Gadowar Singh Sahota (born December 8, 1954) is an Indian / Canadian semi-retired professional wrestler known as Gama Singh and Great Gama currently signed with IMPACT Wrestling. Sahota was a villainous mainstay and top attraction in Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling in Calgary for much of the 1970s and 1980s. Sahota also wrestled internationally in Japan, South Africa, Germany, Kuwait, Dubai, Oman, Australia, the United States and the Caribbean. He also worked sporadically, mostly on overseas tours, for Vince McMahon and the WWE from 1980-86. His nephew is former WWE Champion Jinder Mahal.
Early life Edit
His father emigrated to Canada from India, with his family joining him in 1963. Sahota went to school in Merritt, British Columbia and excelled in amateur wrestling.
Professional wrestling career Edit
Training, Stampede Wrestling and Karachi Vice Edit
In the early 1970s Sahota met Bill Persack, an old time wrestler at a Vancouver YMCA; Persack had watched him wrestle in the amateur ranks and agreed to train him. Training Singh for six months, Persack suggested he go to Calgary, Alberta and Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling to further his career. Upon moving to Calgary and meeting with Stu Hart, Sahota began training with Carlos Colon, debuting in Stampede Wrestling in 1973. He would first compete under his own name, but by 1974 would take on the name Great Gama, in reference to the great Indian star at the turn of the 20th century.
Beginning his wrestling career in 1973, Gama Singh was one of the most hated wrestlers of all time in the Stampede Wrestling Territory. Singh would first find success in the tag team ranks, winning Stampede's Tag Championship on two occasions, before going on to feud with the Dynamite Kid, taking the Mid-Heavyweight title from him in a ladder match. His most famous championship run, however, would be with Stampede Wrestling's British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Championship, which he would win six times in the 1980s; with title victories over future renowned stars such as Davey Boy Smith, Owen Hart and Chris Benoit.
Also in the 1980s Gama was a founding member and leader of the hated Karachi Vice stable, which also included Makhan Singh, Steve DiSalvo, Vokhan Singh, Kerry Brown, Rhonda Singh, Ron Starr and managers JR Foley and Abu Wizal. A much reviled play on the popular '80s TV series Miami Vice and the city of Karachi in Pakistan; the Karachi Vice would dominate Stampede Wrestling in the late 1980s, becoming a cult sensation within Calgary. In an era when wrestling was treated as a real sport rather than spectacle, Gama Singh incensed much hatred as a wrestling villain in Calgary, receiving racist threats and often encountered people swearing at him on the street. Stampede Wrestling would be purchased by Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Entertainment in 1984, but return under Bruce Hart running with Gama as one of the top attractions until 1990.
World Wrestling Federation Edit
In the early eighties, Vince K. McMahon widely expanded the WWF and was looking for an Indian wrestler to work on various tours in the Middle East. Gama Singh began working for Jack Tunney in Toronto and then worked several overseas tours for the WWF in Kuwait, Dubai, Oman, Australia and Hawaii. While in the United States in 1984/1985, Singh would mostly compete in undercard matches on WWF house shows. He would, however, appear on WWF television defeating Johnny Rodz on Prime Time Wrestling, and also appear on the June 27th, 1985 edition of WWF's Tuesday Night Titans; interviewed by McMahon and accompanied by an Indian Rock Python.
NWA: All-Star Wrestling Edit
Aside from Stampede Wrestling, and his later WWF tours, Gama Singh spent much of the late 1970s in Vancouver's All-Star Wrestling. He mostly competed in tag team bouts with partners such as Guy Mitchell and Buck Zumhofe; culminating in a tag title win with partner Igor Volkoff.
International career Edit
Apart from competing in the odd NWA affiliated promotion in the United States; Singh also took part in several tours of NJPW in Japan in the late 1970s, often teaming with Tiger Jeet Singh, and taking on greats such as Tatsumi Fujinami, Seiji Sakaguchi and Riki Choshu. At various times in his career, Gama worked for WWC and various other promotions in the Caribbean as well; once winning the WWC Caribbean Heavyweight Championship from Ciclon Negro in Puerto Rico in 1980. He would also prove very popular in South Africa, engaging in tours which included bouts against his friend Bad News Allen; and also competed for WPW in Germany in the mid-1990s, teaming with longtime associate "Champagne" Gerry Morrow.
Semi retirement Edit
Singh still wrestled on occasion in later years, mainly overseas in WWC, but also in promotions such as Can-Am Wrestling, CNWA, Rocky Mountain Wrestling, Tokyo-Pro, ECCW, IWA, ICW, WECW, PWA, and revived versions of Stampede Wrestling.
IMPACT Wrestling (2018–present) Edit
In 2018, Singh signed a deal with IMPACT Wrestling as a manager. It was later announced he would be forming a brand new stable playing off his old Karachi Vice stable called the Desi Hit Squad. Members include Rohit Raju, Gursinder Singh, Vikas Kumar and Bhupinder Singh.
Personal life Edit
Gama started investing money in real estate eventually becoming a renowned real estate developer in Calgary. His brother Akam would also become a professional wrestler, as would his son, wrestling as Gama Singh Jr. debuting in 2004. His nephew Raj Singh Dhesi, would go on to worldwide fame in the WWE, as Jinder Mahal and win the WWE Championship in 2017.
In wrestling Edit
- Finishing moves
- Camel clutch
- Cobra clutch
- Greeting from Mumbai (Knockout punch)
- Signature moves
- High crossbody block
- Inverted atomic drop
- John Foley
- KC Houston
- Wrestlers managed
- Entrance themes
- IMPACT Wrestling
- "Monsoon Conquest" by Marc Layton-Bennett (used as a member of the Desi Hit Squad)
- IMPACT Wrestling
Wrestlers trained Edit
- Jason Anderson
- Jinder Mahal
Championships and accomplishments Edit
- Central States Wrestling
- NWA Central States Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Bob Brown
- NWA All-Star Wrestling
- NWA Canadian Tag Team Championship (Vancouver) (1 time)
- Stampede Wrestling
- NWA International Tag Team Championship (Calgary) (2 times) - with Ed Morrow (1) and Crary Stevenson (1)
- Stampede British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Championship (6 times)
- Stampede World Mid-Heavyweight Championship (3 times)
- World Wrestling Council
- WWC Caribbean Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- WWC Trinidad and Tobago Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Victor Jovica