Jinder Mahal shocked the world when he defeated Randy Orton at Backlash in 2017 to become the first WWE Champion of Indian descent.
His title reign was divisive, and at the time, it was reported that the company wanted to heavily focus on its presence in India. Despite being seen as enhancement talent before his sudden rise, Mahal was successful in defending his title against Orton at Battleground in a Punjabi Prison match and would hold the title throughout the summer, losing it to AJ Styles just days before Survivor Series in November.
Speaking on the latest episode of After the Bell with Corey Graves, Mahal opened up about being proud of his company’s commitment to diversity while pointing out that South Asians remain an underrepresented group considering how much of the world population they make up.
“It’s incredible; I love it, obviously. WWE prides itself on its diversity and inclusion of everybody, all different cultures. But I do still believe, like South Asians are underrepresented in the WWE. You know, one in five people walking on Earth right now are South Asian or South Asian heritage. So if diversity matters, then it matters for everyone, and it should be equal, right? So you know, we just want our seat at the table to represent our culture, represent our people.”
Jinder Mahal Wants WWE To Open A Performance Center In India
Continuing, Mahal spoke about the diversity within the country of India and expressed his hope that WWE could expand and open an official training facility in that region of the world.
“And India itself is such a diverse country, there’s so many different languages and cultures within India, so all three of us [in Indus Sher], you know, we represent a different part. You know, it’s incredible, and I hope, I was hearing rumblings of like a performance center opening in India. I know we have NXT Europe opening up, so I would love for, you know, NXT Asia, NXT India to maybe be next.”
If you use any quotes from this transcription, please credit WWE After the Bell and link back to this article with a h/t to Inside the Ropes.