wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: Will Jinder Mahal Ever Be Champ Again?

September 1, 2017 | Posted by Mathew Sforcina
Jinder Mahal WWE Title WWE Live Event WWE Smackdown

Hiya, welcome to Ask 411 Wrestling! Been some developments in wrestling this week, from shoot finishes to pseudo-shoot promos. I can’t wait to talk about none of it!

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Lita’s Wide Open Invitational: The Legs bit was kinda intentional, given the gimmick Lita had at the time in the EWR thing. But to whit: An open challenge for the tag straps, for any two people at any time, except you have to pay a fee for a title shot, and you get one shot per duo, and that’s it. There’s lots of stories there, with a rich guy burning through tag partners each week, a long term build where a working class tag team has to save up and earn the money for the shot, tag teams waiting for the right moment to cash in, exploring what the champs are doing with the money… Lita being tossed in as a trophy is optional.

The Trivia Crown

Who am I? I share a title with the above, although I have one less Wrestling Observer award than above, but I’m in the hall of fame and he’s not, so there. My wrestling career is impressive in terms of win/loss ratio, although not so much in terms of numbers. I was the first person to verbalise a specific thing at a Wrestlemania. I left WWF after an earlier version of the PPV that just happened, and returned at a Wrestlemania. I’ve beaten hall of famers, MVPs, GMs, and river people. A man still with WWE in some capacity, I am who?

Bobby Wonderbread has the answer.

Who am I? I share a title with the above (shared the Slammy for “Best Head in 1987), although I have one less Wrestling Observer award than above (only one – Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic in 1995 – to Bam Bam’s two), but I’m in the hall of fame (class of 2006) and he’s not, so there. My wrestling career is impressive in terms of win/loss ratio (undefeated), although not so much in terms of numbers (three matches). I was the first person to verbalise a specific thing at a Wrestlemania (sang the National Anthem). I left WWF after an earlier version of the PPV that just happened (Summerslam ’93), and returned at a Wrestlemania (X-7). I’ve beaten hall of famers (Vince and Jesse for Best Commentator Slammy?), MVPs (Alliance MVP Kanyon), GMs (Daniel Bryan), and river people (Mark Madden?). A man still with WWE in some capacity (narrates Story Time on the network), I am who? Mean BY GOD Gene Okerlund

If I’d referenced the Summerslam sign it would have been too obvious. The river person was Alberto Del Rio, the hall of famer Mr. Fuji.

Who am I? I was interviewed by the above at least once, albeit with a gimmick on Mean Gene’s end. A former Hardcore champion, I’m part of a wrestling family, but not really, connected to a HOF/World Champion/legend in the sport, but only for a short while, and was upper class, but not on the main roster. My last WWE match saw me lose to a former IC champion, and my last Summerslam match… Really wasn’t a match. I currently am a wrestling trainer, and Hornswoggle has… Done something to me. I am who?

Getting Down To All The Business

Connor has a couple questions.

Why do you think the Reverend D-Von gimmick failed in 2002? I thought it was interesting and he even got a win over Triple H

Because DDP didn’t give him enough donations.

You basically have roughly four kinds of gimmicks in wrestling, when thinking about them in terms of success. You have the safe but boring gimmick of “Person who wrestles and, presumably, is good at it”. That sort of gimmick works almost by default, but you have to be good to make it special. You have gimmicks that are outlandish but so good they’re almost bulletproof, stuff like the Million Dollar Man or Olympic Champion. You have gimmicks that you need to be a miracle worker to pull off, like Undead Mortician or (insert 95% of all failed crappy gimmicks here). And finally you have gimmicks that make sense on paper, and should work, but still need talent, luck, and a following wind to work out.

Reverend D-Von should have worked. He had experience with the clergy, as his parents both were part of it, so he had the mannerisms down. And being righteous while clearly being a dick should be a license to print money, right? Who isn’t going to hate a religious charlatan?

Well, religious people, actually. Brother Love was riffing on a very specific type of Christian figure, but was removed enough that you could ignore that aspect if it bothered you. Reverend D-Von, on the other hand, even with the Profit Prophet Vince stuff, was still a lot more blatant about riffing on Christianity. That bothers some people.

Couple that with the character coming along out of the removal of a popular act for ‘silly’ reasons, they spilt the Dudleys because they wanted to split a team, not because people were sick of them, and finally because at the time, D-Von didn’t seem that comfortable as a singles guy.

