Despite the shock of many fans across the WWE Universe, Jinder Mahal is the new number one contender to the WWE Title on SmackDown Live. This past Tuesday, Mahal took place in a Six Pack challenge against Sami Zayn, Mojo Rawley, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, and Dolph Ziggler to determine Randy Orton’s opponent at WWE’s Backlash. After a long fought bout, Mahal pinned Sami Zayn to solidify his first shot at a WWE title. Many superstars have to make their way through the ranks before being given a title shot, but Mahal surpassed every superstar on SmackDown Live for his opportunity.
Less than a year ago, Mahal was regarded as a jobber in the WWE fighting against Heath Slater for a Monday Night Raw contract. After beating Slater, Mahal found himself in a program with Rusev going against the likes of Enzo and Cass. Once he seemed to be gaining momentum, he became a mockery at WrestleMania when he was run over by Rob Gronkowski in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Post WrestleMania, Mahal took place in the Superstar Shakeup and moved from Raw to the “Land of Opportunities”. With a new home on SmackDown Live, Mahal looks to continue his momentum and challenge for the title for the foreseeable future.
If there are any fans of Jinder Mahal out there, they must already be happy that his second stint with the WWE has been much more successful than his first. Even with a bright future ahead of him, many fans may not know a single thing about the randomly pushed Mahal.
Here are 15 things you might not know about Jinder Mahal:
15 He has a degree in Business
Jinder Mahal had been a fan of wrestling since he was three years old, watching it on his grandfather’s television. Back then, he already knew it was an unrealistic career option. Even after he got his feet wet in the wrestling business, he knew he needed a backup plan. Mahal attended the University of Calgary and majored in Business and Culture. Many people today complain about working an eight-hour shift, but Mahal was able to wrestle full time and achieve his degree at the same time.
He may never need to put his degree to use on the ring, but he is aware that a career in wrestling does not last forever. With his sense of foresight, he is able to have a fallback once he finally decides to hang up his boots.
14 He speaks Punjabi
The WWE tries to make it obvious that he is of Indian descent, and his ability to speak another language helped him advance his wrestling career. Mahal grew up in a house where Punjabi was spoken regularly by his family, which made it easier for him to learn it.
Once he was in the wrestling business, he used this to his advantage in getting signed. Mahal attended an open tryout in Florida and was immediately signed to the WWE, which was looking to diversify its roster. If it had not been for his ability to speak his family’s native language, he may not be at the WWE today. He certainly wouldn't have received the push he has recently gotten, as WWE wants to expand their Indian audience.
13 His uncle is Gama Singh
Wrestlers often need to know someone already in the business to get their foot on the door, and it was no different for Jinder Mahal. His uncle was one of the most hated wrestlers in the business during the 1980s. Gama Singh, also known as Gadowar Sahota, entered Calgary at eight years old when his father emigrated from India. He attended wrestling school and eventually made his way into Stampede Wrestling and worked closely with Stu Hart. Not long after, Vince McMahon came knocking and Singh answered.
Singh semi-retired in the late 1980s, working on matches overseas every few months of the year. Singh now works as a successful real estate agent in Calgary, Canada. He is one of Jinder Mahal’s only known living relatives.
12 He fought against Samoa Joe
Jinder Mahal’s journey prior to the WWE was a long one that spanned from 2002 to 2010 before finally signing with Florida Championship Wrestling, which was later renamed to NXT. He wrestled in various promotions during that period and fought different wrestlers along the way. One of those he faced was none other than Samoa Joe, who he fought at Great North Wrestling.
Jinder should consider himself lucky with how quickly he rose through the WWE ranks when compared to Samoa Joe’s. The latter spent 17 years toiling in different promotions before finally getting the call up to WWE’s main roster. Although both men spent time fighting against each other in the indies, they can both agree it is much better to be on the WWE platform.
11 His first match was against the Hart Dynasty
A chapter in Jinder Mahal’s wrestling journey took place at Stampede Wrestling in Mahal’s hometown of Calgary. He was only 19 at the time, and he was still making his mark on the wrestling world.
His first known match came in 2004 against Tyson Kidd and DH Smith. It was not until 2007 when they took the name of Hart Dynasty, so they went by their real names, TJ Wilson and Harry Smith. The two went on to defeat via disqualification Mahal and his tag team partner, who were acting as foreign heel characters at that time.
The Hart Dynasty would go on to win the World Tag Team Championship, as well as the WWE Tag Team Championship, before Smith turned on Kid in 2010; with the rivalry culminating when Kidd beat Smith in a one-on-one match during an episode of Raw.
10 He performed a tryout with Tyler Breeze
Jinder Mahal entered as many tryouts as he could while trying to make his name known in the wrestling business. The WWE standards once held a tryout in his hometown in which he participated. One of the matches was against the man we know now on SmackDown Live as Tyler Breeze. The officials told Mahal to control the match in order to see how Breeze would sell an opponent's blows.
Mahal accepted this command, thinking he did not need to work as hard, not realizing the eyes of WWE officials were actually on him. WWE thought his offense looked weak and decided not to sign him at that point in time. He learned his lesson and took all tryouts and matches much more seriously from that point forward.
9 He was trained by Bad News Brown
Jinder Mahal began to take the idea of becoming a professional wrestler seriously at the age of 15. He asked his uncle, Gama Singh, to help him train, but Jinder was instead given the address of WWE Superstar and Olympic bronze medalist Allen Coage, also known as Bad News Brown. With the Hart Dungeon closed, Brown took Mahal under his wing and helped him become the wrestler he is today.
