Yuvraj Raj Dhesi (July 19, 1986), better known by his ring name Jinder Mahal, is an Indo-Canadian professional wrestler currently signed with WWE, where he performs on the Smackdown brand and is a former WWE Champion. He was a member of the Three Man Band (3MB).
Dhesi previously worked for WWE from 2010 until June 2014 when he was released. He re-signed with WWE in 2016, returning as Jinder Mahal on the RAW brand but due to the Superstar Shakeup in April 2017, he was transferred to the Smackdown Live brand.
Professional wrestling career
Dhesi began his wrestling career at the Martial Arts Fitness Center in Calgary, Alberta training with former WWE superstar "Razor" Rick Titan and Premier Martial Arts Wrestling (PMW) working as Raj "The Future" Dhesi. He then went on to train with "Champagne" Jerry Morrow and Bad News Allen at the New Japan Pro Wrestling dojo. In Canada's Stampede Wrestling, After working for a time with Hybrid Wrestling Coalition (HWC) Dhesi teamed with his cousin Gama Singh, Jr., as The Karachi Vice, and Sikh n' Destroy. In March 2005, the team won the Stampede Wrestling International Tag Team Championship, holding it for eight months. They won the title for a second time in December of that year, holding it until November of the following year. He also worked for the Prairie Wrestling Alliance, where he was the PWA Champion from 2008 until January 2010, and also a three time tag team champion. Dhesi also competed for Great North Wrestling (GNW), where he feuded with such wrestlers as Samoa Joe and Hannibal. In December 2009, he traveled to Tampa, Florida, to try out for WWE's developmental promotion Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW).
World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE
Florida Championship Wrestling (2010–2011)
He decided to start training to become a WWE wrestler. He traveled to Tampa, Florida, to try out for WWE's developmental promotion Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). At the try out Steve Keirn, Pat Patterson and Mike Rotunda saw him wrestle but Dhesi thinks that what sold him to the WWE was his ability to speak Punjabi and his authentic costume like his turban. He remembers that, "I think they needed an Indian guy, they were looking for one." In early 2010, he was signed to a developmental contract with FCW.
Main roster and NXT (2011–2012)
Jinder Mahal made his televised WWE debut on the April 29, 2011 episode of SmackDown, greeting fellow Indian superstar The Great Khali and his brother, Ranjin Singh backstage. During the segment, Mahal spoke in Punjabi that he was really happy and excited that Khali and Ranjin were there. On their part, both of them were happy too. The next week, Mahal, unimpressed by how Khali and Singh have been partaking in childish activities instead of winning matches, confronted Singh about his mismanagement of Khali thus confirmed he was a heel. Mahal interrupted a Khali Kiss Cam segment the following week, slapping Khali twice to no response from the giant. On May 20, Mahal interrupted The Great Khali's match against Jey Uso leading Khali to leave the ring to confront Mahal. On the September 5 episode of Raw, he suffered his first loss, when he and The Great Khali lost to WWE Tag Team Champions Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston in a non-title match. In a rematch on SmackDown, they lost again to Kingston and Bourne, when Khali pushed Mahal, after he was slapped by Mahal. Kofi Kingston hit a Trouble in Paradise on Mahal thus turning Khali into a face once again. On the September 16 episode of SmackDown, Mahal attacked Khali during his match with Heath Slater which Khali won. On the September 23, 2011 episode of SmackDown, Khali defeated Mahal in a singles match, thus suffering his first loss in a singles match.
After the feud with Khali finished, Mahal targeted wrestlers whom he deemed as beneath him or embarrassing. In November, Mahal began a feud with Ted DiBiase. On the December 30 episode of Smackdown, Mahal broke DiBiase's winning streak via submission, ending their feud. In December, Mahal, trying to make a name for himself, went after Sheamus and constantly disrespected him. On December 13, Sheamus defeated Mahal and for several months, they were involved in multiple matches, with Sheamus always getting the best of Mahal. At Mahal's first Royal Rumble, he was eliminated by the Great Khali, rekindling their feud. On the next SmackDown, Khali again defeated Mahal. Mahal then mostly competed on Superstars and house shows for the start of 2012. At Over The Limit, Mahal participated in and lost a battle royal where the winner was to receive a shot at the WWE Intercontinental Championship or the WWE United States Championship.
