Why "Bad Guy Jinder" is bad for business
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Sportskeeda.com
The World Wrestling Entertainment recently awoke to the realities of a worldwide audience and decided to give the coveted WWE title to its Indian origin Superstar, Jinder Mahal, at Backlash, defeating Randy Orton to become the 50th WWE Champion. Jinder has since enjoyed a long push of a classic foreign heel - cursing and abusing the American sensibilities and generating heat, that may at best be termed as lukewarm.
While opinion has been divided worldwide amongst the fans regarding Jinder's push, the WWE has accepted the fact that some of their recent decisions have been taken to engage wider international audiences, like their Indian fan base. Ratings meanwhile have gradually reduced on both shows - Raw and Smackdown.
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There is no denying the fact that WWE is huge in India, with its weekly telecast of Raw and Smackdown on cable television, it reaches thousands of homes in India and the WWE's quest of penetrating that market makes sense as India has one of the highest viewership figures for WWE in the world.
Add to it the bonanza of free PPVs on cable television, Indian fans are getting it all. Some rival promotions have also started airing their shows on other cable channels like RoH, GFW (Impact) and AAA.
Where WWE is going wrong with Mahal is not in giving him a persistent push, instead, it is the character that Mahal has to portray. To gain and consolidate an audience, booking their hero as a cliched foreign, loud-mouthed, cheating, cowardly heel is never going to work - not only in India and among its fans but fans across the world.
The WWE Universe would have loved a working man's 'Dusty Rhodes-que' character, much like Sami Zayn. Jinder Mahal in his present character is nothing more than a repackaged, browner version of the Iron Sheikh or Nikolai Volkoff. "The Bulgarian Brute" Rusev could have done a much better job with the push Jinder is getting.
After the disaster of pushing 'two move Khali' to the main event status, the WWE could have learnt from their past mistakes and not repeated it. It was an embarrassment to the Indian fans then and it is the same now.
Most fans know of Vince McMahon's total lack of appreciation of pop culture and its contemporary references, but with WWE now a publicly traded company, business decisions should at least make some profit to the shareholders, if not some sense to the fans from a storyline perspective. WWE is working hard in denying both.