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Jinder Mahal

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Jinder Mahal
Mahal2014.jpg
Mahal in 2014
Birth name Yuvraj Singh Dhesi[1]
Born (1986-07-19) July 19, 1986 (age 31)[1]
Calgary, Alberta, Canada[1]
Family Gama Singh (uncle)[2]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Jinder Mahal[3]
Raj Dhesi[4]
Raj Singh[1]
Tiger Raj Singh[4]
Billed height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)[1][3]
Billed weight 238 lb (108 kg)[3]
Billed from Punjab, India[3][5]
Trained by Allen Coage[4]
Gama Singh[4]
Gerry Morrow[4]
Jakayla Sanders[4]
Debut 2002[2][6]

Yuvraj Singh Dhesi (born July 19, 1986)[1] is an Indo-Canadian professional wrestler signed to WWE, where he performs on the SmackDown brand under the ring name Jinder Mahal and is the current WWE Champion in his first reign.[3]

During his first stint in WWE, Mahal had a short-lived alliance with his storyline brother-in-law, The Great Khali. Mahal was then mostly utilized as enhancement talent and would form 3MB, a trio who had rock star personas, with fellow lower card wrestlers, Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre. After being released from WWE in the summer of 2014, he returned to the promotion two years later, improving his body condition and received a push after WrestleMania 33, culminating with a win over Randy Orton at Backlash in May 2017 for the WWE Championship, making him the 50th WWE Champion and the first wrestler of Indian descent to win the title.

Professional wrestling career

Early career (2002–2010)

Growing up in a wrestling family as the nephew of Stampede Wrestling legend Gama Singh, Dhesi began his professional wrestling career at the Martial Arts Fitness Center in Calgary, Alberta, training with Rick Bognar.[2]

Dhesi debuted in Premier Martial Arts Wrestling (PMW) as Raj Dhesi and then went on to train with Bad News Allen and Gerry Morrow, wrestling in a revived Stampede Wrestling alongside fellow future WWE wrestlers Natalya Neidhart, Tyson Kidd and Viktor.[6] As Tiger Raj Singh, Dhesi also won various tag team championships in Stampede and in Prairie Wrestling Alliance (PWA), spending much of his early career teaming with his cousin Gama Singh Jr., with whom they were known as the new Karachi Vice and also as Sikh & Destroy, winning the PWA Canadian Tag Team Championship.[7]

In PWA, he was the PWA Heavyweight Champion from 2008 until January 2010 and also spent time in Great North Wrestling (GNW), where he feuded with wrestlers such as Hannibal and Samoa Joe.[citation needed]

World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE

Florida Championship Wrestling (2010–2011)

Dhesi traveled to Tampa, Florida to try out for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)'s developmental promotion Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW).[4] At the tryout, Dhesi believed that his Punjabi gimmick and promos made him stand out, stating that he "came out wearing a turban and had [his] full outfit on" and that "they like guys who speak different languages and have different looks".[4] In early 2010, he signed to a developmental contract with FCW and wrestled there for a year.[4]

Early feuds (2011–2012)

Mahal in his pre-match attire

Dhesi made his televised WWE debut on the April 29, 2011 episode of SmackDown under the ring name Jinder Mahal, greeting backstage fellow Indian wrestler The Great Khali and his manager Ranjin Singh by speaking in Punjabi that he was really happy and excited to see Khali and Ranjin.[8] The next week on SmackDown, Mahal, unimpressed by how Khali and Singh have been partaking in childish activities instead of winning matches, confronted Singh about his mismanagement of Khali, establishing himself as a villain.[9] Mahal interrupted a Khali Kiss Cam segment the following week on SmackDown, slapping Khali twice.[10] On the May 20 episode of SmackDown, Mahal interrupted Khali's match against Jey Uso, leading to Khali confronting Mahal.[11] On his first televised match on the June 17 episode of SmackDown, Mahal defeated Vladimir Kozlov[12] and on the July 1 episode of SmackDown it was revealed that Mahal was married to Khali's sister, making them (kayfabe) brothers-in-law.[13] On the September 5 episode of Raw, he suffered his first loss when he and Khali lost to WWE Tag Team Champions Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston in a non-title match.[14] In a rematch on SmackDown, they lost again to Bourne and Kingston, leadig Khali to walk away from Mahal after the match, thus ending their alliance.[15] On the September 16 episode of SmackDown, Mahal attacked Khali during his match with Heath Slater which Khali won by disqualification.[16] On the September 23 episode of SmackDown, Mahal lost to Khali, thus suffering his first loss in a singles match.[17] On the October 14 episode of SmackDown, Mahal competed in a 41-man battle royal (the largest battle royal in WWE history), where Mahal made it to the final three before being eliminated by Randy Orton.[18]

