Jinder Mahal dreams of bringing WWE championship belt to India
Posted: Jul 19th 2017 By: Ritalin Basu
Yuvraj Singh Dhesi, otherwise known as Jinder Mahal, nephew of Gama Singh, is the current WWE champion. The 'modern day Maharaja' has established himself as a top heel, read 'bad guy' for the uninitiated, which has seen his meteoric rise to the top of the card.
India Today caught up with the superstar as he prepares to defend his WWE Championship belt yet again against Randy Orton on WWE Battleground in Philadelphia on July 23 in Punjabi Prison match.
What does holding the WWE Champion belt mean for you personally and as an Indian representative?
Holding the WWE title is a dream come true. It is a title that has been held by the likes Hulk Hogan, Bruno Sammartino and that is something I don't take lightly. It is a huge opportunity for me and it allows me to represent India and it is a huge honour. I want to make my people back home proud of me and hold the championship belt for a long time to come.
The Punjabi Prison match against Randy Orton, will it be your first-hand experience of the stipulation?
It is my first time in a Punjabi Prison match which has taken place twice before. The Undertaker took part in the first ever Punjabi prison match at Great American Bash 2006 against Big Show and then at No Mercy 2007 it was The Great Khali facing Batista.
Are you preparing any differently for the match? How?
I know it will be an intense match, I have made two changes to my workout plan. I have been doing a lot of body-weight exercises, I am doing pull-ups which my fans can see on my Instagram posts. I want to make sure that I maintain my strength and keep my bodyweight as much as possible. I will need strength to climb up to the second cage and I know it will be a long match so I will need my stamina.
You have said in previous interviews that your change in attitude towards was the difference, but how important was the change in physique to become the champion you have?
The change in attitude means a total change in my way of thinking, the way that I train, the way that I look. And thinking positively, what I do is I write down my goals. Every day I write down that I want to be 10-time World Champion, I write down that I want to have the best body in WWE, so that motivates me every day to train hard and constantly reevaluate myself. You associate yourself with positive people and try to have positive energy. I think that I can be the best WWE superstar then only can be the best WWE superstar.
What doyou have to say to those who attribute your meteoric rise in the company coinciding with WWE's increase in interest as a potential market?
WWE sees India as huge opportunity and wants to continue to build its base. Personally I am hoping being champion will increase the WWE Universe in India because I know that Indian fans are really passionate and I want to be WWE Champion in India.
Your booking as a top heel in the SmackDown brand has not only catapulted you into super stardom but there is genuine heat that you get from live American audiences. How much of a creative control do you have over your character?
I do have creative control but also Vince (McMann) gives advice and ideas and I take them. Vince has experience and he has made the biggest sports entertainment in the history. He has made WWE into a global phenomenon. I have a good relation with Vince, he trusts me on the microphone, with my matches, which will only increase with time. I personally want to seek Vince's advice.
Any plans of coming to India with the WWE Championship Belt?
There is no date confirmed yet, but WWE is working very hard at the moment to conserve a date. I am personally very excited to come to India.
As WWE Champion, what message would you like to give to the wrestling fans in India?
Thank you for the support and I look forward to coming to India and performing live. Just keep on supporting and please watch my Punjabi Prison match against Randy Orton on July 23 on the WWE network.
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