How WWE champion Jinder Mahal was left starstruck after meeting Sachin Tendulkar
Jinder Mahal, the reigning World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) champion, is no stranger to high-profile opponents. During the course of his title reign, he has already defeated industry stalwarts like Randy Orton, AJ Styles and Shinshuke Nakamura. However, the Indo-Canadian wrestler was left completely starstruck when he met his childhood hero - cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar.
Jinder Mahal, who is currently in India to promote the upcoming live event of the WWE, visited Sachin Tendulkar’s house to personally invite him to the WWE Live show, which will take place in New Delhi on December 8-9.
It is a huge occasion for Jinder as he is a big cricket fan himself and was over the moon after spending time with the ‘Master Blaster’.
“When I was a kid, my father got me a bat from India which was very similar to what Sachin (Tendulkar) used to play with at that time. The gift was very special for me as I was a huge fan of Sachin and meeting him was like a dream come true for me,” Jinder told Hindustan Times.
“I was fortunate to meet him at his house and his son Arjun, who is a big WWE fan, was also there. I want him to be my special guest and it will be awesome to perform in front of him,” he added.
For the Canada-born Jinder Mahal, visiting India is sort of like a homecoming. He was born to Punjabi parents in Calgary and although he did not visit India before 1996, it was his parents’ stories that taught him about the country and its culture.
“My parents moved to Calgary before my birth and they had a lot of fond memories of this country. As a result, they used to talk a lot about India and that is how, I learnt about my heritage. Funnily enough, I learnt Punjabi much before I could speak in English,” he said with a broad smile.
Jinder Mahal’s WWE journey has been full of twists and turns. He joined the company in 2012, but a lacklustre run led to his departure from the company. However, his second stint has been quite successful till now and Jinder believes that his departure has helped him in becoming a better wrestler.
“In this company, you can never be complacent. I was losing focus during my stint with WWE and I had to pay the price. Going away was probably the best thing that happened to me as it helped me regroup and concentrate on my craft and that is one of the big reasons behind my success.”