After our interview with Jinder Mahal last week, we caught up once again with The Maharaja after his historic WWE Championship win. Jinder revelled in his moment as he told us about his tough journey from getting released to coming back and becoming world champion. We spoke to Jinder about his title win, the state of SmackDown, Brock Lesnar and a whole lot more.
Q: You’ve gone from 3MB, to getting released to returning and winning the WWE Championship. What are your thoughts on your journey to the title?
Honestly, looking back I’ve been through a lot. Not only getting to the WWE the first time but it’s been a long journey throughout.
I used to take the bus for one and a half hours to get to wrestling training. Nobody forced me to go, I’d just go on my own. I was still in high-school back then, I was 15 years old. I used to take the bus for an hour and a half and then wrestled for hours against grown men who were in their 20’s and 30’s and get beat up.
Then I used to take the bus back and show up again the very next day and I showed up early. I’d be the first one there at wrestling practice and the last to leave. I’ve had a very long journey and if it isn’t for the bad times, the good times don’t feel so good. If it wasn’t for the rough times then me becoming WWE Champion wouldn’t be such a special moment in my life. Yesterday was the best day of my life. I worked at it and it was a very emotional thing to see your life goals be achieved through hard work and dedication and knowing what you’ve been through. It’s actually inspiring me to work even harder.
Q: What was the backstage reaction to your title win? Did Mr.McMahon say anything to you after your title win?
The backstage reaction has been very good. Vince was very happy. He was really proud of me because Vince knows how much work I’ve put in. And, I told Vince, “Hey Vince, my goal is to come back every week and improve. Every time you see me perform I’m going to get better on the mic, going to get better in the ring and I’ll be in better shape every week.”
I think Vince really appreciates that and WWE is a place where they reward hard work and I’m an example of that.
Q: When did you find out that you’d be winning the title last night?
I found out the day of.
Q: You’re now going to be a full-time WWE Champion while your counterpart on RAW, Brock Lesnar, is a part-timer. What are your thoughts on that and do you have any message for Brock Lesnar?
I have no problem with Brock Lesnar being a part-timer because he’s earned that spot. He’s a multiple time champion in WWE, a former UFC Champion, NCAA amateur wrestling champion so his accolades speak for themselves.
He’s at a point where he calls the shots and he decides whether he’ll be part-time or full-time. I’m young, I’m hungry. This is my first taste of WWE gold. I only want more and I’m not satisfied. I want to retire, when it’s all said and done, as one of the greats.
My message to Brock is that the Maharaja does what it takes to be a true champion, a full-time fighting champion willing to take on anybody – whether it’s Brock, Cena, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns or anybody.
Q: Who came up with the name of your finisher – ‘The Khallas’ – and what’s the inspiration behind it?
I came up with the name along with the Singh Brothers. The inspiration is actually from a Hindi movie. It’s a song called ‘Khallas’. It just means finish, so it’s fitting. And, it’s easy for our English commentators to pronounce.
There were actually a couple of names I’d thought of that were easy for the commentators to say and for our American audience to say, what sounds good and what has meaning. I think it’s a very impactful word and a good name for a finishing move.
Q: What are your plans for this week’s SmackDown Live?
Yeah, of course. It’s a big moment for me and I will be celebrating. I’m sure Randy Orton may be interfering because he believes that I took advantage of the situation but I really did it because he had lost track of the match and turned his back towards me. I took advantage of that and I won 1-2-3, I won fair and square.
Q: How do you prepare for big championship matches such as the one against Randy Orton last night and is mental conditioning as important as physical conditioning?
100%. If not as important, mental conditioning is even more important than physical conditioning. What I do now is I listen to audiobooks and I listen to motivational speeches. I’m always on YouTube watching people like Derek Thomas. I just search for motivational videos. They keep me mentally focused and mentally tough. I also listen to audiobooks like self-development books like those of Grant Cardone.
Mental preparation is very important. If you don’t have mental then you don’t have physical. First, you get the mental, then you get the physical.the physical.
My physical warm-up is also very intense. I warm up for one full hour – stretching, push-ups, squats and I also work out with elastic bands. I warm up my body very well because my body fat percentage is very low and when you have low body fat percentage, it increases the chance of injury because you don’t have that much cushion.
Warming up is very important. If I don’t warm up then I increase the risk of injury. I’m WWE Champion now so that’s something I really want to avoid. Outside of the ring, I try to do Yoga every day for about 30 minutes and I keep my conditioning at peak and do a lot of cardio work. I have good stamina in the ring so my mental and physical conditioning is on point and I feel like a champion.
Q: Are there any plans for the Singh Brothers to enter the SmackDown Live tag-team division?
Yeah, absolutely. That’s their goal. I think, whether it’s RAW or SmackDown, down the line they will be in the tag-team division. They’re a great tag-team and I wish nothing but the best for them. However, I need them right now to watch my back and to ensure that I stay WWE Champion but I’m sure there will be a day when they’ll be in the tag division.
Q: We have one last question. As WWE Champion, what is your message to fans in India?
I want to say thank you to everybody for supporting me. Spread the word. Tell everybody, tell your friends, that the Maharaja is WWE Champion and to tune in to SmackDown Live to see him become one of the greatest champions of all time.
I also want to send a message to India’s youth. Anything is possible. Especially in Punjab, there’s a huge drug problem right now. Stay away from that, take care of your body and respect yourself. Play sports, do exercise, stay healthy, get a good education and better your life. Anything is possible as long as you’re willing to put in the work.