Written by John Worsey
Not long ago, Rishi Ghosh spent his days as a social worker, selflessly supporting vulnerable people to live fuller lives. But by night, he transforms into the dastardly Prince of Mumbai. Dressed in ostentatious regal robes, this conceited villain selfishly scours Britain’s wrestling rings; ruining other competitors’ dreams in the quest for personal glory.
Last year, the Prince of Mumbai won five championships, two trophies, a whole lot of boos… and a bellyful of laughs. Because for all his villainy, his real goal is entertainment.
“I’m a comedy villain,” Rishi explains, out of character, over a pot of tea in his Southsea home. “How comical it gets depends on who I’m working with. All crowds are different, so how are you going to deliver what they like and get them to make noise?”
He might carry off those robes like he was born to wear them, but Rishi was actually born right here in Portsmouth. He learned to wrestle here too, training 10 hours a week from the age of 15, at the old Frontier Wrestling Alliance Academy, under Mark Sloan. Several Academy alumni, including current WWE NXT Champion Drew McIntyre, have gone on to global careers.
Today, Rishi’s in-ring career spans eight promotions, including Revolution Pro Wrestling (RPW) which runs shows at Portsmouth Guildhall, the Mountbatten Centre and around the UK. He recently stepped away from social work to focus on training tomorrow’s aspiring pro wrestlers. As well as being one of the trainers at the RPW Portsmouth School of Wrestling, which runs regular classes for all ages in Fratton, he also has a flourishing business offering one-to-one tuition.
Since he started providing personal wrestling training in April, three of Rishi’s trainees have already made their professional debuts. Two had never wrestled before! “I’m unbelievably proud of their dedication, hard work and how they handle themselves as human beings.”
Rishi also works as a disability sports coach, which means he can help people with all kinds of physicality perform at their best. “Some of my trainees want to be pro wrestlers and take it very seriously. Others are fans and just want to give it a go. I make sure they have a good workout, learn great techniques and have fun. Some are natural athletes, some aren’t, but the main ingredient is dedication. If you want to make it to the circuit, you’ve got to be training in the ring at least once a week and honing your craft. There are so many different aspects to it – character, psychology, technical wrestling, moves, sequences, timing. Showmanship is a huge part of it.”
A consummate showman himself, Rishi says, “I used to be embarrassed to tell people I was a pro wrestler, but wrestling has become cool. It’s never been so big in Britain in my lifetime.”
If you’re interested in getting to grips with grappling, you can find Rishi on Facebook by searching for “Pro Wrestling Training – Private sessions” or find RPW Academy classes at portsmouthwrestling.com.