SK's take on what's next for Jinder Mahal
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the year in the wrestling world has to be Jinder Mahal winning the WWE Championship. If you spoke to anyone who had any clue about wrestling this year, even the most avid fan wouldn't have predicted that Mahal would be anywhere near the title, let alone hold it for a substantial time.
A potentially bigger surprise came when AJ Styles won the WWE Championship from Jinder at SmackDown Live in London.
So, with many of us wondering what could be next for the Modern-Day Maharaja after he dropped the WWE Championship, Jinder had his WWE Championship rematch against The Phenomenal One - and while Styles was most definitely the favourite, a lot of people expected Mahal to prevail via underhand tactics to prolong the feud.
It's been a tricky few weeks for Jinder since losing his title in the UK. He had been garnering some real heel heat when he had the belt, playing off of his Indian heritage (despite being from Canada) and accusing the WWE Universe of being xenophobic and disliking him because he was different.
Can he continue this gimmick into the future or has it died alongside his title hopes?
Well, one possible option would be challenging for the US title, but we've already had the America-hating foreigner angle done to death - and very recently through Rusev. That looks unlikely as we have Dolph Ziggler now holding the strap after a shock win tonight, and Bobby Roode and Baron Corbin will be knocking down the door to get to him. Not to mention the heel versus heel dynamic doesn't seem to be a favourite of WWE. Mahal would most likely have to wait until Roode wins the championship, if he does, and challenge him.
One big question is, why did Jinder's title run fail? Here's the reason:
Well, he wasn't the best in the ring, and most fans couldn't quite get past his limited in-ring ability, the fact that he used to be in 3MB, or his ridiculous losing streak, so the major push came as an unwanted surprise to many.
On the other side of the coin, he was a great ambassador for WWE as Champion, dealing with TV and press very eloquently and showing great respect to the title, as well as being an incredibly well-spoken mouthpiece when making public appearances.
This may force WWE's hand to reconsider his push in the future and ensure his position as a top star in the company.
Jinder's reign was mostly hindered by the Universe's overwhelming urge for the likes of AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura and Kevin Owens to be holding the gold, and Jinder being deemed not worthy - with many suggesting he was only given the opportunity to be Champion as WWE were expanding into India and wanted to make this as lucrative as possible.
In fact, one of Mahal's biggest focal points in his in-ring promos was how he was speaking for the 1.3 billion people of India and he was even paired with the Singh Brothers, formerly the Bollywood Boys, Samir and Sunil -- who played the role J and J Security did in Seth Rollins' first title run.
However, things quickly went downhill. Jinder had been built to face Brock Lesnar with Paul Heyman even cutting a promo on the Modern-Day Maharaja and on-screen graphics of the two appearing. He lost the belt to AJ Styles shortly before and AJ instead faced Brock.
Over the past few weeks, two huge New Delhi shows got chopped down to one "mega" show, reportedly due to lack of ticket sales. Jinder faced Triple H in a match many expected Jinder to win. In non-televised matches, many say wins and losses don't matter, but Jinder lost this matchup too in India, where WWE used him as a marketing tool.
At Clash of Champions, his misfortune was compounded when AJ Styles retained his WWE Championship with ease before appearing on Talking Smack to declare that the rivalry was over.
Before the push, Jinder was reportedly brought back into the company purely to put over up and coming talents, it would be tough on him to stick him way back down to the bottom of the pecking order, but not impossible
So, where does Jinder go now? Has WWE given up on him?
Will Jinder challenge again for the WWE Championship? Will he go for the United States title?
So, does Jinder go back to being a glorified enhancement talent like before or is this just a blip in the WWE's push of the Modern-Day Maharaja?
I guess we'll need to wait until Tuesday for an answer.
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