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Jinder Mahal

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Jinder Mahal
Jinder Mahal at Superstars taping in London 17th April 2012 (7282713292).jpg
Mahal in April 2012
Birth name Yuvraj Singh Dhesi
Born (1986-07-19) July 19, 1986 (age 30)
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Family Gama Singh (uncle)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Jinder Mahal[1]
Raj Dhesi
Raj Singh[2]
Tiger Raj Singh[3]
Billed height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)[1][2]
Billed weight 222 lb (101 kg)[1]
Billed from Punjab, India[1][4]
Trained by Allen Coage[3]
Gama Singh[3]
Gerry Morrow[3]
Jakayla Sanders[3]
Debut 2002

Yuvraj "Raj" Singh Dhesi (born July 19, 1986)[2] 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.

During his first stint in WWE, Mahal had a short-lived alliance with his brother-in-law, The Great Khali. Mahal was then mostly utilized as enhancement talent and formed 3MB, a trio who had rock star personas, with Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre. After being released from WWE in 2014, he returned to the promotion two years later, improving his body condition and received a push after WrestleMania 33, culminating to 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.[5] He debuted in Premier Martial Arts Wrestling (PMW) working as Raj Dhesi. He then went on to train with Bad News Allen and Gerry Morrow wrestling in a revived Stampede Wrestling, alongside fellow future WWE Superstars Natalya Neidhart, Tyson Kidd and Viktor.[6]. As 'Tiger' Raj Singh, Dhesi also won various tag team championships in Stampede and in PWA, spending much of his early career teaming with his cousin Gama Singh Jr.; together known as the new 'Karachi Vice' and also as 'Sikh & Destroy'.[7] In the Prairie Wrestling Alliance, he was the PWA Champion from 2008 until January 2010 and also spent time in Great North Wrestling (GNW); where he feuded with such wrestlers as Samoa Joe and Hannibal.

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).[3] 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".[3] In early 2010, he signed to a developmental contract with FCW.[3]

Various 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 fellow Indian wrestler The Great Khali and his manager, Ranjin Singh, backstage. During the segment, Mahal spoke in Punjabi that he was really happy and excited to see Khali and Ranjin. The next week, 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 heel. Mahal interrupted a Khali Kiss Cam segment the following week, slapping Khali twice. On the May 20 episode of SmackDown, Mahal interrupted Khali's match against Jey Uso, leading to Khali confronting Mahal. On his first televised match on June 17, 2011 edition of Smack Down, Mahal defeated Vladimir Kozlov. On the July 1 episode of SmackDown, it was revealed that Mahal was married to Khali's sister making them (kayfabe) brothers-in-law. 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. In a rematch on SmackDown, they lost again to Bourne and Kingston. After the match, Khali walked away from Mahal, ending their alliance.[8] On the September 16 episode of SmackDown, Mahal attacked Khali during his match with Heath Slater which Khali won. On the September 23 episode of SmackDown, Khali defeated Mahal in a singles match, thus suffering his first loss in a singles match. On the October 14 episode of SmackDown, Mahal competed in the largest Battle Royal in WWE history, a 41-man Battle Royal, where Mahal made it to the final three before being eliminated by Randy Orton.

Mahal wrestling Yoshi Tatsu in April 2012

After the feud with Khali finished, Mahal targeted wrestlers whom he deemed as beneath him or embarrassing. In November, Mahal began a feud with Ted DiBiase.[9] On the December 30 episode of Smackdown, Mahal broke DiBiase's winning streak via submission, ending their feud.[10][11] In December, Mahal, trying to make a name for himself, went after Sheamus and constantly disrespected him. On December 13, Sheamus defeated Mahal and for several months, they were involved in multiple matches, with Sheamus always getting the best of Mahal.[12] At Mahal's first Royal Rumble, he was eliminated by the Great Khali, rekindling their feud. On the next SmackDown, Khali again defeated Mahal.[12] At Over the Limit, Mahal participated in and lost a battle royal where the winner was to receive a shot at the WWE Intercontinental Championship or the WWE United States Championship where he was eliminated by The Great Khali.[12]

Mahal began confronting several wrestlers, starting with Randy Orton, interrupting one of his promos. In retaliation, Orton attacked him with an RKO.[13] On July 23 at Raw 1000, Mahal confronted Kane, leading a group consisting of Drew McIntyre, Curt Hawkins, Tyler Reks, Hunico and Camacho. Mahal claimed none of them had been given an opportunity within WWE, and would make one by taking down Kane. The Undertaker's sudden appearance halted their advance. The Brothers of Destruction attacked the group and took them out.[14][15] On the July 27 episode of SmackDown, Mahal lost to Ryback by countout. He then began a feud with him, winning by intentional count-out and disqualification. Mahal, to try and prove himself to Ryback, requested a match against two jobbers, in a match style similar to Ryback's, defeating them quickly by submission. In spite of this, Mahal continued his feud with Ryback, attacking him during their matches and after Ryback's. Mahal was finally pinned by Ryback on the August 24 episode of SmackDown.[16]

When WWE rebranded its developmental territory, FCW, into NXT Wrestling,[17] Mahal began appearing on the rebooted WWE NXT, where he started a winning streak by defeating several wrestlers, including Derrick Bateman and Percy Watson.[18][19] 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.[20] On the August 15 episode of NXT, Mahal defeated Richie Steamboat in the semi-finals of the Gold Rush Tournament.[21] On the August 29 episode of NXT, Mahal was defeated by Seth Rollins in the finals of the Gold Rush Tournament, ending his NXT winning streak.[22] 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.

