Professional wrestler Kowboy Mike Hughes of Stratford, P.E.I., is back from India, and has quite a story to tell — one involving riots, military escorts and police motorcades.
"It's a totally different perspective," said Hughes of the over 115,000 people who came out to his matches during a two-week tour. "They are not looking at it as we're going to be entertained tonight. They look at it as we're going to support our guy, who is representing India, fight these guys from another country."
'They still believe, which I think is fantastic,'
- Kowboy Mike Hughes
Hughes was part of a group of 20 super heavyweight grapplers.
The group drew attention everywhere it went from crowds who believe the story lines the wrestlers weave.
"They still believe, which I think is fantastic," Hughes told Island Morning. "Because that's why those crowds are as big as they are."
But that belief in wrestlers' performance is also where the trouble started.
A foreigner beat Indian wrestling legend Dalip Singh Rana, known as The Great Khali — a world champion who came out of retirement to take on the foreigners.
"They rioted," Hughes said of the night a crowd of 30,000 watched The Great Khali lose. "They were throwing rocks the size of lemons or softballs."
It took the military to get the wrestlers to safety, and as word got out crowds searched out where the wrestlers were staying.
Military escorts and machine guns
Hughes spent four days confined to his hotel, and had a military escort for the rest of his tour.
"Not only did we have to be under military guard we had to have three or four people with us and one of the rules was one of the guys had to have a machine gun."
Police escorted Hughes to the gym, vans carrying the wrestlers were mobbed, the group could not stop for a restroom break without people appearing out of nowhere.
'Such an incredible feeling'
Hughes wouldn't trade the experience for anything.
"When you're in an 18-foot square ring and all of the people are right to probably ten feet away from that ring, and all of the energy and all of the focus is directed at those two people it is such an incredible feeling."
So much so Hughes is signed to go back to India in May for another tour.
First, Kowboy will do what he's know for on P.E.I., helping others, he has a wrestling card scheduled for April 8th in Stratford to benefit the Children's Wish Foundation.