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WWE SummerSlam: Jinder Mahal dreams big, targets multiple championships

Jinder Mahal’s run as World Wrestling Entertainment Champion has left him open to criticism, but the man from India doesn’t want to slow down any time soon and his victory at the WWE SummerSlam vs Shinsuke Nakamura is proof of that.

other sports Updated: Aug 21, 2017 11:49 IST
Sayan Ghosh
Sayan Ghosh
Hindustan Times, New York
Jinder Mahal,World Wrestling Entertainment,WWE SummerSlam
Jinder Mahal, who beat Shinsuke Nakamura vis pinfall to win the WWE Championship at SummerSlam, wants to ba a multi-time World Wrestling Entertainment champ and Hall of Famer. (WWE)

Jinder Mahal’s run as the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) champion has been a really divisive one when it comes to pro-wrestling fans. Most of them pointed to his surprising ascension being in direct correlation to WWE’s expansion into India and the push was not received well by experts. However, Jinder is not bothered by the criticism and is aspiring for big things in future.

“It has been a crazy journey for me in the company till now. But, it is just the beginning for me and I want to win multiple titles and, someday, become a part of the legendary Hall of Fame,” Jinder told Hindustan Times ahead of his WWE Summerslam match against Shinshuke Nakamura. On Sunday night, Jinder beat Nakamura via pinfall to win the WWE Championship with ease.

The road to stardom has been tricky for the Indian-origin wrestler who made his debut for the company in 2011. In the beginning, he was booked in a feud with compatriot The Great Khali but after a lacklustre show, he was released by the company in 2014. That could have been the end of his WWE dream, but Jinder believes that the setback was actually a boon for him.

(READ | Jinder Mahal, the immigrant who became the ‘Modern Day Maharaja’)

“I had become complacent in my last run in WWE. I was not happy with my position and instead of working hard and getting out of it, I thought that it would just pass. Ultimately, I learned that was the kiss of death. 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.”

However, since his return, Jinder Mahal has been a force to reckon with. He was the last person to be eliminated in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 33 and then, he defeated five other wrestlers to earn a shot at the WWE title. But, the crowning moment of his career came in May when he became the 50th recognised WWE champion.

(READ | Becky Lynch wants bigger and better things for women’s wrestling in WWE)

When asked about his inspiration in this process, Jinder was all praise for his mentor The Great Khali, who trained him and made him a part of his own promotion -- Continental Wrestling Championship.

“The Great Khali is a legend in this business and I want to follow in his footsteps. He has always been like an old (elder) brother to me and he has guided me a lot both in life and in my career.”

India has always been a huge consumer of professional wrestling, but the one thing missing was the presence of local talent in the company. Although Jinder hails from Calgary, he is immensely proud of his Punjabi heritage and he promised that he will soon be visiting India with his title belt.

“I know that WWE is working very hard to organise a couple of live shows in India and I would love to take the WWE championship back to India. It is not something that has happened before and I believe that it will motivate the Indian youth to follow their dreams,” Jinder said.

First Published: Aug 20, 2017 18:47 IST