Rinku Singh Rajput is a 34-year-old professional wrestler from India. He is currently signed with World Wrestling Entertainment and performs on RAW. His ring name is Veer Mahaan.
Singh, the son of a truck driver, grew up in poverty in rural village called Gopiganj near Bhadohi in Uttar Pradesh. He was one of nine siblings who lived in the family’s one-room house. As a child, Singh threw the javelin and played cricket. He was a junior national javelin medalist.
In early 2008, Singh entered an Indian reality television show called “The Million Dollar Arm.” The contest was created to find the individual in the country who could throw the fastest an most accurate baseball. Singh had never heard of baseball before but participated and ended up winning the contest out of over 37,000 participants. Singh threw the ball at over 87 miles per hour and won the grand prize of $100,000.
After winning the contest, Singh and runner-up Dinesh Patel travelled to Los Angeles where they trained with University of Southern California pitching coach Tom House. Singh said that most of his family did not agree with his decision to go to the United States. On their first day in the United States, they attended their first baseball game at USC. They continued to learn the game from House and Bernstein, as well as learning English.
Singh’s Professional Baseball Career
Singh and Patel tried out in front of scouts from 20 Major League Baseball teams in November 2008. Singh’s pitches reached 92 miles per hour (148 km/h). Reports from Pittsburgh Pirates scouts Joe Ferrone and Sean Campbell led to general manager Neal Huntington signing both to contracts with the organization. With the deal, the pair became the first Indians to sign American major league baseball contracts. The total signing bonus for both men was $8,000. After training, Singh and Patel returned to visit their families in India before entering Pirates training camp in Bradenton, Florida. Singh and Patel began the 2009 baseball season with the Pirates’ Gulf Coast League affiliate.
On July 4th 2009, Rinku Singh became the first Indian citizen to appear in a professional baseball game in the US. He pitched the seventh inning, while Dinesh Patel pitched the eighth inning. A few days later, on July 13th, Singh won his first professional baseball game in the US, striking out the only batter he faced. He finished the season with a 1–2 record and a 5.84 ERA in 11 games, allowing just one run on three hits in his final six appearances.
In 2010, Singh went 2-0 with a 2.61 ERA over 13 games with Pirates GCL affiliate. He was promoted to the Pirates Class A Short-Season affiliate, the State College Spides, at the end of August. For the 2010/2011 season, Singh played for the Canberra Cavalry of the Australian Baseball League. He pitched well in eight games spread over the DSL, Gulf Coast League, and New York–Penn League, then joined the West Virginia Power of the South Atlantic League in July 2011.
Singh Plagued with Injuries
Singh returned to the Australian Baseball League for the 2011–12 season with the Adelaide Bite. He made the World All-Star team for the 2011 Australian Baseball League All-Star Game. In 2012, he pitched in a career-high 39 games for the Power, throwing 72 innings, earning a 3–1 win–loss record and striking out 65 batters. He struggled with injuries and missed the entire 2013 season, but was invited to 2014 spring training by the Pirates. He also missed the entire 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery and then missed all of the 2015 season because of a broken elbow.
The Pirates re-signed Singh on 9 November 2015. Singh made one appearance for the Gulf Coast League Pirates in 2016, pitching one scoreless inning.
Singh’s Professional Wrestling Career
Rinku Singh signed a contract with WWE on January 14, 2018. He made his in-ring debut at a NXT live event in Tampa on May 31st 2018 losing to Kassius Ohno. A year later in March 2019, Robert Strauss started managing Singh at NXT live events.
On the March 25th 2020 episode of NXT, Singh, Saurav Gurjar, and manager Malcolm Bivens made their televised debut, attacking NXT Tag Team Champion, Matt Riddle. The following week, Bivens introduced them as Rinku and Saurav (dropping their last names) while revealing their team name to be Indus Sher (meaning Indian Tigers) (collectively known as Bivens Enterprises). The following week, Indus Sher defeated Ever-Rise in their debut match and then defeated the tag team of Mike Reed and Mikey Delbrey. On the May 10th episode of RAW, Singh, with the new ring name Veer, along with Shanky, they aligned themselves with Jinder Mahal.
Veer Drafted to Monday Night RAW
As part of the 2021 Draft, Mahal and Shanky were drafted to the SmackDown brand while Veer remained on the RAW brand, ending their alliance. Now a singles wrestler, vignettes began airing in November 2021 of a repackaged Veer, whose ring name was tweaked to Veer Mahaan. Despite WWE continually promoting his return to RAW, Veer spent months absent from RAW. Although during this time, he has also been wrestling on WWE Main Event.
Veer Mahaan finally made his Monday Night RAW debut on April 4 2022. At his debut, he came down to the ring following a match between Dominik Mysterio and The Miz. Veer Mahaan assaulted and attacked both Rey and Dominik Mysterio.SHOW LESS