Mahal wrestling Yoshi Tatsu in April 2012

After the feud with Khali finished, Mahal targeted wrestlers whom he deemed as beneath him or embarrassing and in November began a feud with Ted DiBiase.[19] On the December 30 episode of Smackdown, Mahal broke DiBiase's winning streak via submission to end their feud.[20][21] In December, Mahal tried to make a name for himself and went after Sheamus, constantly disrespecting him, but was defeated and for several months they were involved in multiple matches, with Sheamus always getting the best of Mahal.[22] At Mahal's first Royal Rumble on January 29, 2012, he was eliminated by The Great Khali,[23] rekindling their feud and leading to a match on the February 3 episode of SmackDown, which Mahal lost.[24] At Over the Limit on May 20, Mahal participated in and lost a battle royal where the winner was to receive a shot at the Intercontinental Championship or the United States Championship when he was again eliminated by The Great Khali, thus ending their feud.[25]

In late April, Mahal began confronting several wrestlers, starting with Randy Orton, interrupting one of his promos and being attacked in retaliation with an RKO.[26] On July 23 at Raw 1000, Mahal confronted Kane, leading a group consisting of Camacho, Curt Hawkins, Drew McIntyre, Hunico and Tyler Reks and claiming none of them had been given an opportunity within WWE and would make one by taking down Kane, but The Undertaker's sudden appearance halted their advance and The Brothers of Destruction attacked the group and took them out.[27] On the July 27 episode of SmackDown, Mahal lost to Ryback by countout[28] and then began a feud with him, winning by intentional countout and disqualification.[29] To try and prove himself to Ryback, Mahal requested a match against two local wrestlers in a match style similar to Ryback's, defeating them quickly by submission.[30] In spite of this, Mahal continued his feud with Ryback, attacking him during their matches and after Ryback's, but was ultimately pinned by Ryback on the August 24 episode of SmackDown to end their feud.[31]

When WWE rebranded its developmental territory FCW into NXT,[32] Mahal began appearing on the rebooted NXT, where he started a winning streak by defeating several wrestlers, including Derrick Bateman and Percy Watson.[33][34] On the August 8 episode of NXT, Mahal was inserted into the Gold Rush tournament to crown the first NXT Champion, where he defeated Bo Dallas in the first round.[35] On the August 15 episode of NXT, Mahal defeated Richie Steamboat in the semi-finals of the Gold Rush Tournament.[36] On the August 29 episode of NXT, Mahal was defeated by Seth Rollins in the finals of the Gold Rush Tournament, thus ending his NXT winning streak.[37] At the Night of Champions pre-show on September 16, Mahal competed in the 16-man battle royal to become number one contender for the United States Championship, but was eliminated by Brodus Clay.[38]

3MB and departure (2012–2014)

