SINGAPORE - It's the stuff of dreams. Growing up and watching colourful, larger-than-life wrestlers like The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Chris Jericho beat up their opponents on television was a ritual for many kids in Singapore.
Now for three Singaporeans, this could soon be reality. Andruew Tang, Sean "Trexxus" Tan and Lee Xin Yi were recently invited by WWE for tryouts in Shanghai.
The trio are mainstays from home-grown wrestling promotion Singapore Pro Wrestling (SPW). They were among the 40 athletes handpicked from Asian countries including China, Thailand, the Philippines and Japan to attend the four-day trial. Those selected will win a coveted WWE developmental contract.
Tang, 30, who helped co-found SPW in 2012, has been wrestling for seven years. Better known by his in-ring moniker "The Statement", Tang said, "It was crazy. It was very surreal to see head coach Matt Bloom (better known to fans as A-Train) in the ring giving advice to trainees. There were so many things to learn during the tryouts."
With an opportunity of a lifetime at stake, there was little room for error. Attendees were put through multiple exercise drills, both indoors and outdoors, and were also shown the ropes in the ring.
Tan, 23, who stands at 1.83m tall, said, "It was really fun. It really gave us the chance to understand what it's like to be a WWE superstar. For me, I enjoyed it very much because being in the ring is my passion."
First local female wrestler
Dubbed Singapore's first female pro-wrestler, Lee, 24, is better known as Alexis Lee in the squared circle. Overcoming parental objections was something she had to deal with since she started wrestling in 2013.
"My parents still object to it. Sadly, they did not want me to do it. But now they have new found respect for Andruew, Trexxus and I," said Lee, who's just completed her degree in international business management.
Tang, who has wrestled in 11 countries to date, is optimistic about his chances of making the cut. "I did my best. I think I stand a pretty good chance."
Tan is more modest. "I don't want to keep my hopes up too high. I would rather not think about it," he said.
Well, fortune favours the brave.