A questionable gimmick of a guy not totally smoothed down to singles wrestling, at the expense of a popular tag gimmick? That’s why it failed.

Who do you think would win a Bret Hart/Kurt Angle match (both in their primes

Whoever was booked to win.

I mean, do you mean in a shoot? Or in a match? Because neither of them are particularly known for being shooters, despite Bret’s dad rep, although I suppose I’d have to take Angle, who’d probably be able to get Bret down and hold him there.

In a match… These questions never really come down to the people in the ring, it’s always down to whoever is booking. I suppose this is where my being a wrestler is a disadvantage, as I really find it hard to switch that part off and try and pick a winner solely based on ‘in ring’ stuff.

But if this was at the peak of Bret’s Hart Foundation 2.0 run, Bret as the USA hating heel-in-America/face-everywhere-else, Angle as, well The Patriot, just improved in every way… Bret would win the first one. Angle the second, and the blow off. And/or they’d just feud for a year and trade the belt back and forth until they both jobbed to Austin at WM.

Chris has a couple questions.

If Glenn Jacobs wins his election, does he ever wrestle again? If he loses, does Kane come back? And in what form? Authority? Masked or unmasked? Maybe goes after Finn Baylor for calling himself the demon king? Maybe takes him under his wing as the devil’s favorite demon and helps him with a push. Thoughts please.

If he does win the election, then I don’t see him ever wrestling again, outside of maybe a very quick appearance on a Raw before his Hall of Fame induction. Right now he’s 50, and even if he doesn’t end up moving up the ranks of political office, even if we don’t get Senator Kane or Secretary Kane or VP Kane or whatever, even if just being Mayor is all he wants, that’s 4 years, 8 if he goes a second term. 54 is pretty old to get back in the ring, whereas 58 is really pushing it.

So if he wins, then no, he’s done. If he loses…Well, the election isn’t for a whole year, unless something happens, he won’t be out of the running until May next year at the earliest, if he loses the primary. If he wins, given the demographics and voting patterns, he’ll probably win, you’d assume.

But sure, if he loses… Maybe one last run. Return at Summerslam 2018, work the occasional show, get eliminated by Finn or Bray or whoever from the Rumble, get inducted into the HOF, then lose at WM, then retire on Raw… Yeah, I can see that. I’d actually have him do that with Roman, to be honest. Dude’s officially retired the Deadman, why not have him retire both Brothers of Destruction?

I’ll try another question. Are there any of the top tier performers that have never lost to a submission move. I know Austin passed out, but I don’t ever remember him quitting. Same goes for The Rock, Undertaker, Kane. Maybe my memory is clouded and it happened early on in some of their careers, but can you think of anyone that has never submitted or tapped out?

I like how the list of guys you gave, they all tapped out to Kurt Angle.

OK, OK, Rock’s tapping out wasn’t in a match, but he tapped out to thin air one time.

Taker’s the usual default answer to guys who never tapped out/submitted, given that Taker’s only tap out, to Kurt Angle, is a draw, since he was pinning Angle at the same time, so he didn’t lose by submission, so that doesn’t count, say some.

Goldberg lost to a Steiner Recliner, but he was passed out at the time, and other than that he never gave up in a submission hold. Bret Hart did tap to a Ken Shamrock ankle lock while the ref was out, and famously lost to a Sharpshooter this one time, as well as a Crossface Chicken Wing another. Andre gave up to Inoki, Backlund lost to Hart…

You’re pretty much looking at guys like Bruno Sammartino, Bruiser Brody, Verne Gagne, guys who either booked themselves, or were very careful about their careers, or who were on top at a time when submission losses were less common. These days most people don’t have a major issue tapping out, assuming it’s done right.

But I’m willing to listen to theories of guys who have avoided tapping out all their careers from you, dear readers. Check back next week to see if we find any.

Jeremiah wants to talk initials.

I have a vague recollection of February ’98’s No Way Out having “of Texas” being hastily added after WCW threatened to sue over the use of the NWO initials. Is there anything to back this up, or is it something I’m misremembering?

You’re sort of mistaking supposed worries for actual movement.

The story goes that the WWF noticed after they had booked the show and announced it and were too far gone to change it without it being obvious, that they’d created a show title with the initials being the same as their main rival’s main storyline group. Then either out of worry that WCW might sue, (“You’re clearly trying to make it seem like the nWo will be appearing on your show!”) or a concern about giving their rivals an obscure bit of advertising (“No Way Out… Hey, those initials look familiar… Ah yeah, that other company! I might watch them now!), they added the Texas bit.

