WWE returned to India for the first time in nearly two years last Saturday for a live event in New Delhi. In the most-anticipated match of the night, Triple H scored a surprise victory over Jinder Mahal, who had been heavily pushed by WWE since the spring to help expand in India.
During an interview with NBC Sports this week, Triple H seemed to suggest that he got the victory because he was more over in India than Mahal.
“I often think it’s funny to me that people in America, who have never been to India, put their thoughts and their beliefs onto other people, ‘like clearly that’s the truth.’ (Laughs). It’s totally different there!” Triple H said. “The way they see things and react to things is very different. There are certain guys that once they reach a level there, it’s a whole different ballgame; Undertaker, [John] Cena. It’s just a different level of stardom.
“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.
“It’s not to say Jinder wasn’t ‘over’ there. He was! You have to understand the market. It’s not like everyone just went, ‘Oh my God he’s Indian! He looks like us so we love him.’ They are a savvy market. They understand that he’s [playing] a bad guy [on television]. Even though he got a massive reaction, he still needs to earn their respect. He’s still growing and still new. You know what I mean?”
Triple H also said that despite the loss, Mahal will emerge from the experience a bigger star.
“Just even being on this tour will help him. 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.”
Triple H also discussed NXT debuting on the USA Network last Wednesday, the rise of Andrade “Cien” Almas rise since being paired with Zelina Vega, where he sees NXT going over the next several years and more. For the full interview, click here.