Many WWE fans were surprised to see perennial jobber, Jinder Mahal, rocket to the number one contender spot for the WWE Championship last week on SmackDown. While the sudden change in booking seemed strange to most, Triple H saw the behind the scenes work that led to the push. The Game spoke with For the Win about Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre, and discussed how they weren’t ready for WWE the first time they were with the company and how going out into the pro wrestling world helped them find a deeper understanding.
“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. (When they left), 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.’ Sometimes you get reliant on other people telling you what to do instead of going out there and figuring it for yourself, which is what you have to do.
“To Jinder’s credit and to Drew’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. They see their careers differently and what they want and are still extremely hard workers and great people. Now hopefully they are in a better position to succeed.”
Mahal has worked hard enough to convince the WWE brass to give him a shot at being one of the blue brand's top performers.
“From the second he’s been back it’s been, ‘What else can I do to make this work? What else can I do to improve? What else can I do to get to the next level?’” Levesque said. “It takes time. You bring people back, you let them get their feet wet a bit, you make sure they’ve matured in the way you want them to and move from there. I think fans or people who watch we do, they think it’s a matter of, ‘This guy is there so why don’t they do something with him?’ It’s a more complex process than that and a lot goes into it.
“But I’m happy for a guy like him — whether it was because of him or whatever reason it didn’t work out on the first pass through — to be able to come back and do it again.”
Mahal discussed the doubters during his recent visit to SmackDown's post-show Talking Smack last week.
“I know how hard I’ve worked and I know what I’m capable of. I will prove to everybody — despite everybody hating you, nobody giving you opportunities and you earning opportunities — you rise to the occasion and become a champion here in WWE. So when I become champion it’s going to be Jinder ‘The New American Dream.'”
Jinder will face off with Randy Orton at next month's WWE Backlash. Tune into SmackDown Live tonight on the USA Network to see what further steps Jinder takes towards becoming a main event player.