During an interview with Metro, the former WWE Champion revealed that he was surprised to be given a run with the title, and perhaps didn’t make the most of the opportunity at the time.
“I wasn’t expecting to become WWE Champion so soon. All I knew was I was working hard, just giving it 100% because as you know I got released in 2014 and I was away from WWE for two years. So, I had a lot of regrets in that time that during my first run I didn’t apply myself fully, and I always said that if I got a second chance in WWE I was going to leave nothing in my tank.”
According to Mahal, he’s struggled watching other talent get opportunities ahead of him since then. However, he believes that he’ll achieve more championship success in WWE if he works hard enough, and he hopes to have a WrestleMania moment at next year’s show, which takes place in his hometown of Tampa, Florida.
It was Mahal’s hard work that got him pushed to the main event in the first place. He returned to the company for his second stint in peak physical condition, which reportedly impressed Vince McMahon so much that he decided to put the title on the superstar in a bid to appeal to WWE’s Indian market.
At the time of this writing, Mahal is out of action with a patellar tendon rupture. In the Metro interview, however, he teased a return at the upcoming Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
Since parting ways with the WWE Championship, Mahal has been a United States Champion. However, his run with the secondary title didn’t last long and he was subsequently used in comedy skits. Prior to his injury, Mahal was a stalwart of the 24/7 Championship scene, having captured the title two times only to lose it again shortly afterward.
As The Inquisitr previously documented, Mahal signed a new five-year contract with the company earlier this year. While that gives him plenty of time to rise in the ranks again on the Monday Night Raw or Friday Night SmackDown roster, it’s one of many examples of lower-card talent being given new deals to dissuade them from joining WWE’s competitors.
It remains to be seen what the company’s plans are for the 33-year-old, but he should be back in action in the coming months.