|Rinku Singh Rajput
|Indian professional wrestler
|Gopiganj, Uttar Pradesh, India
|WWE Performance Center
Rinku Singh Rajput (born 8 August 1988) is an Indian professional wrestler and former professional baseball player. He is currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the Raw brand under the ring name Veer Mahaan.
The Pittsburgh Pirates organization signed Singh after he won a pitching contest on a 2008 reality television show, The Million Dollar Arm. He was the first Indian to play professional baseball and spent several seasons in the minor leagues, reaching the Single-A level. He is the subject of the movie Million Dollar Arm.
|Veer Mahaan Biography
|Rinku Singh Rajput
|8 August 1988
Gopiganj, Uttar Pradesh, India
|Professional wrestling career
|6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
|125 kg (276 lb)
|WWE Performance Center
Table of Contents
Singh grew up in poverty, the son of a truck driver, in a rural village called Gopiganj, Bhadohi in Uttar Pradesh. Singh was one of nine siblings living in the family’s one-room house. The home had electricity but relied on well water. Singh threw the javelin and played cricket as a little boy. He was a junior national javelin medalist. Singh is an alumnus of the Guru Gobind Singh Sports College, Lucknow.
In early 2008, Singh entered an Indian reality television show, The Million Dollar Arm. The contest was created by American sports agent J. B. Bernstein and his partners Ash Vasudevan and Will Chang to find the individual in the country who could throw the fastest and most accurate baseball. Having never heard of baseball before, Singh won the contest out of over 37,000 participants after throwing 87 miles per hour. The grand prize for the contest was $100,000.
After winning the contest, Singh and runner-up Dinesh Patel traveled to Los Angeles, where they trained with University of Southern California pitching coach Tom House, who trained pitchers such as Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson. 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, the two attended their first baseball game at USC. They continued to learn the game from House and Bernstein, as well as learning English.
Professional baseball career
Singh and Patel tried out in front of scouts from 20 Major League Baseball teams in November 2008, and Singh’s pitches reached 92 miles per hour (148 km/h). Reports from Pittsburgh Pirates scouts Joe Ferrone and Sean Campbell led general manager Neal Huntington to sign both contracts with the organization. The pair became the first Indians to sign American major league baseball contracts with the deal. The total signing bonus for the two was $8,000. After training, the two returned to visit their families in India before entering the Pirates training camp in Bradenton, Florida. Singh and Patel began the 2009 baseball season with the Pirates Gulf Coast League affiliate.
On 4 July 2009, 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. On 13 July 2009, Singh won his first professional baseball game in America, 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.
Singh went 2–0 with a 2.61 ERA over 13 games with the Pirates GCL affiliate in 2010. At the end of August, Singh was promoted to the Pirate’s Class A Short-Season affiliate, the State College Spikes. He met with US President Barack Obama at a White House Heritage Month event on 24 May 2010. Singh played for the Canberra Cavalry of the Australian Baseball League for the competition’s inaugural 2010–11 season, going 1–0 with a 3.94 ERA in 16 innings.
Singh opened the 2011 season in the Dominican Summer League. Singh 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 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. Singh struggled with injuries and missed the entire 2013 season, but he was invited to 2014 spring training by the Pirates. Singh also missed the entire 2014 season due to Tommy John’s surgery. Singh also missed all of the 2015 season due to a broken elbow.
The Pirates re-signed Singh on 9 November 2015. He made one appearance for the Gulf Coast League Pirates in 2016, pitching one scoreless inning.
Personal life (Veer Mahaan Biography)
In 2012, Singh became a vegetarian after he witnessed several men in Bhadohi chasing a chicken to kill it. During his baseball career, he said he recited the Hindu devotional hymn Hanuman Chalisa and listened to the Eminem song “Not Afraid” before pitching.
Professional wrestling career
On 14 January 2018, Singh signed a contract with WWE. On 31 May 2018, he made his in-ring debut at an NXT live event in Tampa, in a loss to Kassius Ohno. On 21 March 2019, he started being managed by Robert Strauss on NXT live events.
On the 25 March 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. Then they defeated the tag team of Mike Reed and Mikey Delbrey. Then, they warned Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch.
At the Superstar Spectacle on January 22, 2021, dedicated to India’s Republic Day, Rinku and Saurav as faces teamed with Drew McIntyre in a six-man tag-team match to defeat Jinder Mahal and The Bollywood Boyz in the main event. On the May 10 episode of Raw, Singh, with the new ring name Veer, along with Shanky, would align themselves with Jinder Mahal, thus turning heel. 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, he spent months without appearing on Raw, although during this time, he also wrestled on Main Event. Veer returned to television on April 4, 2022, episode of Raw, attacking Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio, establishing himself as a heel in the process.
On the May 9 episode of WWE Raw, Veer faced a local wrestler named ‘Frank.’ Veer made quick work of Frank by locking him in the Cervical Clutch and winning the match by submission.
Singh and Patel’s story is the basis for the Walt Disney Pictures sports film Million Dollar Arm, in which Suraj Sharma portrayed Singh. In 2009, Columbia Pictures purchased the screen rights to the story of Singh and Patel. The project stalled, and producers Joe Roth and Mark Ciardi eventually set the film up at Walt Disney Pictures. Upon acquiring Million Dollar Arm, Disney hired Tom McCarthy to write the film. Jon Hamm played J. B. Bernstein.