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SK Exclusive: Jinder Mahal did not replace Rusev (rumor killer)

There was a lot of speculation about why Jinder Mahal was chosen to face Randy Orton. We reveal the facts and set the record straight.

Mahal didn’t take a spot that was planned for Rusev

What's the story? 

Contrary to various reports on the internet, we can confirm that Jinder Mahal NEVER took a spot that was planned for Rusev.

In case you didn't know... 

Jinder Mahal became the No.1 contender for the WWE Championship last week on SmackDown. The Dirty Sheets Podcast and Sportskeeda were collectively the first ones to break the news that Mahal would be winning the match. You can listen to the Dirty Sheets “DS Breaking News” Podcast below. 

Rusev missed WrestleMania with an injury and hasn't been seen on WWE TV since his crushing and empathic loss to the Big Show at Fastlane.

The Heart of the matter 

Mahal’s win was a late decision, but he replaced Baron Corbin and not Rusev. It was decided that Baron Corbin and Randy Orton would play out later in the year, especially with officials concerned about the crowd response to Randy Orton. Vince McMahon is extremely high on the Viper, who is set for a long reign; therefore, he didn’t want Orton to face another opponent that could split the fans, such as Baron Corbin.

Also read: 5 Reasons why Jinder Mahal could work as a WWE Championship challenger

Therefore, McMahon devised a plan to have Orton face an anti-American heel. So, while many sites are going with the theory that Mahal is being rewarded for his hard work, which is partly true, the purpose of this feud is to ensure that Randy Orton is unanimously cheered. 

Meanwhile, Rusev was absolutely not considered for the role. Firstly, he is injured. Secondly, WWE higher-ups were said to be furious about Rusev having his hair cut, without seeking permission from the company.

What's next?

Jinder Mahal will challenge Randy Orton on May 20th at SmackDown's Backlash PPV. 

Author's take

I think the WWE are right to assume that Orton will be the overwhelming crowd favourite against Mahal; however, they could be overlooking the fact that Backlash is taking place in Chicago, IL. There is a very real risk that the crowd will take over the match with "CM Punk" chants and ruin it. 


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