I interviewed former WWE Champion Jinder Mahal ahead of his match against Triple H at the WWE live event in New Delhi earlier this month. In the second and final part of the interview below, Jinder discussed winning the WWE Championship at Backlash in May, the reaction from Vince McMahon and the locker room after he won the title, wanting to win more gold and a funny road story involving Braun Strowman.
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The reaction of the stars backstage when he won the WWE title:
"I think the reaction backstage was very well, because it showed the boys that anything was possible. Jinder was there to enhance the other guys, to make the other guys look good for years, was released. And he came back and was still — he didn't come back and win the title immediately. I made my own push; I made my own opportunity. WWE is a place where they reward hard work, and they realized, the rest of the boys realized that when they do hard work, doors will open, and stuff starts to happen. And it does. I'd like to think that I motivated the other guys in the locker room."
About Vince McMahon's reaction after he won the title, and when the realization hit him that he was the WWE Champion:
"Yes, yes it did (happen). But I expected it to happen even before I was the number one contender or anything. I would tell Vince McMahon, 'Hey! I'm telling you, I'm going to run this place one day'. And I think Vince likes to hear that. He knew I was motivated. He knew I was hungry. So when I won the championship, and when he congratulated me, he gave me a big hug, and it wasn't a surprise because I told him that this moment was going to happen.
"I look forward to it continuing to happen. I still tell him to this day. I may not run it yet fully, I'm in the running. But one day, this place is going to be mine."
When he was told about him becoming the WWE Champion:
"I didn't know till that day. Even in WWE, you believe it when it happens. Because anything can happen in the WWE at the last minute. Things happen, things change and decisions are made. So even when I learnt earlier, I waited saying it will happen when it happens. Then when it did happen, it kind of set in.
"Actually, it didn't even set in until I was alone in my hotel room when I woke up the next day. 'Oh my God! What just happened?!' So it is definitely cool. It is overwhelming, but it takes some time to settle in."
If he thought he'd be working with AJ Styles, Nakamura and Orton just two years after returning to WWE:
"No, I foresaw it happening, but not that quickly. I thought maybe I'll win the IC title, U.S title first. As of new year last year, I would write down my goals everyday. I would write down becoming a champion in WWE. I wasn't writing down becoming the WWE Champion. I was writing down holding a championship in WWE.
"But I should've been writing down becoming the WWE Champion. And fortunately, that's what happened. But I look forward to winning all the championships in WWE. I want to be the IC Champion. I want to be the U.S. Champion. I want to be the tag team champion. I want to hold all the championships."
Funny road story:
"One time, me and Braun Strowman were riding together in the middle of North Dakota, where there's nothing. We hit a deer, and the deer broke the radiator, so we could not drive any further, and we had no cell service. But luckily, other guys were coming behind us, so we flagged them down on the side of the road.
"He (Strowman) jumped in with Charlotte (Flair) who barely had any room. I jumped in with Gallows and Anderson, and I left the keys under the mat, and finally when I got service, I called the rental company and told them, 'Hey, the car is parked between this town and this town, and the key is under mat. Come and take it!' Luckily I had insurance, and yeah, that was that. But it's a funny story that we basically ditched the car on the side of the road, and luckily he found other people coming. Or we would've maybe had to spend the night there."
Click here for the first part of our Jinder Mahal interview, where Jinder discussed his reaction to his match with Brock Lesnar at the Survivor Series getting nixed, his time with 3MB, Drew McIntyre and more.