There’s no evidence that I know of that WCW made any attempts to sue, or that it was actually a possibility, and they’ve never commented on it. We just have rumor.

Victor follows up a topic we discussed before with a question about… a follow up to that.

Longtime reader and question-asker. I love the column more than WWE fans are supposed to love Roman Reigns. Anyway, you had previously answered my question about McMemphis (Vince going to USWA and working as a heel in 1993). I came across a video on YouTube from 1997 where Vince is, once again, back in that heel role:

Was this supposed to start another invasion angle? Or was it just something to salvage the disastrous fake Razor/Diesel storyline? Did the plug get pulled because USWA went under?

The USWA Invasion angle never really ended, as such. The main thrust of the original one, Lawler/Hart, that ended, sure, but the USWA remained a feeder system, a proto-developmental fed pretty much all the way through, they just didn’t have too many people coming down from WWF after the initial angle as guest stars. Talent that WWF wasn’t sure about would go to USWA for a bit, to train and to see if they could be worked out. Men on a Mission would famously go down there, while Flex Kavana, as he was known in the company while he worked there, would be the most famous overall, as he would become The Rock later on.

But in this one instance, they needed something, as when ‘Razor’ and ‘Diesel’ debuted in Memphis, they were still pretending to be those guys.

So when ‘Razor’ dropped the act, since he was the smaller one and thus needed more help to become a useful talent, they needed to explain it, so they had him talk about how this was a gimmick, that the real one went to WCW etc. This then needed a response, which is the video above. This wasn’t another invasion, it’s just that the storyline needed a WWF perspective for exposition, and hey, Vince got to play the bad guy again, he enjoyed that, and he’d never get to do that on WWF TV, right?

Jimmy doesn’t seem to think too highly of YOUR WWE Champion.

Do you think there is any possibility of Jinder Mahal having more than one title reign? After he loses the belt, how far down the card do you see him falling? Are his jobbing days over?

Overall, sure, he could have a US or Tag reign in the future (Mahal and Roode, the Glorious Rulers!), when you’re a former WWE Champion you don’t tend to end up back as a curtain jerker, unless you’re years removed from the reign, or it’s part of an angle. As for WWE Champ again…

I’ll admit that he’s actually won me over a little, at least in terms of the overall presentation. The last time we talked about him, I think my point was a little muddled, so to be clear: Ignoring the in ring stuff, based solely on the gimmick/look/presentation/promo, he’s at a point where I’m fine with him being WWE champ level. I do feel, however, that he needed some time with said look/gimmick/offsiders to rise up the ranks to be accepted in that role, or failing that, a very good explanation as to why. Having a couple of lackeys should not be enough to suddenly vault you from jobber to champion. If you had a dozen people at ringside every night, maybe then you could justify the sudden rise. But two small guys shouldn’t be enough to get you that far that fast.

But then there’s the in ring stuff. And that’s still not up to par. I don’t expect or demand everyone be a Daniel Bryan or Kurt Angle in the ring, hell I’d accept a Miz level, but Mahal still wrestles the same basic style of match he did when he was opening the card. That’s not good enough.

So, there’s two ways I can see him getting another long term go with the title. If he works his butt off and improves his wrestling style a lot, if he gets his in ring abilities on par with the rest of the package, then he’s got a shot at getting it for that. Or, if he does end up making WWE serious inroads into the Indian market, then he might get it again later on after losing it to bolster said inroads.

But outside of those, I think he’s going to end up lower upper mid-card, a guy who you can conceive getting a title shot, but not really winning it. Unless Roode as Corbin somehow fails massively.

Speaking of, Brian had a few questions, one of which was on Corbin and his new status.

If Corbin’s cash-in was indeed a punishment, that has to go down as one of the stupidest ideas. The dude has the ability to hang onto the briefcase for an additional ten months. If he gets himself back in good graces, don’t you want that as an option? If someone(s) get hurt at the wrong time, and you have to adjust the direction of the longer-term booking quickly, don’t you want to have that as an option? If he hangs onto the briefcase for nearly a year, and then fails on his cash-in, it’ll make him look just as buffoonish/buried, so just wait on it so you have an escape hatch as necessary. Cena easily could have interfered right before the bell and gotten the whole thing waved off, which is what it seemed like it was written for. What would you have done differently with Corbin?

