WWE Champion Jinder Mahal and the Demise of SmackDown Live | Smark Out Moment

WWE Champion Jinder Mahal and the Demise of SmackDown Live

Posted by Callum Wiggins Monday, May 22, 2017
Well, they actually did it. I think we all knew in our heart of hearts that SmackDown Live's rise to prominence was going to be short lived, to become once again little more than a proving ground for the superstars that would be highlighted on Raw, the 'A' show. But, I think few could of predicted it would happen this quickly and this abruptly, and even less would have guessed who would be behind SmackDown's confirmation as the second-rate show.

WWE Champion Maharaja Singh Brothers
Credit WWE.com

Jinder Mahal is WWE champion. Now, before I go into my rant (and believe me I'm going to rant) I know people reading are going to say I shouldn't complain before giving this a chance. That is a totally fair assessment - Jinder Mahal could exceed all expectations in his title reign. I also completely understand the frustrations of people who are happy to see a break from the status quo of major championship holders, especially considering it was Randy Orton's thirteenth run with what used to be the most prestigious championship in the company. And yes, the immediate shock value will probably mean there are a few more eyes checking out the next episode of SmackDown Live.

But, after taking all of that into consideration and taking a day to process, I've come to conclusion that this is the worst thing WWE has ever done to their world championship and is nothing more than an unfunny joke. A group of writers backstage saying 'Wouldn't it be funny if Jinder Mahal became WWE Champion?' and then making it happen without thinking about it clearly. It's booking that if it happened during the Monday Night Wars would have been the point in the rivalry people knew who was going to end up on top. Like it or not, the Maharaja is WWE's answer to David Arquette.

Jinder Mahal is already the worst WWE Champion in history. Say what you want about Vince McMahon but at least he is one of the biggest characters in wrestling history and was in a deeply personal rivalry with the man he beat, Triple H. Say what you want about JBL but they again made his feud with Eddie Guerrero very violent and very personal to cement his as a legitimate dastardly heel, and Bradshaw had a reputation as an imposing superstar.

Jinder Mahal is a distinctly average wrestler, a bad promo, looks like he's on steroids, been buried on a consistent basis since being a part of 3MB and was in no way over until people started laughing about how he was number one contender. People didn't get behind Mahal because they wanted to see him succeed or that he was an intimidating and legitimate heel. They got behind him because he wasn't Randy Orton and it would be funny if he won. That's it, and anyone that says otherwise is deluding themselves.

Think about it - would the reaction have been so hilarious if Jinder Mahal had toppled Bray Wyatt or AJ Styles for the WWE Championship? No there would have been riots, but because fans are so sick of Orton in the main event that they are actually okay with this result. That is probably the biggest indictment on Randy Orton's WWE legacy that a significant number of fans are 'glad' that Jinder Mahal took the WWE Championship away from him.

It's not like I have a problem with Mahal as a wrestler, he's nothing special but he's far from horrible. It's the fact that less than three years ago he was losing to El Torito before being released from the company for being an expendable jobber. And when he came back he wasn't reinvigorated or demonstrating a new mean streak - he defeated Heath Slater to earn a contract and then immediately went back to jobbing to Sami Zayn, Enzo & Cass, etc.

Mahal won a WWE Championship opportunity with no build and no sense put into it. Then he was booked to win matches against people that were crushing him two months ago to try and make it seem like he was a real threat. And then he won the title even though not a single person truly believes he's fit to wear it. And I know it's all fake, it's just wrestling and I'm a mark, but I'm invested in the WWE Championship as the biggest prize in wrestling and the fact that this fucking nobody is wearing it pisses me off!

Would it have been so hard to have Mahal built up for a month or two before earning a title shot? Have gradually build momentum along with the Singh Brothers for a while with victories over Sami Zayn, Tyler Breeze, Fandango, Tye Dillinger, etc. before becoming number one contender? It still would have been bizarre, but at least they would have put effort into trying to get a character over and if it worked it'd be a stroke of genius. Instead, WWE did what they tend to do - rushed to the end. They did it because they could, not because it was right.

I'm not going to list off all the legends that have held that championship because you have probably seen plenty of that already, but at least most if not all previous were at one point over with the fans and were seen as legitimate main event stars. Jinder Mahal just isn't that, as much as some are trying to convince themselves that he is. You know it, I know it, everyone who watches wrestling knows it - he's out of his depth and he has turned both the WWE Championship and SmackDown Live into a laughing stock.

Since WrestleMania SmackDown Live's main event scene has been dull, the midcard confused by the Superstar Shake-Up, the women's division completely uninspired and the only saving grace being the Tag Team Championship feud. Backlash overall was a lackluster show, completely outclassed by NXT Takeover: Chicago, and now not even Shinsuke Nakamura looks like he will improve the fortunes of the blue brand going forward. SmackDown Live is against the ropes, and if they think Jinder Mahal is going to help them come out swinging, they are sadly mistaken.

I just keep thinking in my mind how Roddy Piper or Ted Dibiase never held that belt. How Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett walked out on WWE because they couldn't get opportunities in the main event. How charismatic and compelling wrestlers like Sami Zayn, Baron Corbin, The New Day and Rusev may never hold that title. And while some may be fooling themselves into thinking the Mahal victory is a good thing and added some much needed variety to the WWE main event hierarchy, let's see how they'll feel when the inevitable rematch with Orton is being built up for Money in the Bank.

If there was ever a battle between Raw and SmackDown Live for brand supremacy, I think it's just been settled once and for all. Unless Brock Lesnar drops the title to Curtis Axel at Great Balls of Fire, I think it's safe to say they can't sink any lower than SmackDown have here. And judging by the severe drop in quality SmackDown Live has witnessed since the Maharaja entered the main event scene, I doubt we're going to see much improvement now the belt is draped over his veiny, acne-laden shoulder.

So for now, myself and other wrestling fans will have to endure the knowledge that the WWE Championship means less than marketing to India (which almost certainly would have happened successfully regardless) and has become a laughing stock. Jinder Mahal joins the ranks of people he can't lace the boots of, and the sooner the belt is ripped from his grasp and we can start to forget about this farcical situation, the better.

At least wrestling can only go up from here, right?

Are you happy that Jinder Mahal is the new WWE Champion? Who would you like his first feud to be with? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Callum Wiggins hails from Essex in the United Kingdom. He recently graduated from the University of York with a degree in History and has been a fan of professional wrestling since 2002. Outside of wrestling, he is also a fan of Arsenal FC and enjoys video games, darts, and Formula One. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter.


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