While international wrestling is extremely popular, there has been a growing contingent of support in South Africa, with children from townships being introduced to the sport and encouraged to pursue it.
Professional wrestling has always had a major impact on the entertainment industry, with stars such as the Undertaker, John Cena and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson attracting a large fan base across the globe.
South Africa can even boast having a WWE star in their ranks, in the form of Justin Gabriel.
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According to Mark Beale, the CEO of Champions Pro Wrestling — the largest wrestling organisation in Africa — the scene is growing in South Africa with a lot of budding talent emerging from communities.
“It takes a real passion to get involved in the business. We have started a lot of developmental shows in various areas in townships.
“There is a lot of talent there, but it is a pity that we cannot take everyone because there are so many people. Many children these days want to become wrestlers. When we go into the townships, children talk more about wrestling and their wrestling heroes than anything else.
We are very excited to be able to introduce the sport to the entire demographic of South Africa
Durban wrestler Joshua Chetty, who works with Beale, is one example of the budding interest in the sport.
Chetty, who is living his dream of being a professional wrestler, said it was a great feeling to make it in the industry after growing up watching the sport on TV.
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“I have been a big wrestling fan since I was a child. I grew up watching The Undertaker, Goldberg and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson on TV.
“But I was involved in other codes of sport, such as rugby and soccer prior to becoming a professional wrestler.”
I entered my first powerlifting competition when I was 16 and I had placed first in my category. I also did kick-boxing before getting into professional wrestling. It was the passion and the excitement that got me into the sport
Chetty, who wrestles as Joshua the Bull, has been active for over a decade. “I have been wrestling for 13 years. I wrestle for the largest wrestling federation in Africa, which is Champions Pro Wrestling (CPW), formerly known as World Wrestling Professionals (WWP).
“I have also wrestled on TV and I have won numerous awards in the country,” added Chetty.