Interview: Jinder Mahal comments on The Great Khali, Baron Corbin's cash-in, Nakamura & more...
The Modern Day Maharaja is a busy man indeed, jam packed with photo shoots and interviews with other publications, only a few hours removed from his main event match against John Cena on SmackDown Live.
We manage to squeeze in 10 minutes ahead of his appearance at SummerSlam 2017, where he is scheduled to face 'The Artist Know As' Shinsuke Nakamura, where the winner gets to represent his respective home country as WWE Champion. Jinder Mahal is a soft spoken, gracious and polite man, who admits he has grown in confidence ever since he won the top prize. Here is a glimpse of the highlights from our brief conversation.
On Baron Corbin's failed cash in attempt: Yeah there's the Money in the Bank at play while Baron Corbin was holding the contract. It was a constant threat to me. I always had to watch my back. I won't have to be thinking about, you know, any opportunity where Baron Corbin could cash in and take advantage of the opportunity. So, now that I've beaten Baron Corbin and he's lost his Money in the Bank contract, you know, that's a huge weight off my back, that would take a huge bull's eye right off my back. So, now I can come into SummerSlam just focused on Shinsuke Nakamura.
You know a lot of people on Twitter, on social media were saying that Baron Corbin's going to cash in at SummerSlam. So obviously, I was aware of this and it was in the back of my mind.
Obviously I am very relieved and it's a huge weight off my shoulders that Baron Corbin does not have the threat against me anymore. So maybe someday in the future, he will get a shot at my WWE Championship, but I will know when the match will be. It's not going to come out of nowhere when I'm down when Baron Corbin can take advantage of the opportunity.
On facing John Cena: Yeah, John Cena is a very, very tough opponent but I think he underestimated me also when I kicked out of his Attitude Adjustment. I know he was not expecting that. Then he had to go for a second one off the top rope, the second rope. But no, I'm open for more matches with John Cena to establish myself as one of the greatest WWE Champions of All Time.
That's why I have to beat John Cena. That's why I'm looking for my next opportunity to face John Cena. Because now that I've been in the ring with him, I know a little bit of his style, I know what his strengths are.
But now that I've been in the ring with him, I know that I can beat him. I can defeat John Cena.
On whether The Great Khali will reappear again: I would definitely hope so, but for the mean time, we don't have anything planned. No appearances. It was just for one night for the Punjabi Prison. I'm sure The Great Khali, we haven't seen the last of him or us together. When it's going to happen again, that's going to be a surprise. Whenever it is, I'm looking forward to it.
Dream matches with superstars from Raw: Brock Lesnar, The Universal Champion. Imagine this, the WWE Champion vs. The Universal Champion at an event like Wrestlemania.
Yeah, my goal is very high (laughs) but I would love to face Roman Reigns or someone like Seth Rollins who I still have a bone to pick with because he beat me for the first ever NXT Championship. So I still feel like I have something to prove by beating Seth Rollins. So I still have that. It motivates me to avenge that loss (laughs).
On the crazy risks that the Singh Brothers have taken: The Singh Brothers, you know, they are my insurance policy. First and foremost, I am the Modern Day Maharaja, I am the WWE Champion. They are there to ensure that I remain WWE Champion and they're willing to pay whatever price they have to pay. So, obviously, I treat them very well. They're compensated very well for the risks they take, ultimately for my benefit. But they are an integral part of me becoming champion and me staying champion.
On whether he's seen Nakamura wrestle in Japan: Yeah absolutely. The thing is, it's hard to compare Japan to WWE because Shinsuke Nakamura in WWE is a totally different person. And honestly, there's not a lot of footage I can study of Shinsuke Nakamura.
Very unpredictable, his charisma, his body language, his body movement, I know his striking is very precise. He's the King of Strong Style, so he definitely is a worthy opponent and a really good challenge. But, I've come here with a gameplan.
I think he may be underestimating me. Just like Randy Orton did, and I did say this before. I will go down in history as one of the greatest WWE Champions of all time and Shinsuke Nakamura is just another stepping stone!
The biggest obstacle that Mahal overcame: My biggest obstacle was coming back after being released in 2014. I knew that I would have to start at the bottom and work my way up. And that's exactly what I did. Week by week, month by month, I've improved.
When I got moved to SmackDown Live, it was a fresh start for me. When I became Number 1 contender, I shocked the entire WWE Universe by becoming WWE Champion. So that was the biggest challenge, you know, just that period of time of coming back and establishing myself. Reinventing myself. Before refocused. Remotivated. Ultimately becoming the hardest worker in the WWE.
On his growth as a performer, as WWE Champion: My confidence has changed. I'm a lot more confident. In sports entertainment, in WWE, confidence is everything. All of this, this whole game, it's all mental.
When you have doubt in your mind, that's when you make mistakes, when you're nervous. So now I have confidence. I'm not nervous before my matches. I know that I am the WWE Champion, and I'm the WWE Champion for a reason.
Send us news tips at firstname.lastname@example.org