More Than a Job
Whatever your chosen craft, vocation or profession, we all have work to do. In this series, Yahoo Singapore talks to individuals who have chosen unique, unconventional and distinctive careers. For some, it’s about passion. Others have a sense of duty. But for all of them, it’s more than a job.
When he was just 10 years old, Andruew Tang found his calling after he saw a tough-talking man who was wearing colourful spandex pants on TV: wrestling superstar Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
He finally fulfilled his childhood ambition in his twenties when he entered into the ring as a professional wrestler in Singapore.
In a recent interview with Yahoo Singapore, Tang recalled the day when “The Rock” – better known these days as a bankable Hollywood actor – dazzled TV audiences with his wrestling moves.
“I said (to myself) that this job is so cool and I hope one day I can step inside the ring, entertain the masses and control the crowd with the palm of my hand and generate so much emotions,” said Tang, now 27.
“I love this sport so much ever since I was a little boy and I told myself that this was something that I needed to do.”
The boyish-looking Tang, who goes by the moniker The Statement in the ring, is also the co-owner of Singapore Professional Wrestling (SPW), the only professional wrestling company in the Republic.
Yahoo Singapore spoke to Tang last month at a warehouse in Joo Seng, where he and several other wrestlers were busy training for their upcoming event, Wrestle the Odds II, at Tampines Changkat Community Centre on 10 December. Part of the proceeds from the event will be donated to charity.
While Tang may look like a tough wrestler with his trash-talking when facing a sparring partner, he is a soft-spoken person outside the ring.
Getting a bear hug from a Russian wrestler
Tang spoke about how he got his break in 2011 when he attended a talk organised by former professional wrestler, Vadim Koryagin, in Bugis. The Russian wanted to know from Singaporeans if the sport would take off here.
Since setting up IWF, the first pro-wrestling company in Russia, in 2002, Koryagin has trained over 300 wrestlers who have performed in Europe and Japan.
During the talk, Tang discussed with Koryagin about the future of the sport. A few days later, Koryagin made a proposal to Tang that the latter could not refuse: joining hands to start a professional wrestling company in Singapore.
Not long after pumping $20,000 to set up SPW in 2011, Tang turned professional and began to show his prowess in the rings around the region.
In 2014, he was crowned the Hong Kong wrestling champion to become the first Singaporean to win an international professional wrestling title. Tang has also won a Southeast Asian individual title and a Singapore tag-team title.
To date, SPW has organised 13 wrestling events in Singapore and one in Kuala Lumpur.
Having managed the events and secured three titles under his belt, the 1.62-metre tall Tang has set himself a towering goal – to position Singapore as a wrestling hub in Southeast Asia.
“People know us and we have big names in the wrestling circuits wanting to come to Singapore to wrestle.
“My next step is to make SPW more mainstream and it is definitely picking up with the number of fans attending our matches increasing since we first started,” said Tang, adding that each SPW event is able to attract up to 300 fans.
Given his unconventional childhood ambition, Tang is grateful for the support from his parents. When asked if they are worried each time he steps into the ring, Tang said that he is able to convince them that he can take care of himself.
“I told them that I train hard in the gym so that it won’t hurt so much each time I take a bump.
“They do come down for my matches and when they see how passionate I am in the ring, I think they are happy for me.”