Jinder Mahal will face Randy Orton for the WWE World Championship at Backlash, the WWE’s next pay-per-view event. In recent weeks, WWE programming has been playing up the fact that Mahal is not American, with Mahal’s character telling WWE fans that they are simply scared of someone who is different from them. So where exactly is Jinder Mahal from?
Well, Mahal was born in Alberta, Canada, and he is of Punjabi Sikh origin. When he first became involved in the WWE, Mahal said that he thought his background would work to his advantage.
“I think they needed an Indian guy, they were looking for one,” he told Slam Wrestling. “We had matches and stuff and all the wrestlers came in their gimmicks. Well, I came out wearing a turban and had my full outfit on, and spoke Punjabi in my promo, and they liked that. They like guys who speak different languages and have different looks.”
Jinder Mahal is billed as being from Punjab, India, although he was born in Canada. He is one of nine SmackDown Live superstars who is from Canada, with the others being Gurv Sihra, Harv Sihra, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Tye Dillinger, Tyler Breeze, Viktor, and Natalya.
When Jinder Mahal got started in the WWE, he was placed into a storyline with The Great Khali, another Indian wrestler. It was soon revealed as part of this feud that within kayfabe, Mahal married The Great Khali’s sister.
When Jinder Mahal became the number one contender for the WWE World Championship, it was rumored that part of the reason was because the WWE was looking to expand its business in India, having recently hired a new vice president and general manager of WWE India. It looks like there is support for Mahal there, with Sportskeeda recently tweeting out a photo of a Jinder Mahal banner hanging in Kolkata; the banner says “Jinder Mahal Next WWE Champion.”
It is widely assumed that Randy Orton will defeat Jinder Mahal at Backlash, but could he shock the world and actually win the World Championship? We’ll find out at Backlash, which airs on Sunday, May 21st on the WWE Network.