In the past twelve months, the world has seen a reality star (who was Stone Cold ‘stunnered’ at Wrestlemania 23) elected President, the United Kingdom potentially complete political, social and economic suicide by leaving the European Union and finally, the most shocking of them all, Jinder Mahal defeated Randy Orton at Backlash to become the fiftieth WWE Champion in the company’s history.
— pwstream (@pwstream) May 22, 2017
I was incredibly publicly scathing of this idea beforehand; be that on Twitter or on my own personal podcast, but I didn’t think Vince and those involved in the decision would actually go through with it. However, at 4:05am (GMT) – I was sat slack jawed at the prospect of seeing a man with one of the worst win loss ratios in recent years climb to the top of the mountain in our industry. So now that we’re here- what’s going to happen? Well, there are a multitude of ways it could go…
This article will not be a biased one. While I totally disagree with the decision to make Jinder Mahal WWE Champ, I hope this experiment succeeds. I hope that all of us who have criticised this decision are left looking stupid after the Maharaja of WWE has a very respectable title reign. And, if the company fully get behind him, there is certainly…some potential in this coming true. There are just so many issues with this move. We as IWC wrestling fans view the business in a different way to the casual fan or even in the way we did as children.
We look at this decision and know that WWE Inc. are trying to make movements in their Indian market as it is, currently, a completely untapped country with millions of potential new fans. But the argument that ‘It’s fine to put the strap on Jinder because they want to have more fans from India’ means nothing to me as a fan. I don’t care if a certain champion is making the company money – I want to be invested. If Daniel Bryan didn’t make the company a single dime – I’d still love him and want to see him succeed. We shouldn’t just have to sit there and accept a decision because it helps the stock of the company.
Secondly- we have to talk about the man himself. Nothing, in the slightest, against Jinder Mahal himself. By all accounts he is a lovely human being that has plenty of time for his fellow wrestlers and fans alike. My issue is with how he has been presented. Since debuting in 2011, Mahal has won eighty matches…lost 344. How, in any way, are we meant to take this man seriously as the ultimate guy in wrestling? If for the past two months he had been built up as a credible threat – it would be slightly easier to stomach but it came out of nowhere and it just seems… odd.
My final point is, to me, the most important. I adore Smackdown Live. I’ve enjoyed almost every single show since the brand split. Furthermore, have been eagerly awaiting Tuesday nights at the start of every week. But on the Tuesday after Backlash…I had lost interest. Now- yes; I will be watching Smackdown this week and for the future and ratings rose for the first time in a while however- this is an issue. I don’t like Jinder. But I don’t hate him either. I just don’t care. That’s the worst aspect of it.
I never watched Smackdown last week and, honestly, don’t feel any worse for it. I have absolutely no interest in what Jinder is going to be doing for the next few weeks, I have no interest in who he is feuding with or any interest in watching his matches. If I, a member of the ‘smarky internet wrestling fans’, don’t want to watch a wrestling show… will anyone?
Are there any positives?
The one positive from this, however, is that it now opens the door to anyone becoming WWE Champion. If you ever hear someone use the excuse ‘Oh he’s not developed enough’ or ‘He’s not built up enough’- you now just need to say Jinder Mahal’s name and their point is null and void. I really hope this opens the door to people such as Sami Zayn, Baron Corbin, Tye Dillinger and others who see this as a potential massive opportunity.
Overall, I really do want this to work. I want Jinder Mahal to put on above average matches every PPV he is on and for, six months down the line. For me to turn around and say I was wrong about all of this. But I feel that this situation will not arise. But hey let’s see – we might all end up bowing down to the Maharaja of WWE…