Former WWE World Champion Jinder Mahal was a name on every WWE fan’s lips a few years ago. The former 3MB member ascended to heights we never thought were possible for him. When he first returned to WWE in 2016, many thought that he was back just to take losses. Instead, he became the WWE Champion. He may look clear cut as a character, but there’s a lot we still don’t know about the Modern Day Maharaja.
Here are six facts you didn’t know about Jinder Mahal.
#6 Jinder Mahal has held championships outside of WWE
While many fans think that Mahal has only won the United States and the WWE Championship, which is a feat in itself, that isn't the case. Long before he was The Modern Day Maharaja, Mahal used to wrestle as Tiger Raj Singh. The former WWE champion spent approximately eight years on the independent circuit, winning the PWA Heavyweight and Tag Team Championships.
#5 He’s from Canada
Despite his Indian heritage and vocal Indian-styled character on television, Jinder Mahal identifies as a Canadian. Mahal’s family migrated to Canada from India in 1960s, and they are of Punjabi Sikh descent. He was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 1986. Jinder also learned how to wrestle in Alberta at the Premier Martial Arts Wrestling School in Calgary.
Despite having a strong Canadian affiliation, WWE bills him from Punjab, India. Perhaps this is Vince McMahon’s way of pushing his promotion to a more international audience.
#4 He was released unexpectedly
In a shock to absolutely everybody, Jinder Mahal was released mid-feud back in 2014. He was still with his fellow 3MB members Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre, with the trio being regularly featured on television. Mahal himself expressed his surprise at the decision:
“I was surprised because we were pretty well booked on everything and we were on a lot of the live events.”
At the time, Mahal didn’t allow the setback to knock out his dreams, as he claimed he’d love to return to the wrestling behemoth one day. Fast forward three years later and Jinder was the WWE Champion. He’s seemingly in the best shape of his life, which perhaps suggests that sometimes a release isn’t as bad as it sounds.
#3 His Uncle is Gama Singh
In wrestling, we all know that a famous lineage helps boost the credibility of a wrestler. Jinder Mahal’s uncle is the well-renowned Gadowar Singh Sahota, better known as Gama Singh. Of course, a lot of today’s fan base won’t remember who he is, but he has a pedigree, and his run in wrestling was particularly memorable.
Like Jinder Mahal, Gama Singh was a hated heel who even drew heat from fans outside of arenas. In the 1980s he was one of WWF's most loathed heels. Fast-forward a few decades, and his nephew is one of the most hated heels in wrestling. Funnily enough, Gama’s son tried out for the WWE at the same time as Jinder, however, it was only his nephew who made the cut.
#2 He has a degree in business
Coming from a middle-class background, Jinder Mahal was taught to never rest on his laurels. After initially entering the wrestling world, Jinder went back to university to give himself an insurance plan. He needed the qualification to ensure that if wrestling failed, which it nearly did, he’d have something to fall back on.
Jinder Mahal enrolled at the University of Calgary and obtained a business degree in Communications and Culture. This is the same university that former Canadian Prime Minister Steve Harper attended. The interesting part about this story is that Mahal was wrestling while in school and as soon as he graduated, he went on the road again.
#1 He failed his first WWE try-out
In life, many of these motivational talkers always tell you that if at first you don’t succeed, try, and try again until you do. This is exactly what Jinder Mahal did, and he succeeded. In one of the few times that WWE crossed the border to hold try-outs in Canada, Jinder Mahal ensured he made his presence known.
In his first try-out for the company, Mahal had to wrestle back-to-back three matches. The first was against the infamous Eugene. He recalls being completely out of breath by the time the third match came around. The third match was against Tyler Breeze. Apparently, Mahal was told to call the match, and he automatically assumed that the agents wanted to focus on Breeze's selling. He was wrong. The agents were looking at Jinder’s offence, and because he was demoralised by the focus of the match, he didn’t put effort into it. This led to it being an unsuccessful first try-out for the former WWE World Champion.