June 9, 2005
Sonjay Dutt a Cup playa
By JOHN MILNER - SLAM! Wrestling
REAL NAME: Retech Bhalla
"I think it's a great event for a great cause. This is my second time (competing in the Peterson Cup) and I'm very happy to be a part of something like this," Sonjay said during a recent interview with SLAM! Wrestling "I look at it in a 100% positive light and nothing can hurt that fact."
Trained by Larry Sharpe, Dutt debuted in 2000 against Sean Lei and Dirty Money in a Three-Way Dance. He looks back on the match and remembers thinking "I was just so excited to be able to have my first match. I didn't care about anything else, my first match was about to happen. All those years dreaming and thinking of that moment had come to fruition."
Wrestling in a tournament is nothing new to Dutt, who wrestled in no fewer than six tournaments in his break-out year of 2003, including Best of the Best 3, MLW J Cup USA, Jersey J Cup, Ted Petty Invitational and X Title Triple Chance.
"It's different because you have to focus on the final goal and that usually involved wrestling multiple times in one night."
2003 would also mark Dutt's first entry into the Jeff Peterson Cup, where he lost to Reckless Youth, who would go on to win the tournament.
Despite the loss, Dutt has good memories of his participation in the tournament.
"I just remember being happy to be a part of history and wrestling one of the all time bests."
Dutt refers to 2003 as his "breakout year."
"I began to wrestle full-time and got to travel to other countries and work for every major independent, not to mention debut with TNA."
Dutt would go on to capture several championships during the year, including the CSWF Tag Team Titles, the IWA Mid South Light heavyweight championship, the CZW Junior Heavyweight Championship, the NWA Virginia Jr Impact championship and the MLW Junior Heavyweight Championship.
Dutt declines to place any one of those championships above the other, stating that "All titles are special."
In the fall of 2003, Dutt would begin competing for NWA-TNA and has fine things to say about the organization. "It was a great learning experience."
In addition to competing in the X-Division, Sonjay was part of Team TNA (with Elix Skipper and Chris Sabin) which, on February 11, 2004, squared off against Team AAA, an experience, Dutt termed "fun, working with the AAA guys was a highlight for me, as I had the opportunity to learn more lucha."
In addition to TNA, Dutt continues to wrestle for such independent promotions as Ring of Honor, Jersey All-Pro Wrestling and Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW). In fact, Dutt's reign as CZW World Junior Heavyweight Champion began on December 13, 2003 and didn't end until January 8, 2005 at the hands of Alex Shelley.
Dutt has also wrestled in Japan where he is known as "the American Monkey." On May 8th of this year, Dutt suffered a shoulder injury during the Differ Cup Tag Tournament in Tokyo. He continued to wrestle, appearing at three HUSTLE events the following week. The pain became too much for Dutt and he returned to the United States, forcing him to miss the ZERO ONE Max Jr Tournament that began on May 20th.
Despite the injury, Dutt says that, as far as the Peterson Cup goes, "Either way, I will be there." His first round opponent will be Todd Sexton. Dutt is anticipates the match, saying "I'm looking forward to a good tough challenge."
Dutt even appeared on the edition of the March 10th edition of WWE Smackdown from Roanoke, Virginia, although not as a wrestler. Instead, he and C.W. Anderson were used as security guards during some of the angles.
"I was booked since it was local to me, but they had no dark matches that evening."
Having worked for independent companies such as Ring of Honor and CZW, being a regular on TNA broadcasts and traveling to Japan, Sonjay Dutt has one word when asked what his future holds:
John Milner is SLAM! Wrestling's resident biographies writer, and loves to push wrestling books onto people during his day job in London, Ontario. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.