The problem with that line of thinking is that, WWE’s fetish for jobbing out their MITB holders leading to the cash in aside, if Corbin still had the case, you have to feature him. You have to keep some focus on him, because having a MITB holder not at least upper-mid seems wrong. If he’s unable to beat midcarders, does he deserve to hold that briefcase? I mean, with Sandow, despite all the issues with that run with the case, the character at least made some sense in the role of undeserving overachieving idiot. Sandow losing to midcarders while holding the case you can see. Corbin as MITB holder needed some focus, and the point was to not focus on him for a bit, be it because of his actions on twitter, or Cena’s opinion, or even just Sandow/Bryan levels of buyer’s remorse. You have authority figures, if you really need a heel to suddenly win the title, Vince can appear and grant it, then go back into his hibernation chamber at the top of the Lucky 38.

What I would have done? Well it depends on when you bring me in, and if I have to punish him.

In a world where I don’t have to worry about backstage stuff, and it was after the cash in, I’d have had Corbin come into Summerslam looking very distant and uninterested. Cena is Cena, and tries to wrestle, but Corbin just doesn’t do much of anything. After a few minutes Cena, looking confused and/or angry, grabs Corbin, hits the AA, goes to lock in the STF, Corbin taps out before Cena’s even locked it in. Cena shrugs, plays to the crowd… Corbin smacks him in the back with a chair.

Summerslam is then brought to a halt as Corbin wraps the chair around Cena’s throat and threatens to Pillmanise it. He gets the mic, then demands Shane/Bryan reverse the cash in and give him back his briefcase. The ref stalled, there’s no clause that says Mahal had to be ready for the match, the ref screwed me, so give me back my briefcase or I screw WWE.

Then you either give him back the case, or you have Bryan/Shane call his bluff, only for someone to make a last second save for Cena and you go from there, if you must have Cena on Raw right after, while you go Corbin (now as a cold blooded asshole) vs your face (Ziggler, maybe?).

Prior to the cash in, still gotta demote him? Easy. Corbin turns up on Smackdown… Without the case. After a match, backstage interviewer #245 asks where it is. Corbin says he will be champion one day, no matter what, but right now… Someone made him a very good offer for the briefcase. So he sold it.

And there’s your major storyline for the next few months, who has the case? You can have any number of stories revolving around Mahal going more and more paranoid, with the payoff I’d suggest being that eventually Mahal loses the title to Nakamura at Survivor Series… Only for Mahal to bash him in the head… With the briefcase, as Mahal bought it himself. Mahal cashes in, then Nakamura has a major grudge going into the Rumble where he wins the title, AJ wins the Rumble, billion star match at WM, with or without Tokyo Dome.

John Hennigan is now named “Johnny Impact”, a great nod to his “Johnny Nitro” moniker. If he keeps changing his name to reflect the program he joins, what would be the funniest name he could have or could have had in the past?

Johnny Raw, had he jumped to WCW, would be… Interesting. Maybe double barrel it, Johnny Raw-Nitro, or Johnny Rawtro or something if he went to ECW. Or the more boring Johnny Extreme.

Depending on the timeframe, I could see Verne calling him Johnny Hogan as a rib, or WCCW featuring Johnny Adkisson. But really, right now, the best name he could have would be Johnny Octagon.

Pedro wonders where a certain guy was last weekend.

Any thoughts about why the WWE did not mention the Brooklyn Brawler in the SummerSlam weekend, since the event was in Brooklyn, N.Y.?? Steve has been a loyal and a lovable character there….

Because they fired him in 2016, I’d assume. He’s not with the company, so why mention him? Even if he would have made sense to mention. WWE will ignore any and all history they choose when they choose. So such an obtuse reference had no chance since he’s not with the company any more.

People often give best/worst lists so, many about single jobbers have been given; on that way, what’s, in your opinion, the “best” Tag Team Jobbers…??? If possible, write some names, please (my choice is Los Conquistadores, whose even Edge and Christian borrow their attire some time).

The Hardy Boyz, before they mattered. Pretty, good at what they were allowed to pull off, great at bumping, big enough to look viable while being small enough to look amazing as they were tossed around.

Honorary mention to the Mulkey Brothers.

