wrestling / Columns

Cook: With A Little Help From Jinder Mahal’s Friends

July 27, 2017 | Posted by Steve Cook
Cage Crashers - The Great Khali and Jinder Mahal

I went on record as not thinking that Jinder Mahal was worthy of being WWE Champion. A lot of people were willing to cast aside the fact that his win-loss record was absolutely dreadful, the fact that he’d never been part of anything resembling a great match, and the fact that he hadn’t been properly built up for the role, but I wasn’t. To me, there’s a certain standard that somebody holding the WWE Championship has to live up to, and Jinder Mahal was below it at the time he won the title.

I’m not going to apologize for that stance no matter how much the “DON’T HINDER JINDER” crowd wants me to. I have standards. Just because they’re higher than everybody else’s doesn’t mean that I need to lower them. And just because Jinder Mahal doesn’t live up to my standards of a WWE Champion right now doesn’t mean that he can’t get there someday. I mean, John “Bradshaw” Layfield got nine months with the WWE Championship and somewhere in there he kind of became deserving. And now he’s telling people on commentary that Jinder is growing into the championship, so maybe people will continue that comparison. We wrestling fans are nothing if not easily brainwashed.

Jinder Mahal’s in-ring performances and his promos have done nothing to make me buy into him as WWE Champion. His three matches with Randy Orton on PPV have been dreadful, and his two other matches off the top of my head were squashes that aren’t worth discussion. His promos have been…ok? Certainly not on the level of guys that could talk people into the arenas. On the level of guys that can read scripts? Sure.

I will always give WWE credit for one thing: they can usually add enough window dressing to make something work. Or at least make it semi-entertaining. They really, really want the Jinder Mahal experiment to work. Hence, they’ve made several important upgrades to his act in an attempt to make it championship level.

The Entrance

The song’s decent enough, but the lighting really makes the presentation. Jinder does some solid posing and does a good job of looking like an imposing character. He looks like a champion, which in WWE is more than half the battle.

The Promos

Jinder’s promos themselves don’t really stand out. I have no problem with fans giving him the “WHAT” treatment. The smart thing they’re doing here is at the end when he talks to the Indian people in the Punjabi language. Even if his English promos don’t go over particularly well, switching to another language is always good old-fashioned cheap heat. The only downside is that it means Kevin Owens can’t speak French anymore because two guys doing the foreign language gimmick is overkill.

The Singh Brothers

I wasn’t a big fan of the Bollywood Boys. The whole dancing bit was silly and from what I could tell from their wrestling they were a couple of small guys that did lots of flips & not much else. They weren’t bad, but they didn’t really stand out. They weren’t special.

They have been special at the side of Jinder. Randy Orton has been killing them for a couple of months now and their multiple deaths have easily been the highlight of the Orton vs. Mahal series. It’s a combination of the Singhs being willing to take crazy bumps and Orton being willing to kill them. Have you seen the bumps these poor guys have been taking? I know the idea of henchmen getting killed by babyface opponents is nothing new, but the Singhs have been taking the idea to another level lately.

It might not have a long shelf-life as the Singhs might actually get broken for good one of these days, but for now they’re making Jinder’s PPV matches somewhat watchable.

Every heel champion needs some help. For some reason wrestling fans sometimes get mad at this and think that heels should win all the time on their own, but the simple fact of the matter is that Jinder Mahal, with his kayfabe credentials, needs some help when he’s in the ring with a thirteen-time world champion. Nobody’s going to buy him beating Randy Orton without some help. The Singhs do what they can, which is distract Randy by letting him kill them. But at some point Jinder needs somebody that can actually inflict pain on his opponents.

That’s why the latest addition to Jinder’s crew is crucial to the whole thing working.

The Great Khali

Jinder’s popularity in India is debatable. Great Khali’s isn’t. The Punjabi Monster is something of a folk hero in his native land. I don’t think the 1.3 billion people of India are going to cheer Jinder Mahal just because WWE tells them to, but a pretty good percentage of them did get behind Great Khali during his time in WWE. Khali isn’t going to give you a great wrestling match, but he does bring presence and intimidation. People buy him as a dude that can literally rip people apart with his bare hands. He’s legit.

It’s just too bad they’re already brothers-in-law in WWE canon, because Great Khali as Jinder’s father would be pretty great.

Say what you will about Jinder Mahal, and I’ll still maintain that he’s only WWE Champion because WWE wants to target a large market. But I have to give WWE credit for doing everything possible to try and make the idea work. Even if I don’t think it’s the best idea, I admire the effort put into it.

For Jinder’s sake, I hope it works.

article topics :

Jinder Mahal, Smackdown, WWE, Steve Cook