In a recent edition of Lilian Garcia’s ‘Chasing Glory’ podcast, former WWE Champion Jinder Mahal opened up on his thoughts regarding his sudden rise to the top of the proverbial totem pole of WWE stardom.
Mahal recalled the moment he received the news that he was due for a ‘push’ after being drafted to SmackDown Live in the 2017 ‘Superstar Shake-up’:
“WrestleMania  week I saw Road Dogg at the hotel in the hallways. He said, ‘Hey Jinder, after WrestleMania, good things are going to happen to you.’ I think the plan was that they were going to elevate me a little bit. I thought, cool, I can actually be in a storyline, be in the United States Championship, the Intercontinental Championship. So, I got drafted to SmackDown, which was a good sign.”
Mahal was drafted to WWE‘s blue brand on April 11th, 2017 and immediately entered a program with Mojo Rawley.
Mahal continued to praise the decision to move him to the ‘Land of Opportunity’:
“All along, I wanted to be drafted to SmackDown. Right when I got signed I would see Road Dogg in the hallways and telling him to please draft me to SmackDown because I saw people on SmackDown getting opportunities. I love Raw. Raw has a stigma about it, but us on the blue team have a chip on their shoulder, but they say SmackDown is the land of opportunity, which it really is.”
One week after being drafted to SmackDown Live, the ‘Modern Day Maharaja’ was included in a WWE Championship Number One Contender Six-Pack Challenge, along with Mojo Rawley, (Luke) Harper, (Erick) Rowan, Dolph Ziggler, and Sami Zayn.
Much to the surprise of pretty much everyone, Mahal won the match with the help of Samir and Sunil, the Singh Brothers, boasting the pinfall victory over Sami Zayn following a (not particularly) devastating Khallas.
Here are Mahal’s comments on when he found out he was going to be the man challenging then-champion Randy Orton for the WWE Championship at WWE Backlash 2017:
“I was at a live event on a Monday night, and they announced the Six-Pack Challenge match for the Number One Contender’s match. I also see tweets wondering how Jinder Mahal is in the Number One Contender’s match, he hasn’t won a match in a long time. I think Baron Corbin, or Luke Harper was going to go in with Randy Orton. I remember getting my wrists taped and I asked who was going to face Randy Orton. I think Luke Harper was in there. He said to me, ‘it’s you.’ I was taken aback. What? I’m going to work with Randy Orton?”
It seems Mahal was just as shocked as all of us were. The former 3MB band member went on to win the WWE Championship from the ‘Viper’ at Backlash, before embarking on a somewhat controversial 170-day run with the top prize in sports entertainment.
Mahal defended the gold twice against Randy Orton, including a Punjabi Prison match at WWE Battleground 2017 which saw a “returning” Great Khali to ensure the Canadian (but they won’t tell you that) retained.
Mahal went on to fend off two challenges from Shinsuke Nakamura, at Summerslam and Hell in a Cell, before his run came to an end on the November 7th edition of SmackDown Live emanating from Manchester, England, when the ‘Phenomenal’ AJ Styles put him down with a Phenomenal Forearm.
Mahal didn’t have to wait too long to get his hands on another prize in WWE, as at WrestleMania 34 he won a fatal four-way to become the new WWE United States Champion; a match that also included Rusev, Bobby Roode, and then-champion Randy Orton.
Mahal and Orton now find themselves back in opposing corners twelve months down the line form Mahal’s initial triumph, because on May 6th at WWE Backlash 2018, Mahal is scheduled to defend his WWE United States championship against the ‘Apex Predator’ himself. However, this could be thrown into disarray depending on the movements in the 2018 ‘Superstar Shake-up’, which takes place tonight on Raw and tomorrow on SmackDown Live.
What do you think of Mahal’s comments? Do you think he deserved his run with the WWE Championship? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter here, and as always, have a spiffing Rusev Day.
- chasing glory podcast
- WrestleMania 34
- summerslam 2017
- Hell In A Cell
- lilian garcia
- mojo rawley
- Superstar Shakeup
- bobby roode
- wwe champion
- road dogg
- SmackDown Live
- Dolph Ziggler
- WWE United States Championship
- Sami Zayn
- wrestlemania 33
- singh brothers
- backlash 2018
- Shinsuke Nakamura
- Randy Orton
- Jinder Mahal
- wwe championship
- John Cena, Cody Rhodes & More Announced For NXT Airing Against Edge’s AEW Debut Match
- Major Spoiler For Jade Cargill WWE Debut?
- Update On Becky Lynch WWE Status
- Trick Williams Breaks Silence After Title Loss To Dominik Mysterio
- Rhea Ripley Reacts To Dominik Mysterio Winning Back The NXT North American Championship
- Adam Copeland (Edge) Reveals WWE Backstage Reaction To AEW Switch
- WWE Star Says Jade Cargill Would Be A Good Fit For His Faction
- VIDEO: Adam Copeland’s (Edge’s) Immediate Backstage Reaction To AEW Debut
- Recent WWE Surprise Was A ‘Late Creative Decision’
- SmackDown Star Shares Cryptic Message Amid WWE Absence