Earlier, the Great Khali had won the World Heavyweight Championship in 2007.
Scripting history, WWE Champion Jinder Mahal on Sunday thrashed the fearless challenger Shinsuke Nakamura to retain his title at WWE pay-per-view SummerSlam 2017 at the Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York. Mahal, who wasn’t the favorite in the match, extended his title reign to 91 days. Mahal, an Indian-origin superstar, stunned the wrestling world by winning the title in May with a shock victory over veteran Randy Orton. 30-year-old Mahal slammed Orton to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the WWE’s Backlash event. Mahal, who is a Canadian national, became only the second Indian origin WWE athlete to win a world heavyweight championship. Earlier, the Great Khali had won the World Heavyweight Championship in 2007. Bringing Orton to the floor, Mahal became WWE’s 50th Champion, sending Indian audience in frenzy.
However, Mahal has also earned criticism for taking illegal help from Singh brothers during his bouts. His victory against Nakamura, was somewhat similar to that against Orton, being dominated in the entire match and scoring a win by the use of illegal means. Mahal has cherished his India connection in his WWE in-ring addresses and has even got praise from Indian celebrities.
In a recent gesture, Mahal even celebrated Indian Independence Day inside WWE ring and brought a singer to recite the National Anthem. There are very few Indian origin wrestlers performing well in the world of professional wrestling. Apart from Mahal, Mahabali Shera, Sonjay Dutt, and Saboo are some of the wrestlers from India who have gained popularity in this genre.