Jinder Mahal may be the most surprising WWE champion in recent memory, but The Maharaja is intensely focused on making the most of his opportunity on SmackDown Live.
Once let go from the WWE, Mahal has come a long ways from his first run with the company when he was in his early-20's. Now, the 30-year-old is savoring the opportunity to be at the top of the company while uplifting a huge wrestling fanbase in India.
The WWE is putting its faith in Mahal to hold down the top of SmackDown Live and pay-per-views, and Jinder is focused on proving he's more than a one-and-done superstar. He's worked had to transform his athleticism and become a stronger in-ring worker.
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That wasn't always the case, as Triple H pointed out in April that Mahal simply wasn't ready for the top wrestling promotion in the world during his first run.
“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. That’s the same with Drew. That opportunity came for them when you’re too young and not ready for it and a little immature to it," Helmsley said.
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"I had a conversation where I told them, ‘We’re not going to be able to do more with you here. Go other places, learn more in your career, mature and think about the business in a different way," HHH said.
Mahal was asked about The Game's remarks in a recent conference call and had this to say about the critique, as transcribed by Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc.
"Yeah, that's true. When I came to WWE - I got signed when I was 23. When I was on SmackDown roster, the main roster, I was 24. I wasn't ready for those responsibilities. I wasn't - I wasn't seasoned enough as a wrestler, as an in - ring performer.
"But now that I'm 30 - you know, I still haven't even hit my prime yet. I'm still getting better (with) every match. I'm still coming back every week in better shape," Mahal said.
"I truly believe that I will be one of the all time greats. And yes, Triple H did mention the fact that - he mentioned that me and Drew, we both were just a couple of kids trying to make it before. But, you know, now we're grown men. Now we're mature outside of the ring, and in everything."
Jinder's on to bigger and better things nowadays, with a major title defense against Randy Orton at Money in the Bank.
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