We mentioned that Jinder Mahal took part in a media conference call last week. Below are the questions that I asked Jinder directly:
In the past, people have hailed SmackDown Live as the land of opportunities, and we have seen that with you and Breezango. When you moved to SmackDown Live, did you think you'd be able to climb the proverbial mountain in such a short period?
"I knew that I'd be able to climb the mountain, but in such a short period? I didn't think so. I mean, SmackDown Live is the land of opportunity, and I'm a living proof of that. But you know what? I was given the opportunity during the number one contender's match, and I took advantage of the opportunity.
"I could have the opportunity that was given to me, and I am very thankful for the opportunities. I was very excited when I was moved to SmackDown Live, because I knew it would be a fresh start. You know which it was, and it turned out to be (true). SmackDown Live is a great place, with a great roster, and many talented Superstars. I'm very excited to be a part of SmackDown Live."
Your title win was monumental for the Indian fans, and for the country itself. When you realised your dreams of becoming a champion, did you imagine the response that your victory evoked back in India?
"Uh, no, I didn't think it would be this huge. But, I know the Indians are very proud, and Indians have been waiting a long time for another WWE Champion. You know it's been seven years since - I think seven years since The Great Khali was champion. So I think it was about time the WWE - you know, India is a very proud country and India does have many world class athletes. But sometimes, we're not given the opportunity, so I was very fortunate, very lucky to be given the opportunity to not only shine, but also to let India shine."
You will be facing Randy Orton at the Money In The Bank PPV. More than when you won the title, do you think more pressure will be on you at the PPV for your first title defense (regarding the match, the PPV doing well etc)?
"Yeah, of course. Winning it is one thing. But retaining is another. You know I plan on being a long term champion. I don't think, 'Get through one Pay - Per - View match'. I'm thinking, 'I want to be champion for years to come.' I want to be one of the greatest champions of all time. And it's a good pressure - I need this pressure. Because if pressure is making me work, if it's making me work harder - it was hard work to get to the championship, to win the championship. But now, truly the hard work starts now. It's going to be harder. I'm going to be training, more preparation into my matches, because I plan on staying the champion for a long time."
Triple H recently commented that when you first worked for WWE years ago, you were still young and weren't really mature to thrive in the company, and you agreed about the same. How far do you think you've come along in the past couple of years?
"Yeah, that's true. When I came to WWE - I got signed when I was 23. When I was on SmackDown roster, the main roster, I was 24. I wasn't ready for those responsibilities. I wasn't - I wasn't seasoned enough as a wrestler, as an in - ring performer. But now that I'm 30 - you know, I still haven't even hit my prime yet. I'm still getting better (with) every match. I'm still coming back every week in better shape.
"So to think what I'm going to be in a year from now, or three years from now or five years from now - I truly believe that I will be one of the all time greats. And yes, Triple H did mention the fact that - he mentioned that me and Drew, we both were just a couple of kids trying to make it before. But, you know, now we're grown men. Now we're mature outside of the ring, and in everything.
"I have my focus, I have my drive. Which I believe is very important. I believe that I haven't hit my peak. I'm just starting."