Sussex wrestler signed by WWE hopes to fight Randy Orton
A Sussex born wrestler who has been signed by WWE says he hopes to one day fight Randy Orton.
Tony Gill – stage name Rohan Raja – is set to appear on TV representing WWE for the first time in April.
The Crawley born wrestler, who lived in Australia before training in America and returning to fight in the UK, signed with WWE’s NXT UK brand.
The 28-year-old said: “It was such a weird, surreal feeling.
“When people have dreams when they’re younger – I had that with wrestling.
“To actually get it and them tell me you’re going to be a part of our wrestling – it’s just this weird, weird feeling.”
Tony signed his first major contract in 2017 and having signed for WWE this year, he said his dream would be to take on Randy Orton in the ring.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, Orton found wider fame when a gif of his finishing move – the RKO – went viral.
‘It was like being hit by a car’
Tony said wrestling takes huge athleticism and he trains several times a week to keep in top shape.
Recalling the first time he ‘took a bump’ in the ring, he added: “I remember taking my first one and I landed and snot came out of my nose and I was just winded.
“Afterwards I went out the ring – I felt like I had got hit by a car or something.
“If you have the body for it, it gets easier.
“If you’re wrestling day in day out your body is kind of working on autopilot.”
He said after years of training his muscles act as a ‘protective layer’ which have so far prevented him from suffering any major injuries.
‘Scared to tell my dad’
Before revealing his dream of becoming a wrestler Tony said he worked with his siblings to create a plan to convince his father.
He added: “My background is Indian and you’re kind of expected to be a doctor or a lawyer.
“I was actually scared to tell my dad.
“My brother and my sister came up with a plan to tell my dad. He came back and he was really supportive from the start.
“He absolutely has been the number one supporter to this day.”
Tony worked in the fitness industry for several years before joining Lance Storm’s training camp in the US.
At the end of the three month stint Lance gave him the green light to pursue a career in wrestling and Tony had his first match.
Asked whether wrestlers know the outcome of a match before it starts, Tony said: “Anything can change. We will know who might win – it changes constantly. It can change mid match.
“You’re working with the person you’re working with to create a great match for the crowd. At the same time you want to out perform your opponent.”
Follow Tony at @realRohanRaja