SmackDown Live is known as the land of opportunity. And for Jinder Mahal, it has been exactly that.
Aside from a brief run in NXT where he was booked strongly, even facing Seth Rollins in the finals of the inaugural NXT championship tournament, Mahal has been a bonafide jobber. He was put in 3MB with Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre before leaving the company.
Then, he returned following the brand split as WWE needed some more warm bodies on the roster. But nobody would have expected him to suddenly ascend to relevance after moving to SmackDown Live.
If you mentioned the name "Jinder Mahal” in the same sentence as “WWE championship” any time prior to last month, you would have been called insane. Yet here we are, just a few days away from Backlash where Mahal will challenge the 13-time champion Randy Orton for the title.
But WWE should not stop at just giving Mahal a title shot; he should actually come out of this match victorious, and there are numerous reasons why.
#5 SmackDown Live needs new top stars
AJ Styles said it best. “SmackDown makes ‘em, Raw takes ‘em.” This is of course in reference to the fact that SmackDown built up several stars since the brand split, making Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, and The Miz more relevant than they have been in quite some time, save for Ambrose’s world title win that came shortly before the split.
Yet all three of them ended up getting moved to Raw, leaving SmackDown with a void on their roster. Sure, they got some help in their tag team and women’s divisions by adding The New Day and Charlotte, but that isn’t where they needed the most help. They need some top male stars, whether they’re face or heel.
This likely helps explain why Mahal is getting his push in the first place; they can’t simply keep recycling the same faces in the main-event scene. They built up Mahal and threw him in there, but now, they have to do their part to keep him there.
Mahal has what it takes to be one of SmackDown’s top heels, and a WWE championship win would be the quickest and most effective way to accomplish that.