Coage grew up in New York City and wrestled on a lot of promotions, including the WWE, during his decorated wrestling career. He even competed at the 1976 Summer Olympics and won a bronze medal in judo. After retiring from wrestling, he resided with his family in Calgary, Canada up until his death in 2007.
8 He was born in Canada
Jinder Mahal joins the likes of Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho as wrestlers born and raised in Canada. He was born from Indian royalty, but he spent the majority of his childhood in Calgary.
The strangest part about his Canadian heritage is that the WWE does not acknowledge it. When he makes his way to the ring before a match, the announcer says he is from Punjabi, India instead of Calgary, Canada, and no one thinks twice about it.
We get that it is supposed to be an act, but why hide his true identity when it is not done to other wrestlers? There is no shame in being another wrestler from Canada. If anything, he makes Canadian wrestling look even stronger with his name on the list.
7 The Bollywood Boyz's Background
With the way things are shaping up on SmackDown Live, Jinder Mahal will be forming an alliance with the Bollywood Boyz for the foreseeable future, now billed as The Singh Brothers, on his way to the WWE Championship. Sunil and Samir Singh, Gurv and Harv Sihra in real life, have wrestled around the world, including stints in Canada and India.
They both competed at the Cruiserweight Classic last year, but were both eliminated at the first round. After spending less than a year at NXT, the duo made their main roster debut a few weeks ago to aid Jinder Mahal in becoming the new number one contender. Good things are expected to come given the brief momentum they have established in just a few short weeks.
6 He lost the first ever NXT title match to Seth Rollins
When WWE decided to rebrand Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) into NXT, Jinder Mahal was sent down there to help give the brand some star power. In 2012, it was announced that there would be a Gold Rush Tournament to crown the inaugural NXT Champion. The tournament included four current WWE superstars along with four wrestlers from the NXT brand. In the first round, Jinder Mahal submitted current Raw superstar Bo Dallas to advance into the semifinals, while Seth Rollins defeated current NXT superstar Drew McIntyre. Rollins then defeated Mahal to begin his legacy as “The Architect”. One can only wonder, however, what would have happened if Mahal won instead of Rollins. Would he be pushed as a top star instead?
5 Jinder Mahal thought Dean Ambrose was set to join Three Man Band
The formation of 3MB took place in September of 2012, right after Mahal lost to Rollins at the Gold Rush Tournament. Mahal and Drew McIntyre interfered in Heath Slater’s match against Brodus Clay. A few weeks later, they attacked Santino Marella, causing Slater to lose via disqualification. Despite that, they began to be known as The Band, later renamed as Three Man Band.
Around the time the group was being formed, the general consensus was that the group would consist of Slater, Johnny Curtis, and Dean Ambrose. Mahal suggested backstage one night that he should be in the group and that was enough to change the minds of the WWE writers. Thankfully, Ambrose was placed in The Shield instead and was not wasted away with the 3MB gimmick.
4 His last match Before His WWE Release was against El Torito
Jinder Mahal was released from the WWE in June of 2014, much to his shock. 3MB had become a staple on WWE programming and with Mahal gone, the band was immediately disbanded. His last match before returning this past year was against El Torito. Torito is up there with Hornswoggle and James Ellsworth as the worst gimmicks in recent memory.
El Torito spent four years at WWE, spanning from 2013 to 2016. One of his most memorable matches might be the one where he defeated Jinder Mahal and sent him out of the company. El Torito performed a moonsault on Mahal and scored the pin in just a few minutes, even though the commentators' minds seemed to be fixated on Torito’s costume. It is shocking to know that Mahal would want to come back after the way he was let go by the company.
3 Mason Ryan consoled him after his release
When a WWE superstar gets released, they only have a few options. They can try out for TNA, hit the independent scene, or give up the business for good. After Mahal was released, he knew he still wanted to wrestle but he was not sure where to go. Without an agent or any type of friends in the business, it would be difficult to find a new gig.
Mason Ryan helped Jinder Mahal get back on his feet when all hope was lost. The renowned wrestler who has worked in every promotion imaginable told Mahal to create social media profiles and set up an email account. After Mahal took his advice, the bookings began rolling in and Mahal immediately became a success in the indie scene. Without the help of Ryan, Mahal may never have made his way back to the WWE.
2 He didn’t wrestle in India until 2016
Despite signing with the WWE because of an Indian tour in mind, Jinder Mahal never made his way to his family's homeland until this past year. Mahal proved to be a huge celebrity back home when he agreed to compete in Great Khali’s Continental Wrestling promotion.
The Great Khali started this promotion just over two years ago with the idea that he could help bring more talent from India into the wrestling community. He currently serves as the commissioner for the company and is located in Punjab, India. With his help, maybe someday we will see more Indian wrestlers in mainstream WWE.
1 1. He’s obsessed with his body
This one is a bit strange to write about, but something needs to be said about Jinder Mahal’s physique. When he returned to the WWE, he came back chiseled like a rock and the WWE announcers won’t let anyone forget it. Every time he is on WWE programming, someone must mention his aforementioned figure. It is normal for the announce team to bring up someone from the top of the card’s figure, but mentioning Mahal seems a bit strange.
His Instagram is filled with selfies in front of a mirror holding his shirt up to his thousands of followers. If that is not enough, he tells his followers in a video how they can get abs like him by showing them his diet plan across his kitchen table. Most fans know that achieving the body of a WWE wrestler is unrealistic, but Jinder Mahal just has to put in that extra effort to let everyone know how great of shape he is in.