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Posted in: The Eternal Optimist
The Eternal Optimist Presents - 7 Reasons Why Jinder Mahal's Push Doesn't Suck - Retrospective Edition
By Dave Fenichel
Aug 4, 2017 - 9:06:53 AM

Hi kids.

It’s official. The reign of Jinder Mahal is coming to an end. At Summerslam, Shinsuke Nakamura is going to use his knee to club him like a baby seal and take the WWE Title. In the words of the immortal Kenny Powers, “Jinder’s f*cking out”.

My first article on LOP tackled this very subject. It was titled “7 Reasons Why Jinder Mahal’s Push Doesn’t Suck”. As the title states, I was a fan of his push and have been a staunch defender of his.
Now that his mega push is coming to an end, it’s time to take a look back at my initial thoughts and see how hindsight has changed them.

Question of the Day: Now that it’s coming to an end, what did you think of Jinder Mahal’s title run?

The Eternal Optimist Presents: 7 Reasons Jinder Mahal’s Push Doesn’t Suck – Retrospective Edition


Reason #1: His Core Attributes:

Original Thoughts: Jinder is a monster with a great look and strong promo skills. He possessed some of the important skills needed to be a big star that many of the “Indy” wrestlers currently on the roster were lacking.

Current Thoughts: There’s not much to add on this one. I still believe that he has a great look and strong promo skills. I will begrudgingly admit that he ran into the same problem on the microphone as Bray Wyatt has in recent months. He never adapted his message. No matter how well it is delivered, people will tune you out if you say the same thing over and over again. Was this ultimately his undoing? Definitely not, but it didn’t help his cause either.


Reason #2: He’s an Unknown Quantity in the Ring:

Original Thoughts: Don’t judge his ring work until we’ve seen more of him. He could be a lot better than his five minute jobber spots allowed him to be.

Current Thoughts: I’ve seen enough out of him to say that he’s not a great worker. His matches weren’t bad, but they weren’t classics either. He has shown the ability to work a solid match, but the success of his matches has been based more on strong booking and old school wrestling principles than his actual in ring talent. I asked that people give him a chance to show us that he could do better, and he showed us that he can’t. Mission accomplished.


Reason #3: The Ethnic Card Sells:

Original Thoughts: The race card draws heat all the time. The “Indian Heel” was a fresh concept and the crowd would react accordingly.

Current Thoughts: I was right on this one. Jinder’s title reign has its fleas, but lack of heat isn’t one of them. People were emotionally invested in his matches. They wanted to see him lose. Some of the IWC diehards like to argue that he has negative heat as opposed to legitimate heat. This is hogwash. As Shawn Michaels once said, “if they are really loud it’s really good”.

The ethnic card might not have led to an increase in business, but it led to an increase in fan response towards the world title situation. This is a win for Jinder.


Reason #4: People are Talking:

Original Thoughts: Jinder winning the world title would cause tremendous buzz.

Current Thoughts: I don’t see how anyone can argue against me on this point. Social media blew up over Jinder’s push and hasn’t slowed down. I belong to a good number of wrestling groups on Facebook and follow many wrestling fans and journalists on Twitter. I can’t go a single day without seeing a post debating the merits of Jinder Mahal. These posts consistently attract more commenters than any other wrestling related posts that I see. Like him or not, Jinder Mahal’s title run has been a lightning rod for conversation.


Reason #5: Randy Orton’s Face Status:

Original Thoughts: Randy Orton sucks as a good guy. No one wants to cheer for him or see him as champion. Any champion not named Randy Orton is an improvement by default.

Current Thoughts: This was and is absolutely correct. Randy Orton is 2017 has no business anywhere near the main event. He had the worst title run that I can remember. Many seem to think that it was Jinder’s run that killed Smackdown’s momentum, but that is revisionist history. People stopped caring the minute Orton won the title, and Smackdown’s main event scene took a nosedive. Jinder was absolutely a better option by default, both in foresight and hindsight.

Unfortunately, Randy Orton’s face status may also be the single biggest reason for Mahal’s undoing. Even though Jinder has done a great job of drawing heel heat, he’s been paired off with an opponent that no one wanted to see overcome the odds for the entire duration of his title reign. I think Jinder did better with Orton than anyone else has on PPV this year, but these weren’t matchups that excited the masses. Wrestling is simple. There needs to be someone that the fans want to lose facing off with someone that the fans want to win. When you only have one of those two factors in play, it’s simply not going to work. I should have seen this as a possibility from the start, but I missed it. That’s what hindsight’s for, right?


Reason #6 – The Bradshaw Comparison:

Original Thoughts: JBL was completely unproven when he was pushed to the main event. That worked out well and so could Jinder.

Current Thoughts: This was an air ball for me. While JBL consistently showed that he had more to offer both in the ring and from a character standpoint, Jinder showed mediocre at best wrestling ability and absolutely no character development. JBL was able to take the ball he was given and run with it. Jinder took the ball he was given and stood in place. There you go booger eaters. I was wrong.


Reason #7 - Optimism For the Future:

Original Thoughts: Jinder represented the WWE going out on a limb. Even if it didn’t work out, it showed that they were willing to take a chance. If they were willing to take this kind of risk, they might also be willing to take a chance on some of the internet darlings that otherwise wouldn’t have been afforded an opportunity.

Current Thoughts: BINGO! This is the #1 reason that holds up over time. Shinsuke Nakamura is about to win the WWE Title. He barely speaks English and wrestles a style not conducive to the WWE product. If this isn’t going out on a limb, I don’t know what is. Jinder’s push showed that they aren’t afraid to take risks, and they’re about to take another one with the current IWC darling in Nakamura. I cannot understate how important this is for the success of the WWE going forward. They will have hits, they will have misses but they will ultimately create new stars that will carry them forwards into the next era.


Conclusion:

Jinder’s title run wasn’t great, but it wasn’t as terrible as some will make it out to be. I think it will go down as largely unmemorable outside of the shock value behind giving the WWE title to a jobber.

With that said, I still maintain that it was the right move. He drew heat. Randy Orton was uninspiring as champion. Jinder winning the belt got people talking and most important of all, was the type of risk the WWE needed to take in order to create new stars.

On top of all that, our portion of the community is going to be treated to a tremendously satisfying moment at Summerslam when Nakamura knocks Jinder’s head off with a Kinchasa. You’re welcome IWC. Love, Jinder.


That’s a wrap kids. I’ll be dropping the final 2 installments of my Summerslam column series next week, then it’s back to business. What are your thoughts on Jinder’s title reign? Sound off below!

Facebook: David Fenichel

Twitter: @FFFightLeague

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