Don’t hinder Jinder – From a meme to competing for the WWE Championship

Couple of years ago, you’d have heard a few fans wanting to see Jinder Mahal compete for the WWE Championship. However, it would have been in a lighter vein – a sarcastic remark, meant to be taken as a joke. At a time when the Three Man Band – or ‘3MB’ gained a cult following, not because of their outstanding body of work, but purely out of humour and amusement, we started seeing the three Superstars become memes.

The kind of memes that would imply Heath Slater would be the ‘one’ to beat Brock Lesnar.

Slater, Mahal and McIntyre then garnered a small, dedicated fan base. You’d see people carrying signs, saying, “Don’t hinder Jinder”. While the company looked at 3MB as this generation’s Kai – En – Tai, the fans cheered the three men on.

However, the same fans are now outraged with Jinder Mahal becoming the number one contender. The “smarks” have started a wild goose chase, trying to understand just why the company is pushing Mahal. Conspiracy theories started floating around, and the fans are even questioning if the change in Jinder’s physique has led to him being pushed.

Jinder Mahal could be the key to unlocking the Indian market

For years, WWE has been trying to enter the Indian market. As every global conglomerate knows, entering a new country can be a tricky proposition. From understanding the market, the key demographics, and the cultural impact on the business, a lot of variables need to be taken care of.

However, what WWE was looking for, was a marketable face to cater to 1.2 billion odd people.

With The Great Khali, WWE had a larger than life Superstar – a character that could transcend the industry. Historically, these larger than life personalities – from Andre the Giant to The Big Show – transformed the business. The Great Khali was targeted at the Indian audience, and it worked.

The mainstream media, that has so often shied away from WWE, started covering WWE events. At 4 in the morning, the media speculated about Khali’s performance at WrestleMania. From Sachin Tendulkar to Shah Rukh Khan, everyone wanted to meet – and snap a picture with The Great Khali.

India is considered to be a gold mine for sporting/entertainment entities. Impact Wrestling signed Mahabali Shera to cater to the Indian audience, but the company soon found out it wasn’t as easy.

With a new market comes various challenges. Apart from dealing with the global perception, it becomes difficult to escape the scrutiny. However, Jinder wasn’t the only Superstar to have been pushed to the upper echelons, while being a jobber not too long ago.

Why the fans shouldn’t look beyond the characters

We as fans are often guilty of placing tags on Superstars. While the insider terms existed much before the fans became aware of them, we tend to look at things through a microscope. Every wrestler, at one point or the other was made to ‘job’ to the other Superstars.

From the likes of Triple H to The Rock, every Superstar had to pay his ‘dues’ before breaking through the ranks. While some of them showed more promise, the others grabbed their opportunities with both hands. Jinder Mahal now finds himself with the perfect opportunity to establish himself as a top star.

This also comes at an opportune time; Sgt. Slaughter became a devious villain, when the US found itself at war with Iraq. Muhammad Hassan became the top heel when the patriotic fervour was at an all time high in the United States. Now, with the new immigration laws being passed, and the country going through a turbulent phase, Jinder Mahal can be the next big anti – US heel the company desperately needs.

It is valid to counter – argue, and point at Mahal’s average in – ring skills. However, from an entertainment stand point, and Jinder being catered to the Indian fans, it is a win – win situation for the Superstar and the company. In fact, Jinder could be the hottest property in pro wrestling, if WWE decides to take a chance with the Superstar!

Not every professional wrestler can cut a promo like The Rock. Neither can all Superstars be as good as AJ Styles in working a match. However, it is imperative for us to give Mahal the time to develop his character. While Rusev was originally touted to be the next big anti – American villain, Jinder Mahal could be used to cater to over 1.2 billion people while doing it.

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