Rohit Raju explains his mindset surrounding his in-ring name and discusses being in good shape at this stage of his career.
Raju, also known as Hakim Zane, spent several years with IMPACT Wrestling and became a featured member of the X-Division; in 2020, he won the X-Division Championship. Raju entered free agency when his contract expired in January 2022. Since then, the 42-year old has competed for numerous promotions on the independent scene, including AAW and Glory Pro, and he has worked a few AEW Dark tapings.
In an interview with Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful, Raju discussed the usage of his two names. He noted that, at first, the "Rohit Raju" name didn't have any value, but he eventually built it up, which is why he wanted to keep using it. Raju noted that he still uses Hakim Zane at AAW shows, but he might fully switch to Raju at some poon.
"Yes. For the longest time I was using Hakim Zane because at IMPACT, when I first there, I was nobody. I was jobbing left and right, left and right. I was like, ‘Nobody wants Rohit Raju on the show.’ There was no value there. I remember Scott asking, ‘Why don’t you use Rohit?’ I told him flat out, ‘Because there’s no value. I don’t do anything here. There’s no value.’ As soon as they flipped the switch and then I flipped the switch, I built the name up and was like, ‘Hey, can I still use this name?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, man. Go ahead.’ I wanted to keep it because I helped make that into something and so I didn’t want to give that up. So now only at AAW do I use Hakim Zane, but even that I might retire soon and just use Rohit Raju. It’s a name that people know. It’s a name that people recognize. It’s a name I worked really hard on developing and building up and I would like to keep that," Raju said.
Raju went on to describe how he's practically aging in reverse. He noted that he feels like he's 17,and having good energy keeps him young. Raju also addressed critics who say he can't wrestle a certain way because he's old by stating that he moves better than some younger guys.
"I’m 107 years old. I feel like I’m 17 years old. I’m jacked out of my mind forever. You young punks don’t look like me. I’m a walking bag of money. But no, man, life can beat you up at times. But it’s the energy. I love being around people with good energy. Some people are negative and life is beating them up. I’ve been there. I like to help those people. I like to talk to those people and hopefully they can get through it. I like to be around people like my small circle, they help me out and we laugh and we cry and we joke. To me, having that positive energy, living and not existing, that keeps me young, man. That and I’m always in the gym 24/7. Everyone’s like, ‘Well, I don’t know if you can wrestle this because you’re old.’ Man, get that out of here. I work and my cardio and the way I look, the way I move is better than some guys that are way younger than me. It always will be just because I don’t think like that. I just do it. I just go out there and try to kick butt, man. I don’t know what it is, man. It’s these genes. That’s what it is. Mocha skinned man with genes, baby. I don’t know. I don’t know what it is." Raju said
In the same interview, Raju described how he loves professional wrestling, and he just wants to entertain. Check put his comments here. [Update once interview is live.]
Raju previously reflected on his rivalry with Jordynne Grace. Click here to see what he had to say.
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