3MB in April 2014

On the September 21 episode of SmackDown, Mahal and Drew McIntyre interfered in Heath Slater's match against Brodus Clay by attacking Clay.[39] The alliance of Mahal, Slater and McIntyre were later named 3MB.[40] From October 2012, 3MB racked up many wins against Team Co-Bro (Santino Marella and Zack Ryder) and The Usos (Jey and Jimmy Uso), all of them due to illegal interference.[41][42][43] At the Survivor Series pre-show on November 18, Mahal and Slater defeated Marella and Ryder when Mahal pinned Ryder.[44] At TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs on December 16, 3MB were defeated by the team of Alberto Del Rio, The Brooklyn Brawler and The Miz.[45] The next night on Raw at the Slammy Awards show, 3MB lost to Del Rio, Miz and Tommy Dreamer.[46] Mahal competed in the 30-man Royal Rumble match at the Royal Rumble on January 27, 2013 by entering at number 27, but was eliminated by Sheamus.[47] On the April 12 episode of SmackDown, in an attempt to make a name for themselves, 3MB tried to attack Triple H, but were attacked themselves by The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins.[48] On the April 15 episode of Raw, 3MB called out The Shield, only for Brock Lesnar to come out instead and attack the group.[49] At the Night of Champions pre-show on September 15, 3MB (Drew McIntyre and Heath Slater) competed in a number one contenders tag team turmoil match for the WWE Tag Team Championship, in which they were the last team eliminated by Tons of Funk (Brodus Clay and Tensai).[50]

In late 2013, 3MB began adopting new ring names against their opponents, although their misfortunes and amounting losses remained the same.[51][52][53][54][55] At WrestleMania XXX on April 6, Mahal competed in the André the Giant Memorial battle royal, but was eliminated by Mark Henry.[56] In April, 3MB formed an alliance with Hornswoggle to feud with Los Matadores (Diego and Fernando).[57][58][59][60] On June 12, WWE announced that Mahal was released from his WWE contract.[61]

Independent circuit (2014–2016)

Mahal in November 2015

Dhesi wrestled for Reality of Wrestling (ROW) under the name Raj Singh at their summer iPPV, ROW Summer of Champions 2014, defeating Jasper Davis.[62] On October 24 at All Star Wrestling (ASW) in Vancouver at the live event Fright Night Live, Singh teamed with his cousin Gama Singh Jr. to defeat Kyle Sebastian and Collin Cutler to win the ASW Tag Team Championship.[63] Between 2014 and 2015, he appeared in Puerto Rican promotion the World Wrestling Council (WWC) against local star Ray Gonzalez.[64][65] He also participated in Qatar Pro Wrestling (QPW) Souq Waqif Championship tournament in April 2015, where he ended up as first runner up.[66] On May 5, Singh made his debut for Japanese promotion Inoki Genome Federation (IGF), losing to Wang Bin.[67] In 2016, he also wrestled for The Great Khali's wrestling promotion Continental Wrestling Entertainment (CWE) in India.[68]

Return to WWE

Alliance with Rusev (2016–2017)

On July 27 it was announced that Dhesi had re-signed with the WWE as Jinder Mahal.[69] On the August 1 episode of Raw, Mahal returned to television alongside Heath Slater, demanding contracts until Raw General Manager Mick Foley informed the pair that they must face each other in a match for a Raw contract, which Mahal won.[70] Throughout the rest of the month on Raw, Mahal began losing to the likes of Neville,[71] Sami Zayn[72] and Darren Young.[73] Mahal would then adopt the gimmick of a "man who comes in peace", advocating peace and tranquility.[74][75] On the September 12 episode of Raw, Mahal stated that after he left WWE he "felt anger and rage" and had since "found inner peace" before defeating Jack Swagger.[76] Afterwards, Mahal began competing on Main Event and Superstars, where he often traded wins and losses against Darren Young.[77]

On the December 19 episode of Raw, a notably more lean and muscular[78][79] Mahal began an alliance with Rusev after Mahal had a confrontation with Rusev's rival Enzo Amore before the two attacked Amore.[80] On the January 2, 2017 episode of Raw, Mahal and Rusev defeated Amore's tag team partner Big Cass in a 2-on-1 handicap match.[81] The following week on Raw, Mahal lost to Cass (who had Shawn Michaels at ringside) after Michaels performed the Sweet Chin Music on Rusev at ringside, which distracted Mahal.[82] On the February 27 episode of Raw, Mahal and Rusev began to show tension after Rusev inadvertently distracted Mahal, causing the two to lose to The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods).[83]

