Shinsuke Nakamura will look to earn the biggest victory of his career when challenges WWE Champion Jinder Mahal this Sunday at SummerSlam. Ahead of the match, Mahal spoke to Yahoo! Sports. Here are highlights from the interview.
How do you toe the line between playing a character and doing something that could be considered appropriation of Indian culture? Is that something you think about?
“Yeah, absolutely. I know that’s something that the WWE is very aware of. Not just India, but in any country. We don’t want to upset our fans because that’s not what we are here to do. We are here to entertain and ultimately put smiles on people’s faces. If a situation came about something that would offend someone culturally, I would definitely speak up. WWE would want us to speak up because negative press is not our goal. We are here to expand globally; I know that’s one of the goals of WWE. Getting negative media attention and offending people or a religion would not be good.”
What would be more special for you: Defending your WWE Championship in your hometown of Calgary or in India?
“I would say that it would be more special in India. Both would be very, very special, but Calgary already has had a champion with Bret Hart and they already have a rich, established wrestling tradition. Whereas India, yet, isn’t.
“You know, I would love to take the WWE championship back to India. Nobody has ever taken a WWE championship to India so just to think about the power that I would have to motivate the youth and to inspire a tremendous amount of people there is amazing. Obviously, the WWE universe right now over there is very passionate and I know the response would just be electric. That atmosphere of performing there would be on a whole other level. When WWE went there last time, I wasn’t back with WWE so I missed that. All the WWE superstars tell me that it was one of their favorite events they ever worked. The crowd was just electric from beginning to end.”
Mahal also discussed the state of WWE and wrestling in India, his extended family in India and more. You can check out the interview here.