As most of you know by now, WWE pulled the trigger on Jinder Mahal and he is now WWE Champion. It’ll surely go down as one of the most shocking and unexpected victories in professional wrestling history. Sure it was met with harsh criticism, but others seem to think it was the right move. From a business standpoint, it was.
WWE is in the process of expanding its brand to India. Mahal winning the championship was the edge they needed to promote it and expand even more. It was a smart business decision, but don’t let that take away anything that Jinder has done to get to this point. He earned his match against Orton in the upcoming weeks to Backlash. His victory in the six-pack challenge and over AJ Styles showed that Mahal should be considered a true player.
Sunday night was just the coronation of his arrival to the spotlight, one that I’m perfectly fine with him having.
Mahal is considered a jobber by most of the WWE Universe. After being fired back in 2014, Mahal was brought back just to fill up the roster holes the brand split would create. The Mahal we saw in 2016 was different. Much different. He is built like a brick house. Maybe it’s the steroids, but nonetheless he changed his look. He also changed his character to a degree. No longer was he a founding member of 3MB. This Mahal was serious, ready to knock down anyone that stood in his way to success. It still didn’t change how he would be booked. By definition, Mahal was a jobber. That would all change at Wrestlemania 33.
Mahal was a finalist in the Andre the Giant battle royal, losing to Mojo Rawley with help from New England Patriots Tight End, Rob Gronkowski. Fast forward a little bit and we see him in the ring with a returning Finn Balor. The match was anything great, but what got people talking was the forearm shot by Mahal. It was viewed as stiff, unnecessary, and dangerous. Even though it got people talking bad about Mahal, it got them talking about Mahal nonetheless.
Jinder then shows up on Smackdown Live and does what every superstar plans to do, seize the opportunity before him. Thanks to The Singh Brothers (formally known as The Bollywood Boys), Mahal was able to pin Sami Zayn in the six-pack challenge and become the number one contender for Randy Orton and the WWE Championship. The rest, we say, is history. Mahal seized his opportunity and became the man of Smackdown Live.
The reason I love this so much is because Mahal has seized his moment, capitalized on every opportunity given before him, and took advantage where necessary. Smackdown Live is “The Land of Opportunity”, and Mahal is now the face of that moniker. Just three years ago Mahal was receiving his termination papers. Today, he holds the most coveted belt in all of professional wrestling.
If that isn’t perseverance, I don’t know what is.
People are going to hate the fact he is champ. They are going to say he hasn’t earned it, or that he doesn’t have enough credibility to be champion. The fact of the matter is, Mahal proved then wrong. He said he would become champ and everyone laughed at him. Now he’s the one holding the gold, laughing while people sit in unbelief.
Anything can happen in the WWE. It’s what makes it a great product. The unpredictability captivates audience or sours them, but either way it’s being talked about. I applaud WWE for making this happen. It was a shocking moment, and it was the right move to make.