Lance Von Erich, a retired American professional wrestler and WCCW legend, was in India in 1993 when the country was dealing with national unrest. The former wrestler was on a train that was blown up a few days after the Babri Masjid was demolished, he claimed in a recent interview.
Participating in the Indo-Asian Wrestling event, Von Erich was required to travel between New Delhi, Mumbai and Jalandhar. On a recent episode of Wrestling Inc. Daily, Von Erich narrated the incident when a coach of their train got bombed.
“We were traveling on a train on the day the mosque was demolished. There were a few bombings across India and we happened to be on one of the trains that got blown up,” he said.
“Luckily, we were in first class and they bombed the mail coach of the train. When we looked out, we could see all the letters flying out. Nobody from our section got hurt, but it was an interesting day,” he said.
Von Erich claimed he and fellow wrestlers even had a ‘fatwa’ issued against them while traveling in India. “During the two weeks we were in India, we had all these bodyguards with us. They advised us to not stick our heads out of the bus, and we found out later on that we had a fatwa issued against us. They wanted to kill the wrestlers. We didn’t find out about that until much later.”
Explaining the reason behind the fatwa, Von Erich said, “They just looked at us as foreigners. We were going up north to Punjab [Jalandhar] and there was a lot of unrest there. It amazed us because we wondered, ‘why would you target us?’ Or anybody for that matter.”
Vincent Berry has written about Von Erich’s experience in India as well as other stories — involving a plain hijacking and riding a bicycle from Zimbabwe to Congo — in his new book ‘Lance By Chance: Wrestling As A Von Erich’.
Berry said, “It was not a relation of the mosque incident but since they [the wrestlers] were high profile, they were targeted in that aspect… A lot of people thought his wrestling career was over after he left Dallas [WCCW] but he had the longest part of his career overseas, and you’ll find stories like the Indian train bombing.”