Jinder Mahal becomes first Indian-origin wrestler to win WWE Championship
At the WWE event Backlash 2017, Indian-origin WWE superstar Jinder Mahal stunned the wrestling world with a shock victory over WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton in a title match. Claiming the WWE World Heavyweight Championship title made Mahal the second wrestler of Indian origin to win a world heavyweight championship after the Great Khali who won the now-defunct World Heavyweight Championship in 2007.
Mahal's words before the match
"It makes me proud that I'm representing all of them [Indians] on such a big scale and I hope I can become WWE Champion and make all of India proud," Mahal had said ahead of the title match.
A brief biography of Jinder Mahal
A Punjabi by origin, Yuvraj Singh "Raj" Dhesi was born on 19th July, 1986. A Canadian national, he began his professional wrestling career at the Martial Arts Fitness Centre in Alberta, Calgary, training with Canadian wrestler Rick Bognar. He made his WWE debut in 2011 under the ring name Jinder Mahal. Dhesi also holds a business degree from the University of Calgary.
Wrestling is in Jinder Mahal's blood
Jinder Mahal is the nephew of retired Indian professional wrestler Gama Singh who had worked with WWE CEO Vince McMahon and wrestled in the WWF from 1980-1986.
The controversy surrounding Mahal's win
Mahal's win over Randy Orton drew criticism from WWE fans on several fronts. Some contested his main event push on grounds that it was too sudden - Mahal went from an average Joe to the No.1 contender for the title seemingly overnight. Other fans held that Mahal was pumped with steroids and should have been disqualified.
Mahal's victory bodes well for the WWE
Mahal's win marked a victory for WWE as a global company. Although 40% of WWE recruits are from somewhere outside the United States, almost every champion on their main roster hailed from North America. However, while Mahal is Canadian, his knowledge of Punjabi and his antics have earned him an Indian repute. This bodes well for WWE which is expanding its presence in India.