On Wednesday, November 11, 1998, Slam Wrestling talked to Tiger Ali Singh from his mansion west of Toronto. He was candid and opinionated, as one might expect from Asian royalty. There’s no question that he still values his fans, but his priorities have changed over the last year. Now, on to the fan question and answer with Tiger Ali Singh, one of many rising Canadian stars in the World Wrestling Federation.
Q: Who came up with the current gimmick you are instituting on Raw and other WWF wrestling programs? It is very interesting.
A: It was the World Wrestling Federation. It was totally their idea. This was back in January, they had come up with this idea.
Q: What was it like being trained by the legendary Dory Funk, Jr. and Dr. Tom Pritchard in the Funking Dojo?
Jason Davoodi, Chicago, IL
A: How can I put it into words? First of all, it was an honour because I had heard great things through my father about Dory Funk Jr. and Pat Patterson, and I’d had the privilege of getting to know Tom Pritchard a year before that. And all three of them were very instrumental with the new Tiger that you see on the TV screens today. The Americanized version of Tiger Ali Singh.
Q: Was it a conscious decision to be the next Million Dollar Man or did your part just work out that way? I love the fact that there is a character that is interacting and playing off of the crowd again, it’s been awhile since we’ve seen it in pro wrestling.
Chris, Philadelphia, PA
A: First, it was a conscious decision to come out and be a Million Dollar Man. That was the furthest thing from the mind. First and foremost, the Tiger Ali Singh is a lot more closer to the reality of who I am. I do come from a very wealthy background, and very rich culture, and we really do have servants. Whereas the Million Dollar Man was a total fabrication, trying to give his a gimmick. So that way, if you’re looking at it, with other similarities to other wrestlers nowadays, the gimmicks are getting more to the shoot-style, more closely related to what the wrestler himself is. That seems to be what the fans are wanting nowadays. They no longer want the superheroes of the past, where you eat your vitamins and count your blessings, this and that, and say your prayers. The fans are a lot smarter, let’s face it. That’s the reason you’ll see the Tiger Ali Singh gimmick, it comes a lot easier. Obviously I’m not that overbearing in real-life, and not very abusive. But once again, fans dictate and that’s what they want. That’s what you’re seeing evolving out of Tiger Ali Singh.
Q: Tiger you are a great wrestler, but when will you start to appear on RAW on a regular basis, because we at the University of Waterloo love then angle of Asian Royalty?
A: Well, I appreciate that, that they appreciate watching the Asian Royalty gimmick. It’s a long time due, and you have to give the WWF full-credit for acknowledging that there is a great mass of Asian population out there. Secondly, they should watch RAW more often, because I’m on RAW on a very regular basis now. And I think the most that has passed by without me being on RAW was probably a week. So, worst-case scenario, I’m on every other week on RAW. And I think we had three or four weeks going there running in a row that I was on RAW.
Q: What’s your take on TSN’s censorship on occasion of RAW?
A: Well, I think personally that’s kind of insulting the fans’ intelligence, kind of like what NBC did. We’re not kids, especially if they’re playing it at late hours like they are doing. I think we’re living in a democratic society and don’t dictate what we should watch and what we shouldn’t be watching. But I do fully appreciate the TSN censorship when it comes to playing it in the afternoons or during the early morning hours where the kids have access to a television.
Q: What attributes do you think you have over the other WWF superstars?
A: First of all, second generation. Secondly, shoot-style background. Thirdly, my size and presence in the ring. Putting it all together, it’s very natural for me.
Q: What is your most memorable event in the WWF so far?
A: The signing at SkyDome back in January of ’97, in front of my hometown crowd and having been honoured having my whole family in the ring as well with George Chuvalo, Bret Hart and all the other guests, Carl De Marco.
Q: What is your most memorable event when you fought overseas?
A: It would be a combination of two. First of all, my debut in Japan, which was a tag team championship match where I was partnered with my father. That was the greatest thrill. And secondly, when I fought in my dad’s home country of India, in front of about 70,000 people and I was honoured by the chief minister and acknowledged as the ambassador to India for sports.
Q: Why did you sign with the WWF if you already had a successful career overseas?
A: That’s very simple. Tiger always tries to better himself and he wanted to do that with the best company in the world. And the WWF by far is the most talented, has the best talent roster and has the best outlook on what the future holds.
