In focus: The underlying significance of Jinder Mahal’s WWE Championship reign

Yesterday marked the 50th day of Jinder Mahal’s reign as the WWE Champion.

To put that into perspective, Mahal’s first run as the WWE Champion has lasted longer than the likes of Kane, The Undertaker, Triple H and The Rock, when they first won the prestigious title!

When Jinder was let go by the company couple of years ago, not many raised an eyebrow. Lost in the bowels of WWE’s underbelly that is the lower mid card, Mahal was among hundreds of prospective talent trying to make something of their opportunity.

And by the time they realised it wasn’t meant to be, they were culled by the promotion — something that even Mahal later agreed was the right move for his career.

Sometimes, everything you’ve worked for needs to be taken away, to truly make you understand how much you need it. And Mahal understood what needed to be done.

Instead of bemoaning the exit, Jinder looked at it as a second chance – a second chance to show his worth. Second chance to work harder, show his hunger. A second chance to make a first impression.

So when WWE came calling again, Jinder made sure that the WWE management saw something more in him. And when it’s all set and done, Jinder Mahal’s name will forever be associated with the WWE Championship.

The dawn of a new era in WWE – Jinder Mahal becomes WWE Champion

When Jinder Mahal was pushed as SmackDown Live’s top heel, many believed it would only be a matter of time before he was pushed down the pecking order. Who would, in all seriousness, believe Mahal was championship material, after spending years in the lower mid card?

For everyone, Jinder Mahal was still a member of 3 MB, this generation’s version of Kai – En – Tai. But that didn’t deter Jinder. For once, the “Don’t Hinder Jinder” phrase wasn’t just a ‘smarky’ inside joke.

Jinder Mahal had a point to prove. And to do that, he had to put in years of hard work – an unrelenting dedication to better himself, physically and mentally.

It wasn’t too long ago that Triple H told Jinder Mahal he wasn’t ready mentally to be a WWE Superstar. Three years down the road, Jinder Mahal was challenging for the WWE Championship.

It was truly the dawn of a new era in the company.

Jinder’s ascension to the top wasn’t only because of the work he had put in. It’s funny how things work out; Mahal ended up being at the right place, at the right time. For years, WWE has been sizing up India as a potential market, and tried to push its product into the Indian market over two decades ago, with Bret Hart’s trip to India.

However, in The Great Khali, WWE saw the prospect of seriously investing in the Indian market. Not too long after, Khali became the World Heavyweight Champion. With Jinder Mahal, the company has a Superstar that has both – the time and ability on his side.

What Jinder Mahal’s WWE Championship run has done for India

Since Mahal won the prestigious title, he has been actively promoting the product. While we talk about Cena’s willingness to promote the company on late night TV shows and print media, Mahal has been actively taking part in conference calls and TV interviews.

WWE’s visit to India last year for live events was the promotion’s way of testing the waters. Evidently, the higher ups liked what they saw, and there have been rumblings about WWE returning to India with more live events in 2018.

If India were to become one of WWE’s top two international markets, Jinder Mahal has a significantly tough job ahead of him. But what he has done so far gives us an idea as to why WWE chose Jinder Mahal to begin with.

Mahal has been all over the news in the second most populated country in the world. Mahal hasn’t shied away from taking on the responsibility of being the poster boy for professional wrestling in India. In fact, he has embraced the challenge so far, and has proved the company right.

Jinder Mahal’s win has opened doors for people from India, to seriously consider about taking up professional wrestling as a career option. While the impact of Jinder Mahal’s victory may not be visible to the naked eye, the implications will go a long way in India becoming one of WWE’s biggest markets.

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