Driven by doubters, WWE champion Jinder Mahal determined to cement his own legacy | other sports | Hindustan Times
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Driven by doubters, WWE champion Jinder Mahal determined to cement his own legacy

Jinder Mahal was the first wrestler of Indian descent to win the WWE Championship and he intends to become a better celebrity than company legend John Cena.

other sports Updated: Oct 17, 2017 20:11 IST
Sidharth Gulati
Sidharth Gulati
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Jinder Mahal will face Kevin Owens in the upcoming WWE live show in New Delhi on December 8.
Jinder Mahal will face Kevin Owens in the upcoming WWE live show in New Delhi on December 8.(Twitter)

Jinder Mahal’s run as the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) champion has been a subject of controversy among wrestling fans.

Most of them have pointed to his surprising rise to be the result of WWE’s expansion into India and his ascension hasn’t been received well by experts. But Jinder, the 50th WWE Champion and the first wrestler of Indian descent to win the title, isn’t bothered by all this and is focused on becoming the person he has always wanted to be.

“See, everybody always says Jinder Mahal is the WWE Champion because of the company’s expansion into India. When I made my debut in 2011, WWE India was a huge part of the WWE audience. But I truly believe I deserve this opportunity. Even when I came back, I wasn’t brought back directly to the main roster. I was on Superstars or Main Event every week. I had to prove myself to Vince McMahon, Triple H,” Jinder Mahal told Hindustan Times.

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“Every single day I’m motivated. I want to prove my doubters wrong. When you’ve doubters, it’s a sign that you are doing something right. I welcome the doubters and I want to prove them all wrong.”

The road to the top hasn’t been easy for the India-origin wrestler. After being released from WWE in 2014, he returned to the promotion two years later with an immense difference in his physique and in-ring ability. Jinder Mahal received a push post WrestleMania 33 and it was at Backlash in May that ‘The Modern Day Maharaja’ defeated Randy Orton for the WWE Championship.

Jinder then went on to beat Orton in the Punjabi Prison Match at Battleground and extended his reign as the champion after getting the better of Shinshuke Nakamura at Summerslam and Hell in a Cell.

Jinder is well aware of the responsibilities that come with holding one of the most prestigious titles in the history of sports entertainment and aspires for big things in future.

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“Being a WWE champion is more than what you see. It’s a 24-hour job. There are huge responsibilities. Everywhere I go, I’m representing the rich heritage of this title, along with a billion dollar company like WWE. I’m now matured enough as a person and as a performer too to carry this responsibility. This is all I’ve ever wanted to be in my entire life,” he said.

“I idolize guys like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, The Rock, John Cena. Just look what Cena does outside of the ring, like the Make-A-Wish foundation and what he is doing with movies. Right now, he is one of the most recognizable faces in the entire world. That’s where I want to be. I want to be a bigger star than John Cena. That’s what drives me every single day. That’s my goal.”

Jinder Mahal, who’ll defend his title against Kevin Owens at the WWE Live Event in New Delhi in December, said this event is the ‘pinnacle’ for him and is proud to bring the WWE Championship to the Indian soil.

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“It’s huge, I mean these two events are blockbuster. First time ever history is going to be made. First ever WWE Champion of Indian descent bringing the WWE Championship to the Indian soil. These two events are the pinnacle for me personally.

“Unfortunately, I wasn’t with the WWE when the last time they came here. On personal note, I’m very excited. My family would be there. I just can’t wait. I want to represent India. I want to prove to Kevin Owens exactly why I’m the WWE Champion,” he concluded.