Q: I remember watching a promo on you and it said that you got “ALI” from Muhammad Ali can you explain in more detail?
A: Yes, Tiger Ali Singh is a combination of my two greatest heroes in life — Muhammad Ali and Tiger Jeet Singh. I wasn’t coming from a religious or political sort of side at all. That’s what I want to make clear and what the WWF made clear as well. Ali was for Muhammad Ali. I was blessed and endorsed by him to carry on his legacy as well as by my father. It was a great honour, what can I say? That’s how the naming came to.
Q: I am a very big fan of yours it was about time that they showed you on T.V more often, what is going through your mind when you see the audience doing the things that you tell them…
A: It only reinforces what I’ve said before. There is no limit to how low these peasants will go. I’ve said it before, and now, slowly but surely, the people are coming on my side, saying ‘hey, man, you’re speaking the truth.’ It’s sad to say, but that’s what the world has come to. In particular, the United States and North Americans, that when you put money in front of them, they’ll sell themselves. And that’s exactly what they’re doing time in and time out on TV.
Q: Why does the WWF continue to push you using a gimmick that is clearly outdated, and to be totally honest with you is quite boring. Wrestling fans have seen this act before with the Million Dollar Man back in the late eighties.
A: It just shows how ignorant these guys are because by ratings alone, mine are one the highest rated segments on RAW. So, I don’t know, maybe he’s like an ostrich with his head in the sand.
Q: I am proud to be a Tiger Ali Singh fan, and am wondering why you do not get any title shots? The European title could be yours so easily, you have the talent and charisma that Regal and many others do not have.
A: Well, I appreciate that, and getting support from a fan that has intelligence. First, I’ve got to say that. And secondly, time is of the essence, and the time is slowly being shifted towards Tiger’s side. Momentum is carrying on, and hopefully look for next year.
Q: Who was your very first pro match against?
DR. PLACID LASRADO
A: Once again, that was my debut as a tag team with my father and it was against Tarzan Goto and Onita, and that was in Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling, FMW out of Japan. That would be late 1992.
Q: Who in the WWF are you most looking forward to facing?
DR. PLACID LASRADO
A: The guy who’s got the gold, and I’m talking about the world championship gold. Right now, none of them have it. After Survivor Series, coming this weekend, we’ll find out who has it and there’s your answer.
Q: You’re not in the tournament though, are you upset about that?
A: No, I’m not upset. Like I said, everything has time. I’m a great believer in everything happens for a reason, there’s a purpose in life. Right now, Tiger Ali Singh has his eye on other things that I can’t mention right now. And a WWF title shot in not my number one priority. What I’m trying to get across to the world how Asian culture is supreme when it comes to American culture. And that’s my number one thing that I’m doing right now.
Q: Can you verify that many wrestlers have called you a pain in the ass in the locker room?
A: Only the ones that are jealous, and obviously he’s jealous as well.
Q: What’s your thoughts on Ron Hutchison who trained you (Jay Reso, Adam Copeland) in Sully’s Gym in Toronto?
A: Greatest respect in the world for people like Ron Hutchison and Sweet Daddy Siki. They were my original coaches here in Canada. And, the other gentlemen that you mentioned that came out of the camp, I have the utmost respect because they had the intelligence enough to seek advisement and council from these two great coaches.
Q: Were you in there with either of them at the time?
A: No, I was not.
Q: Are ya gonna win???
A: Well, has he been watching TV? I’ve always won.
Q: Did you get your job because of your daddy?
A: Obviously, he is trying to be a smart-ass. He’s envious. Maybe if his dad worked a little bit harder too, he could be enjoying the life that I’m enjoying. But obviously, his dad, his grandparents and so forth and so forth were lazy, just as he is. Get off the shelf and do some work!
Q: Do you ever pack heat, when you go for an in-ring interview? Are you ever scared in there?
A: No. Confidence.
Q: Where do you get your suits, ties and shoes from….there are very nice…..are they custom made for you?
A: All custom made, head to toe at Fazari’s Design right on Brown’s Line, right here in good old Toronto.
Q: What type of cars do you drive..
A: Ah. Depends on the day of the week. Five days, seven days in a week. And depending on how I feel, I take one car over another. Anywhere from a Lamborghini to a Ferrari. Today, it happens to be a little bit chilly outside, I’m going to be taking the Lincoln Navigator.
