The name of Ayez Shaukat-Fonseka Farid is no stranger to the Malaysia Wrestling community. Has been active in the film and stunt industry for over 13 years—Ayez has performed as stuntman in numerous high profile movies including Sangkar, Juvana 2 & 3 and Jagat. He later started to spread his wings to the pro wrestling profession in the year 2013, bringing his stunt background to a much greater accomplishment and successfully founded Malaysia Pro Wrestling (MYPW). Serves as both the talent and head coach.
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In public, he is more notable as his stage name, Shaukat—which is known to be the main protagonist in wrestling, but at home, nothing thrills him more than to spend his time with his two kids and wife. We spoke to Ayez Shaukat to learn more about the misconception of wrestling, how he stays in shape and his greatest accomplishments of all, being a father.
How did you decide on your profession? At what age did you decide you wanted to be a pro wrestler?
As far as my memory serves me, I remember wanting to be a pro wrestler all my life. Literally from when I was a little boy, I’ve always had my eyes set on becoming a pro wrestler – despite all the objections and ridicules.
What was it like training and making your way to become one of the well-known pro wrestlers, a coach and the founder of Malaysian Pro Wrestling? What have been your greatest obstacles?
Training for pro wrestling is no joke. People have the misconception that pro wrestling is easy to do, does not require skill, as it is “just an act”. Little do they know to become a pro wrestler you must train and become physically fit like an athlete and condition your body to receive punishment because no ordinary person would be able to withstand the toll the body takes while performing. Imagine having to purposely slam yourself to the mat, and get thrown on purpose over and over again just to entertain the audience. Not only do you have to be conditioned and fit, but you will have to train to be athletic and improve your charisma, visual storytelling, and acting skills as well. I am a proud coach of all the Malaysian wrestlers in existence today.
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And according to Ayez, as co-director and head coach, he had proudly produced some of the world class pro wrestling performers such as Nor “Phoenix” Diana and Emman “The Kid” and of course, more to come. But one of the biggest obstacles they need to undergo constantly is to get more recognition and funding, and how it basically much hinders their opportunity to grow and scale up.
To become a pro wrestler you must train and become physically fit and condition your body to receive punishment because no ordinary person would be able to withstand the toll the body takes while performing
Pro wrestling is a form of entertainment first and foremost, and not an actual combat sport. But like all types of entertainment, there’s an art form that drives the performance. And most importantly, as a sportsman, you’ll have to be strong enough to deal with some cuts and bruises—including injuries.
Have you had to deal with any injuries along the way?
Plenty. Due to the wear and tear, I have patellar tendinitis in both knees. My left kneecap was dislocated once and after that another 13 times with frequent subluxation till today. I also suffer from chronic lower back pain and sometimes piriformis creeps in. One of the worst was suffering a concussion during a match.
Do you ever get tired of constantly working shows?
Never. If I have to perform even every single day back to back, I will do it with no complaints. It is my passion to go out there in the ring to entertain the audience. Yes, it is exhausting and painful, especially after having 20 to 30 minute matches – however it is all worth it when I am able to evoke emotions of the audience – it gives me a sense of fulfilment.
You did mention about your physique transformation when you landed a role in Sangkar. What types of struggles have you dealt with while trying to lose weight?
When I was in Sangkar, I was overweight. Close to 90kgs, big gut, man boobs and high body fat percentage of 25%. During the shoot where I was shooting a cameo role as “the fat man who beat the hero”, I dislocated my knee while shooting the fight scene. That was when I knew I had to do something about it. One year later of precise nutritioning and intense training I dropped to 70kg with 13% body fat, looking shredded.
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At 32 years old, and setting aside Ayez’s many successes as a public figure and professional athlete, his life’s most defining moments have always been those that involve his family. His daily routines usually would include a total 3 hours of training and working out, followed by executing his side projects and businesses. But, if there’s no work, he’d be more than happy to spend his time with his kids and wife, watching movies at home.
Would you see the possibility of having your profession been carried or passed on to your children?
100% up to them. I will support whatever their decisions are when they grow up, and offer advice where it’s possible. I believe everyone should be able to leave their lives their own way, on their own accord because that’s what makes us grow as individuals and helps us to discover ourselves.
What are the greatest sacrifices you have made for your family?
I was once offered to sign with a huge USA pro wrestling company in 2016. However I turned down the offer as my daughter was just a year old and my wife was pregnant with our 2nd child at that point. It was a huge opportunity “blown”, but I always believe if I keep working hard enough, I will eventually make it again.
To your kids, what do you want to be remembered for?
A loving father who did everything in his power to make them happy and live the life that they deserve – even if it means giving everything that I have for them, and working myself to death. I want them to remember how they were loved, and often reminded to show kindness and compassion and build a sense of empathy.
I want them to remember how they were loved, and often reminded to show kindness and compassion and build a sense of empathy
Having gone to America to learn and improve his skills under the guidance and syllabus of Dr Tom Prichard, the first head of WWE Developmental Programme, who has trained the likes of Kurt Angle, Val Venis, The Rock and Dolph Ziggler. By 2015, Ayez had set up Malaysia Pro Wrestling Developmental Centre, a training school where he and his team train new generations of Malaysian wrestlers. Fast forward to years later, MYPW have raised the ante in local professional wrestling with building the best homegrown talents, putting a five star match against opponents from Singapore and Thailand.
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Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?
With me joining the Reality of Wrestling in Houston, Texas (making me the first Southeast Asian pro wrestler to make it to US TV) – I only see myself progressing exponentially within 10 years. Probably own my own fitness gym in Malaysia, wrestling in bigger companies In the states and establish my name in the worldwide level of the pro wrestling industry.
What is your best piece of advice for those just starting with wrestling? Or those who would like to be a part of it, but not sure where to start.
Just start. Too many people, not just in wrestling, procrastinate too much. What if this, what if that. Stop seeking approval of others and trying to make others happy. Stop pulling yourself down and denying yourself the opportunity for you to be happy and live the life you want. Think about YOURSELF and Just START.
Last but not least, if you could choose any three (3) wrestling matches to watch live, what would it be?
I cannot pinpoint to specifically 3 matches as there are plenty of great ones, but I would suggest to watch matches of the greats back from the golden era to the attitude era of WWE. Those guys back in the days were masters of storytelling and making the audience react exactly the way they want to – that was what made wrestling such a phenomenon during those eras.