As of right now, Jinder Mahal being the #1 Contender for the WWE Championship is the talk of the pro wrestling world.
Go ahead and read that sentence again. Jinder Mahal... #1 Contender... WWE Championship... talk of the pro wrestling world. It's still taking a lot of effort to wrap my brain around that one.
By this point, everyone has an opinion on the move. There are some people who like it, because they're fans of Jinder. There are some people who like it, because they're fans of seeing someone new get elevated to the main event, even if it's only temporary. There are some people who dislike it, because they feel Jinder is totally undeserving of the spot. No matter where you find yourself on that particular scale, one thing seems to be universally agreed upon... the move came out of nowhere.
Since his return to WWE in August of last year, Jinder's win/loss record on shows (including Superstars and Main Event) is 9-28. If you strip that down to just matches on Raw and SmackDown, his record is 5-14. If you strip that down to just singles matches on Raw and SmackDown, his record is 2-9. He has made two appearances on pay-per-view, and did not pick up a win in either of those appearances. If you want to go back to his first run with the company, he was a part of a six-man tag win on an episode of Main Event in November 2013, and then followed it up with eight straight months where he didn't win a single match. In that first run with the company (which ended in June of 2014), his last victory on Raw or SmackDown was on January 14th, 2013 in a three-on-one Over The Top Rope Challenge, where he teamed with Drew McIntyre and Heath Slater to defeat Sheamus. His last singles win on Raw or SmackDown in his first run was on February 14th, 2012 when he defeated Ezekiel Jackson by submission. That win over Jackson was his first win on Raw or SmackDown since December 11th, 2011 when he pinned Ted DiBiase Jr. The DiBiase victory was his first on Raw or SmackDown since he won his first four televised matches on Smackdown (May 31st - June 29th, 2011) over the esteemed group of Yoshi Tatsu, Trent Barreta, Vladimir Kozlov, and then Barreta again.
Go ahead and do the math, ladies and gentlemen... in four years of active competition for WWE, Jinder Mahal has won a total of eight singles matches on Raw, SmackDown, or pay-per-view.
Out. Of. Nowhere.
Look, I enjoy seeing some variety when it comes to the top guys on the WWE roster. Fresh feuds and matches shouldn't be looked at as a bad thing (well, maybe sometimes). There's nothing wrong with that. However, when you're someone who has been portrayed as a loser for your entire run with the company, dating all the way back to 2011, you can't just win one match and become the #1 Contender for the WWE Championship. That's not how it works. That's not how any of this works.
Now, if we were having this conversation a few months down the road, and WWE decided to give Jinder a bit of a push on SmackDown, letting him pick up victories over enhancement talent or people like Aiden English, Fandango, Tyler Breeze, etc, mixing it in with a few bigger wins over the likes of Dolph Ziggler or Luke Harper, that would be fine. I'd probably still dislike his in-ring work and character, as a whole, but at least his push would make sense. You don't need to push him to the moon and treat him like he's John Cena or Roman Reigns, but how difficult would it be to make your #1 Contender actually look like a #1 Contender?
That entire match was a mess. Erick Rowan has won a total of five televised singles matches in his four years with the company, and two of those wins were by disqualification, but he's in the running for a shot at the title? Mojo Rawley has only won three televised singles matches since being called up to the main roster (one by countout, one over Jinder, and one over Curt Hawkins), but he's in the running for a shot at the title? I love Luke Harper, and I think it's a crime he isn't pushed more, but his last televised singles victory was nearly two whole years ago. Dolph Ziggler has only won three televised singles matches in 2017, and two of those wins came in January. Sami Zayn has been hit-or-miss, but technically, if you're strictly looking at things from a kayfabe point of view, he was the most deserving of anybody in the Six Pack Challenge to actually compete for a title shot, and he lost in his first match on SmackDown the week before. It is probably, on paper, the worst #1 Contender match in the history of wrestling, and it gave us...
Jinder Mahal competing for the WWE Title.
If you're looking for an interesting crowd reaction, look no further than Backlash, where Jinder's title shot will be taking place. The event will take place in Chicago, which, as most of you should know by now, is a city that features some of the loudest, rowdiest, don't-give-a-damn wrestling fans in the world. There is a very distinct possibility that they will take a huge, steaming dump all over Jinder for the entirety of that match. Of course, because its Chicago, there's also a chance that he gets cheered like a conquering hero. If we're being real, the crowd will probably just be chanting for CM Punk the entire time.
Folks, stop being contrarian simply because you can. It's alright to say that something sucks if you feel that it sucks. I think Jinder Mahal sucks. I think making Jinder Mahal the #1 Contender to any title, let alone the WWE Title, sucks.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to prepare my next column for when Jinder wins at Backlash and all hell breaks loose.
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