Q: I was reading a report on the internet that you a personal private jet is this true?
A: My father does. But it will one day be mine. One day.
Q: Is it true that you can lift 500 pounds?
A: Easy. No problem.
Q: Who is your most feared opponent?
A: I have no fear.
Q: Which opponent fears you the most?
A: All of them, if they had any intelligence.
Q: I hope you win the European Title, and not Regal, do you think the WWF will give you a huge push like Goldust or Shamrock?
A: Well, time will only tell. Right now, like I said, I wouldn’t be in the World Wrestling Federation if I didn’t think I had a future. So, I leave that in the WWF’s hands. I have full confidence that they’ll take advantage of the situation and the timing. That’s the key, the timing.
Q: I live in the same town as you, and attend the same high school, that you did. Now my question for you. All of the bios we read these days, except for the one here at CANOE, they all claim that you grew up going to private schools, and things such as that. Is this for publicity reasons, or do most people just not know “Mick” aka Tiger Ali Singh?
Jay Fendley, Milton, Ontario
A: That’s a good question. Obviously, there’s a lot to do with the character, as I mentioned before. It is sports entertainment. A lot of people say I live in Toronto which is not the case. I was born in Toronto, but I’ve always lived in the suburbs. Once again, the private schools, posh hotels and all that, that is part of the norm now for Tiger Ali Singh but when I was growing up, my parents and I, really fortunate to say once again, parents brought us up with the grass roots in mind. So yes, he is correct, I went to Milton District High School right here in Milton.
Q: Hey Tiger, do you see yourself getting more hardcore like your father?
A: Time will only tell. But if you’ve noticed anything, the entertainment, the Americanized, that’s the new version of Tiger. It’s gotten a lot of attention and a lot of people are watching. Time will tell that in the ring I’m still a Tiger.
Q: Tiger, your father, the legendary Tiger Jeet Singh, is perhaps one of the all-time greats. Do you feel pressure because you’re his son?
A: In the start, I did feel pressure but I now I no longer look at it as pressure. I look at it as an asset because every time I come back I have the great opportunity of seeking advice from, as he said, the legendary Tiger Jeet Singh. So I’m very fortunate to have him and I look at him as an asset and as a power.
Q: How often does he get to see your matches?
A: He’s very busy right now. He’s also international ambassador for the WWF and he’s doing a lot on the side. But whenever he does get an opportunity to sit down and talk about it, he critiques me quite a bit about it, on what he thinks could be improved.
Q: What are your thoughts on WWF’s adult approach these days?
A: Once again, it’s the changing of the times. If you look at most of the programming on television today, you could sit here and critique it, cut up a bunch of programming, but the bottom line is ratings. By far, it’s showing that the masses out there want to watch what the WWF has to offer. If they didn’t, WWF wouldn’t be catering to those wants and needs. So, I look at it that way. Vince McMahon, he’s not a copier, he’s not an imitator. He’s an innovator and he’s a creator. And what you’re seeing basically is what the people want. And what you’re seeing down south is already what Vince McMahon provided back in the eighties.
Q: Would you rather go WCW?
Q: If you don’t like Canada so much, why have or did you live here so long?
A: First of all, you’ve got to take a chill pill and sit down and relax. Once again, you supposedly say that you are a smart fan, but obviously it just shows how ignorant you are. Once again, it is sports entertainment and the character you see on the television has nothing to do with the private life. Get off that shelf and smell the roses.
Q: Does your new royal peasant guy, Babu, have any wrestling experience? I heard he was in the ECW, also I saw him wrestle against Al Snow and Goldust, and he showed some experience, surprisingly. Of course, he couldn’t get the job done against Al, so you had to do all the work.
A: This is another fan that is very smart, and I appreciate having these type of questions. As you saw with Al Snow this past Monday night on RAW, the peasant there, my servant, man-servant Babu couldn’t get the job done so I had to go in there and get it done. Yes, what I’ve heard is that he has had some past experience in wrestling. But right now, he’s catering to my needs and my needs only so I don’t really care what happened in the past. Once and for all, he’s just my servant, just like the rest of the American peasants.
Q: Where exactly are you from. I overheard you speaking Punjabi on RAW. I was just curious.