Mahal began confronting several wrestlers, starting with Randy Orton, interrupting one of his promos. In retaliation, Orton hit the RKO on Mahal. On July 23 at Raw 1000, Mahal confronted Kane, leading a group consisting of Curt Hawkins, Tyler Reks, Hunico, Camacho and Drew McIntyre. Mahal claimed none of them had been given an opportunity within WWE, and would make one by taking down Kane. The Undertaker's sudden appearance halted their advance. The Brothers of Destruction attacked the group and took them out. He then began a feud with Ryback, winning by intentional count-out and disqualification. Mahal, to prove himself to Ryback, requested a match against two jobbers, in a match style similar to Ryback's, defeating them quickly by submission. In spite of this, Mahal continued his feud with Ryback, attacking the man during their matches and after Ryback's. Mahal finally was pinned by Ryback on the August 24 episode of SmackDown.
When WWE rebranded its developmental territory, FCW, into NXT Wrestling, Mahal began appearing on the rebooted WWE NXT, where he started a winning streak by defeating several wrestlers, including Derrick Bateman and Percy Watson. On the August 8 episode of NXT, Mahal was inserted into the Gold Rush Tournament to crown the first NXT Champion, where he defeated Bo Dallas in the first round. On the August 15 episode of NXT, Mahal defeated Richie Steamboat in the semi-finals of the Gold Rush Tournament. On the August 29 episode of NXT, Mahal was defeated by Seth Rollins in the finals of the Gold Rush Tournament, ending his NXT winning streak. On the November 7 episode of NXT, Mahal won a number one contender fatal four-way elimination match against Bo Dallas, Drew McIntyre and Justin Gabriel. The next week, Dallas goaded Mahal into facing him in a match with the title shot on the line, but Mahal prevailed once again. Mahal's title shot eventually came to naught when he lost again to NXT Champion Seth Rollins.
On the September 23 episode of SmackDown, Mahal and Drew McIntyre interfered in Heath Slater's match against Brodus Clay by attacking Clay. The alliance of Slater, Mahal and McIntyre were later named 3MB. From October 2012, 3MB racked up many wins against Team Co-Bro (Santino Marella and Zack Ryder), and The Usos, mostly due to illegal interference. At TLC, 3MB's winning streak was broken when they were defeated by the team of The Miz, Alberto Del Rio and the Brooklyn Brawler. The following night on Raw, Miz and Del Rio teamed with Tommy Dreamer to again defeat 3MB. On the New Year's Eve edition of RAW, 3MB received a shot at the WWE Tag Team Championships, but were defeated by Team Hell No. Over the course of a few months, 3MB's success waned. Their most recent victory was against Tons of Funk in a 3 on 2 match, but they generally almost always lose. In the episode of RAW November 11, 2013 3MB changed their name to The Union Jacks for the night.
He was released from the WWE on June 12, 2014.
Independent circuit (2014-2016)
Dhesi wrestled for Reality of Wrestling at their summer iPPV, ROW Summer of Champions 2014 under the name Raj Singh, defeating Jasper Davis. It was reported that he would appear at All-Star Wrestling of Vancouver, Canada on October 24 at Fright night live. Teaming with his cousin Gama Singh Jr.
Return to WWE (2016–present)
Alliance with Rusev (2016–2017)
On July 27 it was announced that Dhesi had re-signed with the WWE as Jinder Mahal. On the August 1 episode of Raw, Mahal returned to television alongside Heath Slater, demanding contracts until Raw General Manager Mick Foley informed the pair that they must face each other in a match for a Raw contract, which Mahal won. Throughout the rest of the month on Raw, Mahal began losing to the likes of Neville, Sami Zayn and Darren Young. Mahal would then adopt the gimmick of a "man who comes in peace", advocating peace and tranquility. On the September 12 episode of Raw, Mahal stated that after he left WWE he "felt anger and rage" and had since "found inner peace" before defeating Jack Swagger. Afterwards, Mahal began competing on Main Event and Superstars, where he often traded wins and losses against Darren Young.
On the December 19 episode of Raw, a notably more lean and muscular Mahal began an alliance with Rusev after Mahal had a confrontation with Rusev's rival Enzo Amore before the two attacked Amore.On the January 2, 2017 episode of Raw, Mahal and Rusev defeated Amore's tag team partner Big Cass in a 2-on-1 handicap match. The following week on Raw, Mahal lost to Cass (who had Shawn Michaels at ringside) after Michaels performed the Sweet Chin Music on Rusev at ringside, which distracted Mahal. On the February 27 episode of Raw, Mahal and Rusev began to show tension after Rusev inadvertently distracted Mahal, causing the two to lose to The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods).