I’m not sure there’s anyone else who you could really put in the running, but hey, if you have a fav, dear readers, do suggest them below!

Jorge asks about Goldberg losing.

I read an interview where Kevin Sullivan claims he had beaten Goldberg on a Nitro and took him off tv for a couple of weeks and then started the winning streak. Was the match televised? I didn’t saw it on any of the Nitros before the one where he beat Hugh Morrus.


Here’s the quote:

“I beat Bill Goldberg on Nitro with Steve McMichael when he wore the Falcons Jacket and the red tights and red boots. After that I kept (Goldberg) off TV for eight weeks, shaved his head, gave him the Mike Tyson short boots, the black tights breathing fire like a dragon, and put him on the winning streak!”

… Gahuh? I’m fairly certain if this happened, there’s be tape traders pointing out how Goldberg lost on Nitro to Sullivan. Although he might be talking as Booker here, and saying McMichael beat him. I do recall the ‘Goldberg before Goldberg’ thing where he had a run with Mongo and that as a heel with Debra, but I always assumed it was going on before they started counting the Streak.


*checks historyofwwe.com*

… Goldberg went to a no-contest with Disco Inferno on Nitro?

Oh, the match never happened, ok.

So Goldberg’s debut was September 22nd, 1997. If Sullivan was right, eight weeks prior to that should be a loss by Goldberg to someone. Sullivan was already gone by then, so the eight weeks prior to that, Mongo teamed with Benoit against the Texas Hangmen.

Not Goldberg.

Yeah, I really don’t know what Sullivan it talking about here. He wasn’t beaten prior to the Streak, that I could find.

Stephen asks about the Million Dollar Man’s departure.

As you’ll remember In Your House Beware of Dog was beset by technical issues and three matches were literal dark matches, including Steve Austin v Savio Vega in a strap match. This match was one of three that took place again 2 days later as part of a live tv special. According to the stipulation of the second match, if Austin lost, Dibiase would leave the WWF. This was to facilitate Dibiase’s exit to WCW, and the WWF turned it into part of the angle, with Austin claiming he lost on purpose in order to get rid of Dibiase who he no longer needed.

This all seems pretty reasonable and a case of an angle serving a couple of purposes, so all well and good. But my question is, if this was the plan, why was it not the plan in the first match? They knew in advance Dibiase was leaving, so did they just come up with this plan on the fly on the Monday between the two matches? Was there another plan to write Dibiase out that was thwarted by the technical issues on the Sunday?

OK, there’s two possibilities here. The way DiBiase talks about it in an interview he did, and I quote…

I know that I managed Bam Bam Bigelow for a while. I was on the road with Sid Vicious. And then, of course, the last guy was Steve Austin. I just wasn’t, again, it wasn’t as bad. I had had my fill of the road. So this was about the time that guys were starting to jump over to WCW and go to the other company and I basically found out in a roundabout way that I could go to WCW and have a managing role and a commentating role, the same thing I was doing. And, it would only require me to be there Monday nights and pay per views. So again, I made a choice to leave the company.

Now, hindsight’s 20/20, I should have just gone and sat down and talked to Vince. I really should have done that. But at the time I thought, well, Vince has made a business decision and he’s going to do what’s best for his company. He’s not concerned with what’s going on at home for me. That’s for me to deal with and if I can’t deal with that, Vince is the way he wants it. We later had that conversation and he said yes, you should have come to talk to me. At the time, I didn’t. So I basically sent them a letter saying that I wanted to kind of renegotiate my contract. I’m sure that somebody had gotten word to Vince that this was a possibility anyway. I just showed up at TV one day and he said, “you’ll finish tonight.” I said okay. So I went to WCW for three years and quite frankly, it was the most miserable three years of my life in terms of business, in terms of the most poorly run company I ever did business with, ever, in spite of the money.

Reading that, maybe it very much was a “Oh, we can write him out this way” thing they came up with on the Monday, then did on the Tuesday in the PPV repeat slot.

However, I’ve always assumed that, had the original PPV gone down as planned, what would have happened was that on Raw, Austin would have perhaps wrestled once more against someone and lost, or just called DiBiase out, and fired him as manager to his face, and/or used the Million Dollar Dream on him or hell, maybe even debuted the Stunner on him.

But whatever, I presume the idea was Austin would fire him. But if anyone is able to ask either man before next week, do so then drop me a line, cheers. Until then, stay safe and happy!