He may be far away from contention for main-event gold these days, but former WWE Champion Jinder Mahal reportedly became the latest wrestler in the company to sign a new long-term contract.
Citing multiple unnamed sources, Pro Wrestling Sheet's Ryan Satin wrote that Mahal signed a five-year contract with WWE, not long after fellow lower- and mid-card wrestlers Mojo Rawley, Mike Kanellis, and Maria Kanellis also inked multi-year deals with the promotion. In addition to the aforementioned performers, WrestlingNews.co noted that two upper-card acts — AJ Styles and The Usos — also signed long-term contracts with WWE earlier this year.
As further explained, Mahal's new five-year contract is another example of how WWE has been offering similar deals to performers in an effort to dissuade them from signing with rival companies. Chief among these rivals is All Elite Wrestling, which recently made a big splash by signing another former WWE Champion — Jon Moxley (formerly Dean Ambrose) — and having him make a surprise appearance at their debut show, Double or Nothing, on May 25.
Per WrestlingNews.co, Mahal appears to have made the right move by remaining with WWE, as AEW can only sign so many former WWE wrestlers and give them big-time pushes, while New Japan Pro Wrestling's "hard-hitting" style might not be a good match for Mahal's skill set. At the moment, the 32-year-old grappler is part of WWE's SmackDown Live brand, having moved from Monday Night Raw earlier this year via the Superstar Shake-Up.For most of his initial WWE run from 2011 to 2014, Jinder Mahal was booked as a lower-card talent, as he most memorably teamed up with Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre in 3MB, a three-man faction whose members lost far more often than they won. After two years in the independent ranks, he returned to WWE in 2016, then enjoyed a surprising push the following year, as he got to hold the WWE Championship from May to November 2017. As noted by Pro Wrestling Sheet, this made him the first wrestler of Indian descent to win the prestigious belt.
Mahal made a slow return to a lower-card role in the time since he lost the WWE Championship but has become notably more visible on WWE television in recent weeks. Like several other previously underutilized performers, he has been active in the chase for the recently introduced 24/7 Championship. So far, he has had two runs with the new belt, losing it back to erstwhile eight-time champion R-Truth on both occasions.