5 Reasons Why Jinder Mahal As #1 Contender Makes Sense
Stop shaking your head: Jinder Mahal in the main event scene may not be so bad.
This past episode of Smackdown Live saw Jinder Mahal winning a #1 Contender’s Six-Pack Challenge, defeating five of the roster’s top names coming out of the Superstar Shakeup. His sudden rise to fame has been met with mixed reactions, with a lot of fans complacent with the nonsensical booking of an individual that hasn’t had a win since feuding with The Great Khali, I guess?
But for the sake of argument, let’s take a look at some reasons why Jinder should not be hindered.
1. Nobody saw this coming
I’m pretty certain that the thought of Mahal actually winning the battle royal never crossed any of our minds, it was genuinely unforeseen by even the dirt sheet masters. Any decent entertainment product should have an unpredictable nature – even though Wrestling is a rare exception which tends to be more formulaic than others – Smackdown Live lived up to that nature.
Fans are quick to complain about ‘obvious booking’, so for once we should all appreciate something that, despite it’s randomness, was a total surprise!
2. A mad experiment?
Of course, Smackdown Live tries to hammer in the motto of being ‘the place of opportunity’, taking names which have had dire hopes in finding a decent feud suddenly becoming top stars – see Baron Corbin or Heath Slater. In this case, they are literally taking the lowest of the low and seeing if they can shock the hierarchal system into accepting them as a top star.
Jinder Mahal has come under fire from speculations of steroid use and of course the stiff elbow which left Finn Balor suffering from a concussion. This is most likely the writers being challenged (or dared) to salvage what they can with a world title feud. Experimenting with what a little momentum can do for someone’s career and the weekly television ratings.
3. Indian Representation
It seems that we are about to witness the dawn of a new heel faction featuring Jinder Mahal and The Bollywood Boyz. The typical WWE mindset would probably write these guys off as the evil foreigners who have beef with all of America, however, this is Smackdown Live, a place where televised content happens to be slightly more groundbreaking.
The best representation India has ever received in WWE was The Great Khali during his World Title run in 2007. Admittedly, that’s not too bad, considering the treatment most ethnic wrestlers tend to receive. He soon fell into the Punjabi Playboy gimmick which speaks for itself really. Even Mahal had a pretty harsh character when he first came in, playing on stereotypical Indian cultural iconography. Maybe this new tandem could create something for Indian fans to be proud of.
Gurv and Harv Shirah debuted with the intentions to celebrate Bollywood and other fantastical aspects of Indian culture, however now they’re heel, they could probably pull back on the ambassador role and focus more on being legitimate wrestlers who happen to be from India.
I’m intrigued to see where they’re going to end up in a few months, what with an impending tour of India coming up, you would hope WWE would treat this trio well leading up to that.
4. The Champ isn’t a chump
What I mean by this is Randy can get a couple of wins under his title reign so he doesn’t fall into the role of transitional champion. The last thing Bray Wyatt needs is to be the one that dropped the title to a transitional champion, it wouldn’t have even been worth him losing it in the first place. Jinder is, even on his best days, an enhancement worker, so use him to be exactly that whilst Orton is champion. I don’t expect the eventual match between the two to be a mat classic, but then again, anything that follows the “FLOOR IS MAGGOTS” match at Mania is probably going to appear like a Meltz 5*.
Randy can then look pretty strong going into a feud with Owens, Styles, Corbin or whoever ends up the next contender over the coming months.
5. The slow burn
Whilst Jinder is jumping the line and getting ready for a match with The Viper, everyone else involved in the title picture has seemingly been left behind to fend in the mid-card. A lot of people expected Luke Harper, Sami Zayn or even Dolph Ziggler to break out as a top guy on the post-shakeup roster. Of course this doesn’t mean that they won’t get an opportunity later on down the line, in fact it’s most likely that the plans are for someone like Zayn, Owens or Styles to be the one that dethrones Orton leading into the summer.
The eventual pay-off is made sweeter by an agonising wait, holding off on a character like Zayn is quite possibly the best thing to do right now. Sami can be a huge star and a flag-bearer when necessary, it doesn’t seem like he’s going anywhere anytime soon, so they can afford to keep him in the wings until he’s riding on a huge wave of popularity. Perhaps around Summerslam we’ll see the patronising veteran Randy Orton shooting down any chances Zayn has, only for him to prove everyone wrong and finally become a main event star?
Meanwhile, if Smackdown writers are happy with the title remaining with Orton for the foreseeable future, then there’s nothing stopping them from giving the likes of Ziggler, Harper or Rawley a shot. If Cena’s US open challenge proved anything, it’s that when given the chance, anyone can have a great match. Orton could benefit from being against other guys who are looking for a chance to steal the show, that’s when the best is brought out of him.
If you were to put your bets on anyone, it would be Kevin Owens being the next World Champion. Finally looking like the biggest heel in the company, the US champion is poised to be next guy to take Orton to his limit. Whether Owens drops the US title along the way or not, I’d imagine this run is going to build him strong enough to be a match for Orton.