The new United States Champion, Jinder Mahal was a recent guest on Lilian Garcia’s Chasing Glory podcast where he discussed the early struggles of breaking into wrestling. Below is a highlight of the interview with a h/t to SEScoops.com for the transcription.
“When I started wrestling I was still in high school. I would wrestle with guys that were 30 years old, we would drive like 20 hours to a show. I’m still in High School at this time. I wrestled Tyler Breeze one time when there was like 20 people at the show.
I’ve wrestled around five people, drove hours and hours and got paid $10. I often don’t share that side, but for years I was training, traveling, struggling. I wasn’t just made in the Development somewhere.”
Johnny Gargano On Body Transformation & Who Inspired His Nickname
On his body transformation:
“I went away for a little bit after Tommaso turned his back on me. I’m always of the mindset that when you come back you have to be better than yourself and that’s my mindset from watching Triple H who went away and tore his quad and came back with those “Beautiful Day” videos and looked like a million dollars. You can’t go away for a long time and come back looking worse. You just can’t do that. I realized in myself, look I’m a small guy, I’m never going to be 250 pounds, I’m never going to be 6’5″, but I can get as jacked and as lean as humanly possible. And luckily enough for whatever reason I genetically have great abs. So I decided to go all in on being lean and going all in putting my best foot forward and looking the best I can. I hired a nutritionist, Austin Current on Instagram, he’s working with a lot of people now in WWE because they saw how well it worked for me and people were like give me your nutritionist’s info because it works. That along with Sean Hayes at the Performance Center who has amazing workouts and got me to where I need to be.”
Who inspired his nickname ‘Johnny Wrestling’:
“It was just a tweet that I sent out one day when Johnny Manziel was still in college and the Johnny Football thing was starting to catch fire. I just randomly said, if he can be Johnny Football why can’t I be Johnny Wrestling? And then like the next weekend at shows I started getting Johnny Wrestling chants and the weekend after that I got Johnny Wrestling chants and they kept getting bigger and bigger. And as soon as the NXT thing happened, it blew up. It was inspired off Johnny Manziel because I am a Cleveland Browns fan so I was pumped about Manziel Mania coming to town but now it’s taken on a life of its own and people don’t even make that correlation anymore.”