Q: Well, we know you’re from Toronto, so let’s change that. What languages do you speak?
A: I speak many languages. I depends on the country that I’m in at that particular time. So if you ever get a chance to get to Holland, Greece or Germany, you’ll hear what Tiger’s saying.
Q: Tiger is a very funny guy, with all these little skits that he has, to see how far people will go for money. I was wondering when he will be considered for any title opportunities? The European belt would be a good start. And please start wrestling, and leave your Babu out of the wrestling ring.
G Savic, Edmonton
A: [Laughs] He’s my man-servant, so I can do whatever I want to do. If I feel like wrestling, that’s what I’ll do. If I don’t feel like wrestling, you know, that’s when I throw in my servant. When you have guys like a deviant peasant like Goldust and you have this other schizophrenic peasant like Al Snow, I don’t think that you’d want to get in the ring either to mix it up with these kind of barbaric animals. As far as it goes for a title shot, time will tell. Once again I have full confidence in the World Wrestling Federation. If I didn’t, I would not be here.
Q: What do you think about the Bret Hart incident in the WWF in last years’ Survivor Series in Montreal?
A: A big yawn. [yawns] It’s old news. Let’s get on with the time at hand.
Q: I’ve seen him wrestle twice and I must say he sucks. All he does is elbow drops, stomps,and restholds. Is this part of his character or is he really that bad?
A: I’ll tell you something. If I was really that bad, I wouldn’t be getting the millions that you dream about every night. Next question.
Q: It was nice seeing you in Cherry Hill, NJ on 10/24. I was the one and only Japanese fan there. Your father Tiger Jeet Singh is one of the greatest gaijin (foreign) wrestler in Japan. He is not only tough, mean, powerful but great technician. He is an unique. How did your father educate you as a son of Tiger?
Masanori Horie, Tokyo, Japan
A: Bottom line, old-school tactics.
Q: How do you think about Japanese style wrestling.
Masanori Horie, Tokyo, Japan
A: I’m a great admirer of it. I don’t really get the time that I had in the past to watch it, but I still have a lot of respect for the Japanese style. And it was kind of a downfall for me when I did come to the States my first year, Americanizing myself, because I was so much into the Japanese style. But that does not work, as everyone knows, in the United States of America.
Q: Who do you hang around with backstage, on the road?
A: I don’t hang around anyone. People hang around Tiger.
Q: Who are some of your friends in the wrestling business?
A: I have a lot of friends, but I’d rather keep it private.
Q: Hey Tiger were big fans of you here at the University of Waterloo, and were just wondering do you hate everyone that is non-Asian or are Canadians a exception, because we have always supported you at all the house show in Toronto.
A: Well, I appreciate that once again. Don’t mix up fact with fiction. Sports entertainment. Tiger Ali Singh is a sports entertainer. And my private life is my private life. And the private man loves everyone. I’m not racist or biased towards any sort of creed or colour. But Tiger Ali Singh, the WWF entertainer, obviously is biased and a little prejudiced when it comes to non-Asians. Don’t mix them both up. And I really appreciate the support.
Q: That’s it for the fan questions, but it does follow nicely into another question. Have you ever experienced much racism on the road?
Oh yes. The amount of racism, in particular even recently in the States, a lot of derogatory remarks, a lot of death threats. In Canada, though, because the heel side hasn’t come through on television, that I’m putting down Canadians, so it hasn’t been that bad in Canada. That the reason that I’m getting a lot of mixed reactions because still, a lot of people consider me to be a babyface, but then there’s the other 50% of the side that has seen the American bashing, and all of that. So they find me as a heel. But soon, hopefully sooner than later, we’ll get some TV air-time for Canadian shows on television, and it’ll be hardcore heel all around.
Q: Final thoughts for your fans?
A: To all those fans who supported me at the start, I appreciate it. It looks like the time has come now for retribution. All the fan support, it will soon be time to acknowledge that they really put their trust in someone who’s not false. Someone who is genuine, who is proud, is true to the sport. And also being born in Toronto, living in the suburbs of Milton, I’m really looking forward to, excited about the upcoming RAW is War, which is going to be live on February 8th. So all the Tiger supporters out there, I urge you all to come out there and I’ll make you proud. Peace and God bless for life.