He’s now the WWE Champion following a very unlikely upset win at Backlash, but Jinder Mahal is still faced with steroid use allegations. With a leaner, more muscular appearance compared to how he looked like during his first WWE run earlier this decade, Mahal has been accused of gaining his new body through performance-enhancing drugs. And while he’s previously taken to social media to maintain that he improved his physique through hard work and a proper diet, the self-proclaimed “Maharajah” of WWE once again addressed the steroid allegations in a recent interview, insisting he has never failed WWE’s random drug tests since his 2016 return.
In an interview with the Times of India, recently-crowned WWE Champion Jinder Mahal touched on several topics, starting with his remarkable rise from lower-card jobber to SmackDown Live’s top champion. Talking about his 2011 to 2014 run with WWE, where he was part of the jobber stable 3MB, Mahal admitted that he wasn’t giving his 100 percent at the time. This is in line with similar comments Jinder previously made on Chris Jericho’s podcast, where he admitted his time with 3MB was the nadir of his career as a pro wrestler.
With a surprise push that has culminated in his winning the WWE Championship, to say little of a new, “ripped” physique that contrasts with how he looked like during the 3MB days, Jinder Mahal has been accused of steroid use even before his move to SmackDown Live via WWE’s “Superstar Shakeup” kickstarted his big push. Mahal made sure to address this speculation once and for all when the Times of India pressed him about the matter.
“I don’t know what kind of criticism that was,” said Mahal.
“I worked hard in the gym a lot. All the WWE talents are drug tested by a third-party agency and I have been tested multiple times and never had an issue, so you know my transformation is all diet, all hard work. I am a tested athlete like every other WWE wrestler. I have no special privilege; nothing like that. I look like an athlete, I perform like an athlete, I carry myself like an athlete and WWE was not hesitant to put me in a WWE title match.”
As Heavy documented, the Jinder Mahal steroid use rumors started late last year, at a time when he was still losing almost every match he competed in since coming back to WWE last summer. This “very dramatic and very sudden” change in physique and increase in athleticism led many fans to assume he was using performance-enhancing drugs. But it hasn’t just been fans spouting such theories, but fellow wrestlers as well, such as former WWE wrestler Ryback.
Last month, on his podcast Conversation with the Big Guy, Ryback accused Jinder Mahal of steroid use, saying that he looked like someone suffering from gynecomastia, or the swelling of breast tissue that often results from anabolic steroid use.
“I noticed… they did a close up of his f**king chest and I just noticed it right away,” Ryback said, in quotes published by ComicBook.
“I’ve never had that or anything because I don’t… like, there’s no reason to. When you get gyno, red flags right off the f**king bat.”
Now that Mahal is fresh off upsetting 13-time world champion Randy Orton for the WWE Championship, he acknowledged that there’s additional pressure from fans and from the WWE in general, which he believes he could continue to thrive in. And that includes fans from India, where Canadian native Mahal’s family originated from. According to Jinder, Indian WWE fans are extremely passionate, and he hopes that his ongoing success in the company would motivate more Indians to enter the wrestling business, or simply get into sports instead of getting into drugs.
“Anything is possible. Especially in Punjab, there is a huge drug problem right now. Stay away from that, take care of your body and respect yourself.”
What do you think of Jinder Mahal’s recent response to the still-ongoing steroid use allegations? Do you still see his WWE Championship win as a fluke or a concession to the WWE Universe’s Indian contingent, or could it be part of a sustained main event push for the “Maharajah,” as he calls himself?
[Featured Image by WWE]