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.[23] The alliance of Mahal, Slater and McIntyre were later named 3MB.[24] From October 2012, 3MB racked up many wins against Team Co-Bro (Santino Marella and Zack Ryder) and The Usos, all of them due to illegal interference.[25][26][27] At the Survivor Series pre-show, Mahal and Slater defeated Santino Marella and Zack Ryder with Mahal pinning Ryder. At TLC, 3MB were defeated by the team of The Miz, Alberto Del Rio and The Brooklyn Brawler.[28] The next night at the Slammy Awards show, 3MB lost again to Miz, Del Rio and Tommy Dreamer. Mahal competed in the 30-man Royal Rumble match at the Royal Rumble, entering at number 27, but was eliminated by Sheamus. 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. On the April 15 episode of Raw, 3MB called out The Shield, only for Brock Lesnar to come out instead and attack the group.[29] At the Night of Champions pre-show, 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).[30]

In late 2013, 3MB began adopting new ring names against their opponents, although their misfortunes and amounting losses remained the same. At WrestleMania XXX, Mahal competed in the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal but was eliminated by Mark Henry. In May, 3MB formed an alliance with Hornswoggle to feud with Los Matadores. On June 12, 2014, WWE announced that Mahal was released from his WWE contract.[31]

Independent circuit (2014–2016)

Mahal in November 2015

Dhesi wrestled for Reality of Wrestling at their summer iPPV, ROW Summer of Champions 2014 under the name Raj Singh, defeating Jasper Davis[32] On October 24, 2014 at All Star Wrestling in Vancouver at the live event Fright Night Live, Raj Singh teamed with his cousin Gama Singh Jr. to defeat Kyle Sebastian and Collin Cutler to win the ASW Tag Team Championship. He also appeared in Puerto Rican promotion the World Wrestling Council against local star Ray Gonzalez. He also participated in Qatar Pro Wrestling Souq Waqif Championship tournament in April 2015 where he ended up as first runner up. On May 5, 2015, Dhesi, as Raj Singh, made his debut for Japanese promotion Inoki Genome Federation (IGF), losing to Wang Bin.[33] In 2016, he also wrestled for The Great Khali's wrestling promotion Continental Wrestling Entertainment in India.[34]

Return to WWE

The Man of Peace (2016–2017)

On July 27, 2016, it was announced that Dhesi had re-signed with the WWE as Jinder Mahal. On the August 1 episode of Raw, Mahal returned to television alongside Heath Slater, demanding contracts. Later, Raw General Manager Mick Foley informed the pair that they must face each other in a match for a Raw contract, which Mahal won.[35] Throughout the rest of the month, Mahal began losing to the likes of Neville, Sami Zayn and Darren Young. Mahal would then adopt the gimmick of "The Man Who Comes in Peace", advocating peace and tranquility.[36][37] 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.[38] Afterwards, he began competing on Main Event and Superstars, where he often traded wins and losses against Darren Young.[39]

On the December 19 episode of Raw, a notably more lean and muscular[40][41] Mahal began an alliance with Rusev after Mahal had a confrontation with Rusev's rival Enzo Amore before the two attacked Amore.[42] 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. The following week on Raw, Mahal lost to Cass who had Shawn Michaels at ringside; Michaels performed Sweet Chin Music on Rusev at ringside, which distracted Mahal. 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.[43] At Fastlane, Mahal informed general manager Mick Foley about his desire to return to singles competition, prompting Foley to place the duo in singles matches that night. Mahal and Rusev both lost their respective matches against Cesaro and Big Show.[44]

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.[45]

On the WrestleMania 33 kickoff show, 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. On the April 11 episode of SmackDown, it was revealed that Mahal had been drafted there as a part of the Superstar Shake-up. Later that night, he faced Mojo Rawley in a losing effort after another interference from Gronkowski. On the April 18 episode of SmackDown, Mahal won a six-pack challenge against Rawley, Sami Zayn, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan and Dolph Ziggler to become the number one contender for the WWE Championship, after interference from Mahal's new allies, The Singh Brothers. The following week on SmackDown, Mahal confronted and attacked WWE Champion Randy Orton, before taking the championship title from him and leaving the arena in a limousine with the title in hand.[46] Mahal appeared at the Raw brand's exclusive Payback event, and interfered in Orton's match against Bray Wyatt, helping Wyatt win by attacking Orton with the WWE Championship that he stole from him a week earlier on SmackDown. On the May 2 episode of SmackDown, commissioner Shane McMahon forced Mahal to turn over the stolen championship before he went on to defeat Sami Zayn. A week later, Mahal pinned Orton in a six-man tag team match to earn his team the victory.[47] At Backlash on May 21, Mahal defeated Orton to win the WWE Championship, his first championship in WWE. This also made him the 50th recognized WWE Champion and the first of Indian descent.[48][49] Two nights later on SmackDown Live, Mahal held a Punjabi Celebration for his WWE Championship win. It was also announced by SmackDown commissioner Shane McMahon, that Randy Orton had invoked his rematch clause and the pair would face each other at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view in a rematch. At Money In the Bank, with WWE Hall of Famers Ric Flair and 'Cowboy' Bob Orton Jr. at ringside, Mahal still managed to defeat Orton, successfully retaining his WWE Championship in the process.

Personal life

Dhesi is of Punjabi Jat Sikh origin, and speaks Punjabi, Hindi and English.[3] 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 the WWE in the 1980's.[50] Dhesi also holds a business degree in communications and culture from University of Calgary.

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.[51][52]

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

References

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External links