Let's be honest. You didn't care about Jinder Mahal two weeks ago. Stop pretending you did.
So far, the justifications I've been given for a Jinder Mahal victory are "India, different and unpredictable." Well....okay. But don't act like it's ridiculous for people to take to the situation with confusion. This isn't just a guy who hasn't been portrayed as on the level, he's been flat out jobbed out for a half-decade.
"He got great heel heat!"
He got heel heat in the second segment from a state that hasn't seen televised wrestling in years. If you were to pick ONE state to run this type of angle in, it's Kentucky. It worked last night. Hopefully it can in the several weeks leading in to Backlash.
Ya boy dropped 6,000 words last year on WWE playing off of xenophobic fears. Muhammad Hassan, Daivari, Tiger Ali Singh, this isn't the first time. This is a part of WWE's four-play Tecmo Bowl playbook. They're running a version of the same play in the United States title scene with Kevin Owens. This is far from different.
The only way you could play the "different" card, is that a guy that has lost consistently for years is now getting a title opportunity. It's happened to a lesser extent before, but never to this degree.
India is a huge, great market for WWE. We've seen Impact (fail miserably) at forcing Mahabali Shera to be a star. At least there's a lot more upside with the 30-year old Jinder Mahal, who doesn't seem afraid to put the work in. Will Jinder Mahal become a giant Superstar in India? That's really hard to gauge. I don't think WWE even expected Bret Hart to become the sensation he was overseas.
He's worked so hard!
Sure, in the gym. Outside of that, his finest moments in a squared circle have been in Wee-LC. I've not walked away from a Mahal match saying "I'm glad I watched that!" The interview on last week's Talking Smack was rough.
Maybe he'll get better!
This isn't 2015 Braun Strowman. Jinder Mahal had his first match 15 years ago. His two appearances on Talking Smack don't lend to any sort of belief that he'll miraculously become some entertaining superstar. Also, he concussed a guy last week.
I keep hearing that unpredictability is good. To an extent, that's true. Predictability can be good, too. I rarely complain about predictability if it is a product of good television. You're either on one side of this fence or the others. Some will whine about predictability, others (like me) will whine when a questionable call is made.
"THIS IS THE TYPE OF REACTION THEY WANT!"
From some, sure. Plenty just don't want to see this guy in the spot, for whatever reason. I feel it's a dangerous territory to tiptoe around when a guy you've beaten for a year is christened a top star a week later. What does that mean for others? Will the company feel like they can brow beat anyone for a year at a time because Mahal was able to overcome it? The fact that he was able to get that reaction is impressive in its own. That's fantastic for him. It may not be for other who lack creative direction.
If Mahal can sustain a reaction and it translates to ticket sales, network subs, growth in India, or even getting others over at his expense, it will be hard to argue the success of the project. Initially, however, it looks like the dirt floor of Raw is showing up and running the top levels of Smackdown.
Nice things about Mahal.
He's in great shape and throws great knees.
Perhaps the most confusing thing about this situation is the legion of Jinder Mahal fans that emerged.
View the discussion thread.