on WWE.com found themselves thinking, ‘I’ve seen these guys somewhere before,’ it may be because they have made an appearance on WWE television previously.
In August 2015, the brothers appeared as “Rosebuds” in Adam Rose’s entourage at television tapings. If you check the photo closely, you’ll notice that Gurv made the television appearance, wearing his trademark ring vest that is identifiable to his diehard fans.
7. They’ve Scored Big Wins Over Top Names
As a team, the brothers shocked the wrestling world when they were recruited by Jeff Jarrett and Dutch Mantell to appear on television tapings in India for the short-lived Ring-Ka-King promotion.
Pitted against a variety of teams, such as Sonjay Dutt and Magnus, and the Daivari brothers, the Sihras biggest victory came with an upset to claim the Ring-Ka-King tag team titles, with a victory over Scott Steiner and Abyss.
However, on the Canadian Pacific Coast, the brothers’ reputation for scoring big wins has contributed to their strong following and legion of fans who explode whenever they appear.
6. The First Canadian Brothers In The WWE Since The Harts
There have been very few brother tag teams from Canada to ever reach the WWE. Arguably, the best known would be the Fabulous Rougeau Brothers – Jacques and Raymond. However, a quick check of WWE history shows that there hasn’t been a Canadian brother twosome to cross the WWE threshold since Bret and Owen Hart last teamed together close to 20 years ago.
Could the Bollywood Boyz be the next Canadian team to rally the support of their home and native land and do for Vancouver what the Harts did for Calgary almost a generation ago?
5. It Hasn’t Always Been First Class Travel
Following the advice of Chris Jericho, the brothers sought out every opportunity possible to get into a ring and hone their craft. That has seen them frequently criss-crossing the continent to secure appearances and tours.
While appearing on the East Coast for promoter Devin Chittick, they experienced some of the most trying travel conditions of their careers. In an effort to save money, the promoter customarily assigned wrestlers to travel arrangements which included piling his talent like illegal immigrants into the cargo hold of the ring truck.
Both Gurv and Harv toured the Maritime provinces on separate tours laying atop the ring mats on trips of up to 500 miles between East Coast appearances.
4. The Advice They’ve Built Their Career On
While the number of ring legends who have shared their wisdom with the ambitious brothers are numerous, there is one who stands out above the rest. It’s a single message that has stood as an underlying motto of their career and each successive step they’ve made throughout their wrestling journey.
WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart was candid in sharing his insights from his own early days in the WWE, discussing the original creative plan for him, as outlined by George Scott. Because he was from Calgary, Bret was originally to be cast as a cowboy – even though Bret had never ridden a horse in his life. Reflecting on his own experience, he imparted: “They can’t ignore talent. Talent will always rise to the top.”
It’s advice that they have held onto, even during the greatest adversity during their career.
3. They Never Forgot Where They Came From
Sadly, professional wrestling seems to breed a culture of athletes who neglect to credit their early mentors and trainers that opened the door for them to break into the industry. In some cases, unless the wrestler trained with a WWE alumnus, their origins in the sport simply get lost in the re-telling of their story.
With the Sihras, however, though they can take ownership of the credit for most of the opportunities they have created for themselves during their ascent in the sport, they have never overlooked an opportunity to credit the trainers, promoters and other positive contributors to their career along the way. An example of this was demonstrated in vignette videos promoting their introduction to the roster in Global Force Wrestling.
2. Harv Received National Exposure On Reality TV
Harv is no stranger to the television cameras, even when not playing another character. Across Canada, billed as “Vinny” Sihra, Harv was one of a cast of characters on the Canadian reality television series Bollywood Star, an American Idol-style series looking to find the next breakout star for the Bollywood film industry.
While he was ultimately eliminated over the course of the season, he did generate national attention for himself beyond the realm of wrestling.
1. They Were The First Global Force Wrestling Tag Team Champions
The Bollywood Boyz shocked the world as members of the initial roster of Global Force Wrestling on television tapings from the Orleans in Las Vegas. On a roster which included a host of nationally recognized stars formerly of the WWE and TNA, the brother duo scored a big upset by winning the first Global Force Wrestling tag team championship. Defeating the highly touted tandem of Reno Scum, the Sihra brothers succeeded in breaking into the American wrestling market in a big way.
Will the WWE Cruiserweight Classic pave the way to even greater heights for the brothers between the ropes?