When Jinder Mahal was released from WWE in 2014, not many would have foreseen him becoming the 50th WWE Champion in just over three years and headline a WWE live event alongside WWE legend Triple H. Mahal’s 2017 run as champion started when he defeated Randy Orton at WWE Backlash and held the title for a combined 170 days, and even though he dropped the title to AJ Styles and was pushed back to the mid-card, Mahal remains the focal point of WWE’s sustained push to enter the Indian market.
However, during the pandemic Mahal was dealt a severe blow, undergoing to back-to-back knee surgeries that ruled him out of action for nearly a year. And now, the 24-year-old from Calgary, Alberta, Canada is set for a return and similar to his 2017 run, he finds himself in the spotlight once again, headlining WWE Superstar Spectacle, a two-hour television special event on January 26 for India featuring Indian superstars alongside Superstars and Legends from Raw, SmackDown and NXT. Mahal admits that winning the championship was a satisfying moment, but he is still hungry to accomplish more.
“I was very happy with my accomplishment especially after getting released in 2014 and coming back and within 10 months I was a WWE champion. I don’t think anyone has done that, it has to be some kind of a record,” Mahal told News.18.com. “I have many goals still and although I am satisfied with winning the WWE Championship and proud of myself, but I am still very hungry to accomplish more.”
For Mahal longevity is the key to success and he wants to follow the career trajectory of other WWE superstars who have had long careers in pro-wrestling. “Big Show, for instance, look at how many evolutions he has undergone, same with the Undertaker. Just seeing those guys is super inspiring and I know this is a part of the journey and I am looking forward to it. In the future, holding the Intercontinental championship, tag team champions -- I want to be a grand slam champion -- may hold the Universal championship.
“Besides, just the transformation I made, the growth that has occurred not just personally, but professionally has been tremendous and I am very proud of that. Being a WWE superstar and having longevity, you have to constantly recreate yourself. For me, going from being partnered with Great Khali, to 3MB, to WWE champion and then doing something like 24/7 championship, you see so many different sides of me and that is the key to longevity.” said Mahal.
Headlining WWE Superstar Spectacle and being the flag-bearer for Indian origin superstars in the company reaffirms the faith WWE has shown in Mahal since his return in 2017 and this, along with the prospect of representing WWE inspires Mahal to keep giving his 100 per cent.
“Just my goal motivates me, I want to win championships. I am inspired by the like of Triple H, Undertaker - someone like Mark Henry Inspires me because when I started in WWE, he was the centrepiece in the Locker Room, people used to go to him for advice. Having longevity, having a long career, representing India, WWE universe inspires me. Having events like WWE Superstar Spectacle inspire me. WWE is constantly growing and is pushing the envelope and becoming bigger and bigger. Going all around the globe and performing in different countries and representing the brand and India -- all of these things inspire me.
And for fans and people tuning in to watch WWE Superstar Spectacle, Mahal had this to say: “Thank you guys for the all the support and love you have shown me especially through my rehab and recovery and I promise to give you guys best version of the Modern day Maharaja’. It is going to be an awesome event, a family event and you are going to see Indian talent and this show is going to be the first of many to come”.
WWE Superstar Spectacle featuring the best of WWE's Indian Superstars alongside Superstars and Legends from Raw, SmackDown and NXT to premiere on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 And Sony Max Channels on January 26, 2021.