The alliance between Mahal and Rusev ended at Fastlane on March 5, when Mahal informed Raw General Manager Mick Foley about his desire to return to singles competition, prompting Foley to place the duo in singles matches that night and with both Mahal and Rusev losing their respective matches against Cesaro and Big Show. This was done due to Rusev suffering a legit shoulder injury.
WWE Champion (2017)
On the WrestleMania 33 kickoff show on April 3, Mahal was the runner-up in the Andre the Giant Memorial battle royal, being eliminated last by Mojo Rawley after interference from Rob Gronkowski. On the April 11 episode of SmackDown Live, it was revealed that Mahal had been drafted in the Superstar Shake-up and later that night, he lost to Rawley after another interference from Gronkowski to end their feud, but Mahal would defeat Rawley on the June 6 episode of SmackDown Live.
On the April 18 episode of SmackDown Live, Mahal won a six-pack challenge also involving Rawley, Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan, and Luke Harper by pinning Sami Zayn to become the number one contender for the WWE Championship after interference from Mahal's new allies, The Singh Brothers (Samir and Sunil Singh). As part of the storyline, Mahal would confront and attack WWE Champion Randy Orton, taking the title belt and costing him his match with Bray Wyatt at the Raw brand's exclusive Payback event on April 30. On the May 2 episode of SmackDown Live, SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon forced Mahal to return the title belt. Mahal would go on to defeat Sami Zayn, and pin Randy Orton in a six-man tag team match to earn his team the victory. On May 21 at Backlash, Mahal defeated Orton to win the WWE Championship (his first championship in WWE) and became the 50th recognized WWE Champion and the first of Indian descent. After Mahal held a Punjabi celebration for his WWE Championship win,it was announced by SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon that Orton had invoked his rematch clause for Money in the Bank on June 18, where (with WWE Hall of Famers "Cowboy" Bob Orton Jr., Ric Flair, and Sgt. Slaughter at ringside) Mahal defeated Orton in his first title defense. When an irate Orton demanded another match, McMahon granted it at the condition that Mahal would choose the stipulation, which was revealed to be a Punjabi Prison match. With Mahal referring to The Great Khali as his "personal hero" and thus ignoring their past animosity, Khali eventually made his return at Battleground on July 23 to help Mahal defeat Orton and retain the WWE Championship.
On the August 15 episode of SmackDown Live, after Mahal lost to John Cena by disqualification, Money in the Bank winner Baron Corbin cashed in his Money in the Bank contract for a title match, but Mahal was able to pin Corbin with a roll-up and retain the title after Corbin tried to attack Cena. In August, Mahal started a feud with Shinsuke Nakamura over the championship and that led to a title match between the two that was contested at SummerSlam on August 20, which Mahal won after interference by The Singh Brothers. In a rematch between the two, which took place on October 8 at Hell In A Cell, Mahal once again defeated Nakamura to continue his title reign. In October, Mahal declared his intent to battle Universal Champion Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series. However, Mahal lost the WWE Championship to AJ Styles on the November 7 episode of SmackDown Live, ending his reign at 170 days.
United States Championship (2017-2018)
On the December 26 episode of SmackDown, Mahal participated in a tournament for the WWE United States Championship, where he eliminated Tye Dillinger in the first round match. The following year in 2018 during the January 16, episode of Smackdown, Mahal advanced in the semi finals after defeating New Day member Xavier Woods. The tournament final was later held as the main event between Mahal and Bobby Roode. The match ended with Roode defeating Mahal to become the new United States Champion.
Dhesi speaks Punjabi language and English. He is the nephew of wrestler Gama Singh and has a business degree of communications and culture from the University of Calgary.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- "The Maharaja of Metal"
- "The Man Who Comes in Peace"
- "The Maharaja"
- Entrance themes
Championships and accomplishments
- All Star Wrestling
- ASW Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Gama Singh, Jr.
- Prairie Wrestling Alliance
- PWA Heavyweight Championship (2 time)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #148 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2013
- Stampede Wrestling
- Stampede Wrestling International Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Gama Singh, Jr.