Despite the booking flaws; WWE know how to shock the audience from time to time. At Backlash, Indian superstar Jinder Mahal defeated Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. If I had put £1 down on Jinder becoming champion at the turn of the year I’d be the world’s richest man.
Just like the RKO, Mahal’s victory really came out of nowhere. Returning last July to boost up the jobber supply list with the draft expansion Jinder has literally been that.
WrestleMania 33, Jinder had an unlikely impressive run in the Battle Royal; ending up with runner up behind Mojo Rowley. Ever since he shockingly became number one contender Mahal has been pushed heavily and jumped onto the opportunity.
“Internet” fans can easily dislike the decision. Particularly since it coinsides with a major expansion into the Indian market. Of course superstars like Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, The Miz; all deserved the chance before Mahal.
However despite the seemingly random push there is a sense of reapetition and history always repeats.
Cast your mind back to 2004. Smackdown had been on literal fire since the brand expansion. So much so that Raw stole several key stars; Chris Benoit and Edge both moved to Monday nights.
Brock Leaner who dominated Smackdown left WWE post WrestleMania. Kurt Angle moved into a GM role due to injuries. Smackdown heel roster dramatically dropped.
WWE needed a star to make an immediate impact. Bradshaw who has been swimming in open sea made quick transition into the main event.
As a pro American, Bradshaw won Kurt angles great American invitational; following stopping Mexicans jumping the border. As a result became an unlikely number one contender to Eddie Guerrero’s WWE Championship.
A bloody encounter at Judgment Day ended the match in a DQ. The following PPV; now know as JBL, the Wall Street Texan won his first WWE Chanpionship. Holding the title from June to WrestleMania 21.
Fast forward to today and Smackdown is in a similar position. The recent superstar swap saw several key stars move and leave an open gap for a top heel, hence Jinder Mahal.
The similarities to Mahal’s character are profound to JBL in 2004. JBL was brash cocky and used heavy racism to generate huge heat. JBL had a group of new stars to help him keep hold of the title. Jinder is quite simply following the same formula that works.
Sure Jinder as a wrestler is no where near the technical brilliance of a Bret Hart or Kurt Angle; nor will he be accepted anytime soon. However wrestling is about a complete package. Jinder is average at best but the character and momentum works.
For WWE the benefits are huge. The Great Khalis run as champion caused a huge growth in one of the largest countries of the world. Jinder will no doubt do the same.
Straight away it’s different; fans will tune in simply to see what will happen next. The main event picture is completely fresh with a whole range of possibilties.
The key to this is when and who defeats Jinder. JBL faced a whole range of legends and overcame them despite fans anger. The man who ended the longest title reign in Smackdown history… John Cena.
If WWE are smart Jinder should keep the title for a long period. The payoff of a young upcoming star beating Jinder will be huge.
Sure a Jinder victory was unexpected and felt forced upon. However us fans should have an open mind. Surely a new champion provides new stories and oppurtunites and this is way better than a 17th title reign by John Cena.
The advice is simple, embrace the Indian sensation, keep an open mind, enjoy the ride and don’t hinder the Jinder.