How it feels to defeat Randy Orton for the title:
"It feels great. Randy Orton is one of the greatest WWE superstars of all time, 13-time WWE champion and to knock off somebody like him, the 'Apex Predator' is a great feeling; being a WWE champion and to be representing India is tremendous. Hopefully this will be the first of many WWE title reigns to come."
If he expected his meteoric rise after returning to WWE last year:
"Yes, it has been less than one year and honestly during my first run with WWE I will be first to admit that I didn't give my 100 per cent. I got side tracked, I was too young. But I learned my lesson and said to myself that if I get another chance with WWE I won't have any regrets and I will give my 110 per cent. And when you give something your 110 per cent, it gives you back 110 per cent and that exactly what happened. I gave my all to WWE trying to be the best superstar in the roster, and they rewarded me with the opportunity to become the WWE champion."
Criticism over the change in his physique:
"I don't know what kind of criticism that was. I worked hard in the gym a lot. All the WWE talents are drug tested by a third-party agency and I have been tested multiple times and never had an issue, so you know my transformation is all diet, all hard work. I am a tested athlete like every other WWE wrestler. I have no special privilege; nothing like that. I look like an athlete, I perform like an athlete, I carry myself like an athlete and WWE was not hesitant to put me in a WWE title match."
Mahal also discussed the added pressure of being WWE Champion, connecting with the Indian audience, creating the "Maharaja" persona and more. You can read the full interview by clicking here.
Source: The Times Of India