It’s not often that the results of a live event (or house show) match get people talking online, but when Triple H beat Jinder Mahal in New Delhi, India this past Saturday, it certainly raised a lot of eyebrows, virtual and otherwise. At least Triple H’s post-match dancing also made people laugh, so credit The Game for continuing to be a great showman.
The assumption by many was that full-time executive/part-time wrestler Triple H would put over Mahal, since WWE had spent nearly half the year trying to present Mahal as a legitimate world champion, had long been trying to appeal to the Indian market, and had marketed this India “supershow” largely around Indian hero Mahal’s first match in the country since reaching the heights of WWE Champion.
Triple H was interviewed by NBCSports this week to talk about NXT debuting on USA Network, and he was also asked about the his win over Mahal. Here’s how he explained his popularity in India, which led to him getting one of the loudest ovations of the night.
“One thing that people forget is the first time I went to India to perform was in 1996. I’ve been on their TV for a really long period of time. There are certain guys there, in that market, who transcend the business for them. When we were talking to our television partners there about the marketing for the event, it was one of the things that kept coming up. It’s why I was put on the card. I haven’t been there in a long time. I was excited and really happy to hear the reaction. It’s sort of what we expected. We know what resonates in markets and we can see it in our numbers and see it in the research that are partners have done as well as on social media.
“When we were over there a few months ago having business meetings, to hear the people who are running television studios or Internet companies say to me ‘I watched you when I was a teenager. You were like the biggest guy in the world.’ I met a massive Bollywood star the other day who told me that I was his entire childhood. He got suspended from school for telling someone to ‘suck it.’ At a time in ’96 when there were like three channels there, we were on one of them all of the time.”
In other words, Triple H is seen as a huge star in India — much bigger than Mahal — and in the eyes of the fans, they wanted to see him go over in the match.
There was also some heavy praise from Triple H to Mahal and what he sees in his future.
“Even though Jinder got a massive reaction, he still needs to earn their respect. He’s still growing and still new.”
“Just even being on this tour will help Jinder. The reaction he got at the beginning of the night was much different than the reaction he got at the end of the night. It just grew. Their appreciation of him grew. It was all handled in the right way and done in the right manner. Over time he’s going to grow and become a cultural icon for them.”
Hopefully that answers the questions for the fans that were mad about Triple H going over Mahal.
Mahal is set to challenge AJ Styles for the WWE Championship at Clash of Champions this Sunday. Triple H hasn’t had a match on television since being part of Team Raw’s victory at Survivor Series, but he should be featured heavily in 2018, likely to set up a rumored WrestleMania match with Braun Strowman.