A Look Back At The Story Of Former WWE Champion Jinder Mahal

Hello again wrestling fans, and welcome to a special championship edition of A Look Back At The Story Of.

Since WWE’s Backlash Premium Live Event is going live on Peacock and the WWE Network soon, this edition of the column will take a look back at the 2017 WWE Championship reign of Jinder Mahal.



After signing a developmental deal and competing in Florida Championship Wrestling, Jinder Mahal made his WWE main roster debut on the April 29th, 2011 edition of Friday Night Smackdown. Following a start and stop feud with The Great Khali, WWE sent Mahal back to Florida in 2012, where the company’s revamped developmental territory awaited. As a member of the black and gold brand, Jinder lost his NXT debut, before earning #1 Contendership rights in an October 11th victory over Bo Dallas. Mahal finally stepped into the ring with NXT Champion Seth Rollins a month later, but Jinder failed to capture the title, and ate a Piece Of Mind from Rollins in the process.

Mahal entered 2013 as a member of the self-proclaimed rockband 3MB, and found early success on an episode of WWE’s forgotten Saturday Morning Slam brand. The powers that be in WWE soon began booking Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre, and Jinder Mahal as WWE’s modern day equivalent to the J.O.B Squad, as the trio lost multiple matches against The Uso’s, Los Matadores, Prime Time Players, and Tons Of Funk throughout 2013, as well as an <i>Old School Raw</i> matchup with Too Cool and Rikishi at the start of 2014. Following WrestleMania 30, 3MB and Hornswoggle started a feud with Los Matadores and El Torito, leading to the highly entertaining Extreme Rules WeeLC match. Torito and ‘Swoggle carried the first half of the no-disqualification contest alone, but 3MB and Los Matadores couldn’t resist the urge to interfere in the match. In the final moments of the spot fest, everyone in the ring hit anyone close to them with anything that they could, until Torito and the Matadores drove Mahal through a cluster of ladders and tables at ringside. El Torito eventually put Hornswoggle through a table for the win, and Jinder went on to receive his release from WWE on June 12th.

Return To Sender

Over the summer of 2016, Jinder Mahal returned to WWE in Atlanta, Georgia, where Mahal defeated Heath Slater in 14 seconds to earn a new WWE contract. After the random return, Mahal closed 2016 on a losing streak, and entered 2017 with a new ally, Rusev. Mahal and “The Bulgarian Brute” defeated Big Cass in a two-on-one handicapped match at the first Monday Night Raw taping of 2017, but the duo rarely found success afterwards.

Mahal and Rusev eventually cut ties, and Jinder rolled into WrestleMania 33 alone, where he competed in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. In the closing moments of the multi-man match, All-Pro NFL Tight End and Super Bowl Champion Rob Gronkowski stepped into the ring, and blasted Jinder with a shoulder tackle. The move sent Mahal backwards through the air, and allowed Mojo Rawley to eliminate Jinder for the win. The downward spiral for Mahal continued over the next three weeks, with Jinder losing a trio of televised singles battles to Sami Zayn, Finn Balor, and Mojo Rawley in under three minutes.

Rise Of The Maharaja

The WWE career of Jinder Mahal turned a complete 180 on April 18th, when Mahal defeated Dolph Ziggler, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, Sami Zayn, and Mojo Rawley in a WWE title #1 contender Six Pack Challenge on Smackdown. Mahal competed for the WWE Championship at Backlash, where Mahal, along with his new associates The Singh Brothers, battled WWE Champion Randy Orton. After nearly 15 minutes of heavy interference from The Singh Brothers, Mahal dropped Orton with the Khallas for the win, and dropped the jaws of the entire WWE Universe at the same time.

WWE’s first Champion of Indian descent earned a Smackdown victory over Mojo Rawley a week later, before successfully defending his WWE Championship against “The Viper” at Money In The Bank. Following wins over Luke Harper and Tye Dillinger, Jinder Mahal defended his WWE Championship against Randy Orton for a second time at Battleground, in a dreadful Punjabi Prison match. Near the end of the slow paced bout, The Great Khali randomly entered the arena, and stopped Orton from escaping the bamboo structure. The Interference allowed Mahal to escape the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia with the WWE Championship, and The Great Khali celebrated Jinder’s win by raising the title high into the air, upside down.

Jinder and Randy Orton hit the ring for non-title action two weeks later on Smackdown, where Orton handed Jinder his first loss as Champion. During the next edition of WWE’s weekly blue program, Money In The Bank briefcase holder Baron Corbin interfered in John Cena and Jinder Mahal’s promo duel, in an attempt to cash-in the contract. After the bell rang, Corbin air-mailed a big right hand to Cena, allowing Mahal to pin Baron with a roll-up for the sneaky win.

End Of The Reign

Five days later, “The Modern Day Maharaja” defeated Shinsuke Nakamura at Summerslam, inside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. With WWE’s SummerSlam Premium Live Event in the rearview mirror, WWE Champion Jinder Mahal teamed up with his former ally Rusev, and dropped a tag team collision with the duo of Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura. The 50th WWE Champion surpassed 30 days without defending his title, before entering Hell In A Cell with Shinsuke Nakamura. Mahal and “The King of Strong Style” tangled inside the unforgiving steel structure at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan for over fifteen minutes, until interference from Samir and Sunil Singh helped “The Modern Day Maharaja” retain the title.

After Hell In A Cell, Mahal mostly cut promos on television, on the way to his requested Champion vs. Champion clash with Universal Champion Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series. Eight days before WWE’s annual big-four event, Jinder Mahal defended his WWE Championship against AJ Styles on Smackdown. Jinder and “The Phenomenal One” slugged it out for over 16 minutes on the program, until a Styles Clash put an end to Mahal’s run at the top of WWE. Jinder made sporadic appearances ahead of December’s Clash Of Champions Pay-Per-View, where WWE Champion AJ Styles defended his title against Jinder Mahal. With The Singh Brothers standing by at ringside, AJ battled Jinder for over twenty minutes, until Styles applied the Calf Crusher on Mahal for a submission victory.

Following his time at the top of the WWE Smackdown card, Mahal captured the United States Championship at WrestleMania 34, after defeating his old pal Rusev, “Glorious” Bobby Roode, and defending champion Randy Orton in a match contested under Fatal 4-Way rules. Eight days later, Mahal lost the title to Jeff Hardy, and made the move to Monday Night Raw.

That’s all for this edition of A Look Back At The Story Of! Stop by next time for an all-new edition of the column, featuring former WWE Superstar Mason Ryan.

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