Jinder Mahal was the guest this week on Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia. On the heels of his first major push and as we head into WrestleMania, Mahal discussed the highs and lows of his career.
Mahal was disappointed to end up an entrant in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal at last years WrestleMania, instead of appearing on the main show. Though that alone isn’t much of a story, it’s noteworthy that he would be open about that disappointment during a company-approved interview.
Mahal dreaded coming to TV while performing with 3MB. He was frustrated that the group didn’t have a storyline.
He needed the kick in the butt that being released gave him. He feels, had he never left, he would still be a mid-carder. He feels Drew McIntyre benefitted similarly. Nobody talks about Heath Slater.
Though he used to party like a rock star, he hasn’t had a drink in two years. Lilian remembers how crazy he was back then and couldn’t believe how much he drank.
Mahal acknowledges that people feel he only got a main event push because the company was running a tour of India. He likens this to people speaking negatively about LeBron James and Apple. They are two huge entities and people are bound to complain about them. He accepts this.
Following his release, Mahal floundered, working indie shows and partying. He contemplated starting a Subway franchise, though he doesn’t mention Subway by name here as he has in previous interviews. He decided to quit drinking and two months later, he got the call to come back to WWE.
In one of those moments that drives Wade Keller crazy, Mahal gushes about the respect and appreciation he has for Randy Orton. The man he hates on TV.
The night he won the WWE Championship, Vince called Jinder and Randy into a short meeting separately. First, he told Randy Jinder would be going over. Randy was very receptive to the idea, which jibes with what Orton has said in recent interviews about wanting to help create new talent. Jinder’s meeting was short and uneventful… other than Vince McMahon telling him he would become champion of the company.
On his first day at wrestling school, Jinder says he showed up with sideburns styled after the Rock and wearing a Rock t-shirt. He cringes now when he thinks about it.
He was trained by Bad News Brown in Calgary and has been wrestling since he was 18 years old.
Mahal talks about the first tryout match he had for WWE. He noticed the Undertaker and Johnny Ace were two of the faces in the crowd watching him. It was so nerve-racking, but he understands now that no one was paying attention to every little mistake he made. He thinks about that now when he sees other wrestlers doing tryouts.
Thoughts: The overall focus of the interview was on Mahal’s new lifestyle – clean living, sobriety, and positivity. Given Lilian’s approach to the show, which also largely focuses on positivity, the two were bound to hit it off famously.
Most Chasing Glory interviews delve deeply into the interview subjects background prior to becoming a wrestler. Lilian attempted to head in that direction a couple times, but Jinder was quick to bring it back to wrestling. He mentioned early on that he never held a “real” job, that he went from school to wrestling and here he is today. He’s single and has no children, so maybe he just doesn’t have much to say in regards to life outside of wrestling.
It was a brief, but fun interview that has me more sold on the fact that Mahal created his push more so than having it handed to him. Given his mental approach to life nowadays, it will be interesting to see what path his career follows and how he’ll handle the inevitable lull he experiences not wrestling in the main event.