Sonjay Dutt has been a staple in the professional wrestling industry since his debut for Total Nonstop Action (TNA) in 2003 when the company was just a year old. In fact, Dutt is viewed by some as a TNA Original in the same breath as AJ Styles, James Storm, Bobby Roode, and others – despite never being a titleholder with the company.
But if it weren't for TNA giving Dutt a chance in 2003 – which turned into a six-and-a-half year stint with the company – the high-flying and acrobatic Dutt might not have made it in the business.
"When I first came into Nashville at the Fairgrounds on a Wednesday night, I was like 20 years old and I thought I would be there for the next two weeks, maybe one week, and it turned into six-and-a-half years straight," said Dutt. "It afforded me a life and a lifestyle I would never thought I'd have in pro wrestling, it afforded me the opportunity to support myself, and then, later on, my wife and my family, which is the most important thing for me."
During his initial stint with TNA, the soon-to-be 34-year-old Dutt was in matches with the likes of the Amazing Red, Samoa Joe, Jay Lethal, Roderick Strong, and Austin Aries. While never a main-eventer, Dutt was a consistent presence on the show for the entirety of his tenure.
Curiously, despite competing for the X-Division Championship on numerous occasions, Dutt always came up short and never captured the gold. Even his well-received "Guru" gimmick from 2007 couldn't catapult Dutt into championship worthy status.
"I don't know, I can't put myself in their heads," said Dutt. "There were very varying people in power and I don't know what they all felt about me."
The popularity from being with TNA was clear to Dutt, especially during his occasional visits to his native India. Last year, Dutt ran a five-day tour in Assam, India, a part of the country that is secluded from mainland India.
That didn't stop fans from wanting to interact with Dutt who is popular or "over" with the country, in his own words. Over, despite never taking his talents to a global juggernaut such as WWE, like fellow Indian Great Khali did.
"I'm walking the streets and everybody is swarming to me, and running at me – getting autographs and pictures and stuff."
Fast forward seven years and countless one-off returns to TNA, Dutt is now an integral part of the burgeoning Global Force Wrestling (GFW) promotion. Working alongside Jeff Jarrett once again, Dutt plays a key role in GFW's day-to-day operations, in addition to his duties as a wrestler.
Dutt takes it upon himself to scout talent at independent shows to see who would make a good candidate for GFW's roster. Whether it be a match against House of Glory Elite Champion Anthony Gangone or a veteran at a GFW taping, Dutt's job goes beyond the ring.
"I do a ton of different things, there's no job title really, but I wear many hats and handle anything that needs to be done," said Dutt. "Talent relations, shows, media, travel, just a slew of stuff."
It's also a stark change for Dutt in regards to his relationship with Jarrett – who recently spoke to the Inquisitr himself about GFW and several other topics. During his first run with TNA, Dutt was strictly a wrestler who worked for Jarrett's company.
Now, he doesn't only wrestle for Jarrett's newest company – where he's currently the GFW NEX *GEN Champion – he is learning the behind-the-scenes aspect of the business, too.
"It's awesome because Jeff and I first met in 2002, I think, when I first came into TNA and gave me a huge opportunity, an opportunity that I didn't think was anything more than a couple of weeks and turned into more than 10 years working on-and-off with the company. All of his various other projects, he and I worked together on Ring-Ka-King which we developed and created for India. It's cool learning a different side of the business, especially through somebody like Jeff. I guess at this point, he's kinda like a mentor to me."Dutt captured the NEX*GEN Championship from "The Darewolf" PJ Black (aka Justin Gabriel) – who Dutt says officially signed with Lucha Underground -- in late November at Wrestlecade. GFW is currently in the process of finding a television network on which the company can start airing its TV shows so fans can watch champions such as Dutt and current GFW Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis in action.
Jarrett told Inquisitr that GFW currently has 16, one-hour shows ready to go.
Watching the final product, Dutt says he's been able to remove any bias and view the completed AMPED episodes as a fan. Dutt says that GFW is taking a unique approach in featuring its superstars by "showcasing the personalities of the characters behind what you see in the ring."
GFW will have the opportunity to expand its horizons next week when the company makes it Northeast debut. On January 22, GFW will host its first show in New York as the company puts on a show at the MidHudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, NY. Names such as Colt Cabana, Jeff Jarrett, Bobby Roode, Brian Myers, and Dutt are set to appear. Full card at this link.
The following night, GFW will host a co-branded show with Pro Wrestling Syndicate (PWS), one of the most popular independent promotions in the Northeast. An angle was shot at a recent PWS event in which several GFW crusaders, Dutt included, invaded the promotion. Full card at this link.
The company has also announced its return to the United Kingdom and its debut in Germany later this year. All of this, while being the type of company people want to work for, according to Dutt.
"I think we're not micromanaging people. At the end of the day, if you're chosen to represent Global Force and you're on a Global Force show, you're on a TV taping or you're on a live event, there's a reason you were chosen for that spot and put in that position. If you weren't able to hold up your end, you wouldn't be on that show. So why would I micromanage that person? Why would I nitpick that person?"Dutt said: "You're coming here for your expertise, whether it be in the ring, out of the ring, on the mic -- go out there and get it done. This is what we want, this our overview and we give the talent the freedom to cultivate what they can because they know themselves better than anybody else."
Audio of the interview can accessed at this link.
[Featured Photo by Mark Suleymanov]