Veer Mahaan is already making serious waves in WWE as one of the company’s most fearsome competitors – and he underwent an incredible physical transformation to do so.
Following months of vignettes teasing his arrival on the main roster, Mahaan finally debuted on the Raw after WrestleMania in April.
After laying waste to Dominik Mysterio, he then spent weeks destroying local competitors.
In his matches so far, Veer’s trademark has been to lock his opponents in the terrifying Cervical Clutch to win the match. He then re-applies the move for several painful seconds after it has ended.
On the most recent edition of Raw, Mahaan defeated Mustafa Ali using the same move. In a hilarious segment, he then posed for ‘selfies’ with Theory and The Miz whilst the Cervical Clutch was locked in.
What has particularly impressed WWE fans is that, for a man of his size, Mahaan has shown incredible athleticism to go along with his power. What some may not know, however, is that the Indian superstar has an interesting backstory.
Veer Mahaan’s baseball and film roots
Before signing with WWE in 2018, Veer Mahaan – real name Rinku Singh – was a professional baseball player.
The Pittsburgh Pirates signed him after winning a pitching contest titled ‘The Million Dollar Arm’ in 2008.
Singh played 11 games in his first professional season. He would later have spells in baseball leagues across Australia and the Dominican Republic.
In addition, he played minor league baseball in the United States. However, he struggled with injuries between 2013 and 2015, and moved on to wrestling soon after.
His baseball story was turned into a film titled ‘Million Dollar Arm‘, a homage to the pitching contest he won. The story of Dinesh Patel, who was the runner-up and also signed a deal with Pittsburgh Pirates, is also chronicled. Suraj Sharma plays Singh in the film.
Veer Mahaan underwent an incredible physical transformation after baseball
Following his decision to switch to professional wrestling, Veer Mahaan needed to get into ring shape before he could be signed by WWE.
Professional wrestling is one of the most physically demanding practices in the world, and so performers need to be in peak condition.
In an interview with The Times of India, Mahaan explained how he built himself up from 150 to 256 pounds – and the challenges of being a professional wrestler.
“When I signed for pro baseball, I was a 150-pound kid,” he began. “Then, when I signed for WWE, I was at 256 pounds, so it wasn’t easy.
“Being a vegetarian, it’s hard to find enough protein. There were many meal prep companies that I tried on, but they didn’t work.
“It’s like you have to have Indian food then you ate going to feel like – yes, I got something. So until today, I still cook. I still make my own meal prep, for me to be able to keep track of how much protein, calories etc, I am ingesting. My whole free time goes into meal prep.”
“It was tough in the beginning [as a wrestler],” he said. “I thought being a professional athlete, everything was very easy and simple, because we athletes pick up things very, very easily.
“But as I got into the ring, I realised that what a WWE Superstar does in the ring, no other sport can be compared with it. I had been a professional athlete for eight and a half years, and I thought, ‘Man, this is going to take me a long time to get’.”
Featured Image Credit: WWE