The alliance between Mahal and Rusev ended at Fastlane on March 5, when Mahal informed Raw General Manager Mick Foley about his desire to return to singles competition, prompting Foley to place the duo in singles matches that night and with both Mahal and Rusev losing their respective matches against Cesaro and Big Show.[84] This was done due Rusev suffering a legit shoulder injury.[85]

WWE Champion (2017–present)

Jinder is a guy who has always worked extremely hard. He trains hard; he’s very intense about what he wants with his career; he’s very thoughtful...To Jinder’s credit and to Drew (McIntyre)’s credit, they left, they went and figured it for themselves, they improved. They’re both men now as opposed to kids trying to make it in the business... Now hopefully they are in a better position to succeed.
Triple H in April 2017 on Mahal's WWE Championship pursuit[86]

On the WrestleMania 33 kickoff show on April 3, Mahal was the runner-up in the Andre the Giant Memorial battle royal out of the 33 participants being eliminated last by Mojo Rawley after interference from Rob Gronkowski.[87] On the April 11 episode of SmackDown Live it was revealed that Mahal had been drafted there as a part of the Superstar Shake-up and later that night he faced Rawley in a losing effort after another interference from Gronkowski to end their feud,[88] though Mahal would eventually get his first win over Rawley on the June 6 episode of SmackDown Live.[89] On the April 18 episode of SmackDown, Mahal won a six-pack challenge also involving Rawley, Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper when pinning Sami Zayn to become the number one contender for the WWE Championship after interference from Mahal's new allies, The Singh Brothers.[90] As part of the storyline, Mahal would confront and attack WWE Champion Randy Orton, taking the title belt[91] and costing him his match with Bray Wyatt at the Raw brand's exclusive Payback event on April 30,[92] leading SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon to force Mahal to turn over the stolen title belt.[93] As part of his push, Mahal would go on to defeat Sami Zayn[93] and AJ Styles,[94] even pinning Orton in a six-man tag team match to earn his team the victory.[95] At Backlash on May 21, Mahal defeated Orton to win the WWE Championship (his first championship in WWE) and became the 50th recognized WWE Champion and the first of Indian descent.[96][97] After Mahal held a Punjabi celebration for his WWE Championship win,[98] it was announced by SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon that Orton had invoked his rematch clause for Money in the Bank on June 18,[99] where (with WWE Hall of Famers "Cowboy" Bob Orton Jr., Ric Flair and Sgt. Slaughter at ringside) Mahal defeated Orton in his first title defense.[100] When an irate Orton demanded another match, McMahon granted it at the condition that Mahal would choose the stipulation,[101] revealed to be a Punjabi Prison match.[102] With Mahal referring to The Great Khali as his "personal hero" and thus ignoring their past animosity,[103] Khali eventually made his return at Battleground on July 23 to help Mahal defeating Orton to retain the WWE Championship.[104] On the final SmackDown before SummerSlam, Mahal lost his non-title match against John Cena after interference from Money in the Bank winner Baron Corbin. Afterwards, Corbin cashed in his Money in the Bank contract, but as soon as the match started, he attacked Cena instead, allowing Mahal to roll-up for the victory.[105]

Personal life

Dhesi is of Indian Punjabi Sikh origin and speaks Punjabi, Hindi and English.[4] He is the nephew of wrestler Gama Singh, who is considered a legendary villain in the original Stampede Wrestling, wrestling around the globe and briefly for then WWE (World Wrestling Federation, a.k.a. the WWF) in the 1980s.[2] Dhesi also holds a business degree in communications and culture from University of Calgary.[citation needed]

Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Calgary-Shaw Graham Sucha tabled three documents before the Assembly, formally congratulating Mahal for winning the WWE Championship.[106][107]

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

References

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