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You can’t expect new AEW star Satnam Singh to be more than he is

Satnam Singh AEW
Satnam Singh. Photo courtesy All Elite Wrestling.

AEW has taken heat for the ill-conceived rollout for Satnam Singh, the 7’3” former Indian basketball player, on Wednesday’s “Dynamite.”

Singh, a 2015 second-round draft pick of the Dallas Mavericks, never did play in the NBA, getting a brief run in what was then known as the D-League, then playing in his native India and Canada, before signing with AEW last fall.

The issues with the rollout were two-fold: one, that Singh debuted in a run-in after the popular Samoa Joe had just won the Ring of Honor TV title, the run-in being preceded by the lights going out, signaling that whoever was going to follow was somebody fans would know; and two, that Singh looks stiff.

AEW head honcho Tony Khan acknowledged the booking botch with the lights-out run-in, which was done because the company is planning a push for Singh as it makes its entrée into the Indian market, but obviously could have been done better.

The part of this involving Singh being a bit of a stiff is, unfortunately, just par for the course for big men in wrestling.

The thought came to mind for me, what do folks expect? Singh washed out of basketball for a reason; that he’s no Kevin Durant or Anthony Davis, seven-footers who are effectively very, very big guards, gliding around like 6’5” or 6’6” guys.

If Singh, or Omos, Jordan Omogbehin, who played college basketball at South Florida and Morgan State, could move like a Durant or Davis, they wouldn’t be in wrestling, they’d be making millions in the NBA, like Durant and Davis.

Pro wrestling is almost always a fallback for athletes from other sports, usually amateur wrestling or football, sometimes basketball, who couldn’t make it where they wanted to.

For at least one guy who comes to mind, Dwayne Johnson, not making it in football and having to fall back to pro wrestling worked out pretty well in the end.

Roman Reigns, who played football at Georgia Tech, is also doing just fine for himself, as are many others.

It doesn’t work out for everybody, but when you’re a seven-footer, it stands out more, fair or unfair, and I lean toward unfair.

Super big guys like Singh are always at a disadvantage, because you end up being booked to work with guys often a foot or more smaller in stature, who are often much more mobile, but also have difficulty getting their regular offense in because of the size disparity.

The matches with big guys often come across as duds as a result.

And for all the clamor from fans who think they want to see big man vs. big man matches, no, you don’t, because a match with two big guys who have no experience working against other big guys, and thus don’t know how to sell, take big bumps, the rest, almost always disappoint.

Andre the Giant worked for so long because his heyday was in the territory era, when he could ride into town, take on a local heel, impress the hell out of the local folks with his size, work a quick victory, then move on to the next town, to avoid becoming stale.

The modern TV era doesn’t allow for big guys to avoid the obvious shelf life for their kind, which is why it’s best if you can keep the lid on them as long as possible, having them lurking in the background, as a bodyguard, occasionally getting physical in that role, with in-ring matches spread out as much as possible, and never against other top talents, to keep the mystique.

This is the fate of Satnam Singh. As long as he’s not overexposed, like Omos, like Braun Strowman, the Great Khali, he can be a special attraction, but that’s about it.

And in the future, yes, keep the lights on.

Story by Chris Graham

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