Bengaluru, July 19: Indian WWE Superstar Yuvraj Singh Dhesi, born on July 19, 1986, is unlike any other in the WWE. With fans all over the world including popular ones ranging from cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar and his son, to Bollywood star Varun Dhawan, the world knows him as Jinder Mahal; but his journey has been tumultuous, to say the least.
The Superstar joined WWE in 2010 making his debut on main roster the following year, however, he was released in 2014. Mahal returned to WWE two years later, with a fitter, stronger and ready to win approach. He proved his mettle at WrestleMania 33 by beating Randy Orton at Backlash in May 2017 for the WWE Championship. Mahal thus became the 50th WWE Champion and the first WWE Superstar of Indian descent to win the coveted title before falling prey to a knee injury.
Jinder grew up speaking Punjabi at home while imbibing a different culture abroad. Even in the 1980s, wrestling was a constant, given that his uncle, Gama Singh, was a professional wrestler himself. So alongside chasing a college degree, Mahal started training and competing, exploring anything that came his way, which has always kept him rooted to the ground.
Soon enough, he was turning up as Tiger Raj Singh in Stampede Wrestling, founded by Calgary local Stu Hart, whose best-known legacy are his children, 1990s' heart-throbs Bret and Owen Hart. Jinder thus earned his big break in the WWE in 2011.
Given its rich tradition, chasing wrestling in Calgary was akin to kicking a football in Kolkata. Back then, another Indian wrestler, the 7ft 1-inch Great Khali, who was making waves with his beastly presence, took Mahal under his tutelage to spice up affairs in the ring.
While wrestling took center stage, so did all things "Indian". Mahal stepped into the arena in a dazzling sherwani, which soon made way for a different spandex attire and Punjabi rants.
However, in 2014, when Mahal was out of contract with WWE, it was time to self-evaluate and understand where he was going wrong. Jinder Mahal's WWE journey has been full of twists and turns.
"The Jinder Mahal you see now is totally different. I think going away was the best thing that happened to me-I re-evaluated myself. I got motivated again, focused and more determined because I knew that the WWE is a place that rewards hard work," said Jinder Mahal.
His tour to India in 2017 where he gave his Indian fans the biggest live event at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium with WWE Superstar Triple H in the ring, sent the crowd into a frenzy and was received with a rapturous applause. Mahal thanked them in Hindi after their 20-minute match concluded.
After the match, the duo also shook hands and Triple H made a brief speech to the crowd, explaining, "India is in good hands with Jinder Mahal".
After a successful reign as WWE Champion, Mahal once again attained glory at WrestleMania 34 when he defeated Orton, Bobby Roode and Rusev in a Fatal 4-Way Match to win the United States Title.
Now back on SmackDown LIVE after the 2019 Superstar Shake-up, Jinder Mahal remains a force to be reckoned with. He may have crossed a few lines and stepped on a few necks to succeed, but if there's anything to take away from The Modern Day Maharaja, it's that none are more deserving of glory than those who refuse to be hindered - even if it means getting there by any means necessary.
Source: Press Release