I interviewed former WWE Champion Jinder Mahal ahead of his match against Triple H at this past Saturday's WWE live event in New Delhi. Below is part one of the interview, where Jinder discussed his time with 3MB, Drew McIntyre, his match with Brock Lesnar at the Survivor Series getting nixed and more.
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About the fans focusing on wins and losses, and not so much on the story that is being told:
"I can't say all fans do that, but there is definitely a portion that does get a little bit too involved. You know, my advice to them is to just enjoy it. Right? Just sit back and enjoy the show, but everybody has an opinion, and now with social media, everybody has a voice for that opinion, which is okay. There's nothing wrong with that. That is your opinion, and you can stick to it.
"But story telling is what has worked for the last 100 years, that this profession has been around — for more than hundred years. It's the storytelling that sells the tickets, and not so much the moves, or gymnastics would be selling out stadiums like WrestleMania sells them. It's the storylines, the fundamentals - the good versus evil that has always worked, and always will work."
Fans getting behind 3MB and "Don't Hinder Jinder" chants:
"That's generally cool. I think that's the portion of the fans that like to cheer the guys who that they are being held down, like Dolph Ziggler and Zack Ryder. They get the similar (reaction) that we did with 3 MB. But it was up to us to make or break, and I'm the first to admit that it was our fault we weren't successful. We weren't giving it a 100%. If I was just as focused back then as I am now, I would be multiple time world champion right now, and today, I'd be sitting here a totally different Superstar.
"But in a way, getting released was the best thing that happened to me. Because I got the much needed kick in the butt, right? I would've just been coasting had I not been released, which just like in WWE, is a kiss of death — in any sport. MMA, cricket or anything, you cannot just coast. Everyday, you have to wake up hungry. Everyday, you have to put in the hard work. You can't just become complacent or lazy, or then the decline happens."
About Drew McIntyre having a chip on his shoulder:
"We didn't (talk about needing to work harder). Actually, when Drew got released, he took it very personally. He had a huge chip on his shoulder. Drew wanted to prove to them (WWE) that they made a mistake. And when he came to WWE NXT, he came back a completely new Drew. He wasn't the same Drew that got released in 3 MB. Just like me, I'm not the same person, and same with Slater.
"Slater did the thing with Rhyno and became the tag team champion. But I think even Slater has more to offer than that. And we'll definitely see that, because Slater is also focused, is also motivated, and with the right opportunity, he's going to shine also."
Not being able to face Brock Lesnar at The Survivor Series:
"I found the day of, when we got to Manchester. To be honest, I was a little disappointed, I was looking forward to that match. But I know that match is going to happen sometime in the future, and it is up to me to make sure that it happens. And I'm going to make sure that it happens. Either; as I said earlier, there are two ways you can take it. You can either say you're going to make it happen, or write and do whatever it takes to get there, or you can pour out, boohoo, and blame someone else. But what is meant to be, was meant to be, it will be. And I'm going to make sure that it becomes."
Check back later this week for the second and final part of the interview where Jinder discussed Vince McMahon's reaction after he won the WWE Championship, the reaction by the locker room, a funny Braun Stroman story and more.