On a recent episode of E&C's Pod of Awesomeness former WWE superstars Edge and Christian discussed Jinder Mahal and his title reign. The boys were supportive of Mahal's victory and stressed patience with the budding superstar.
Captain Charisma, Christian spoke to the surprise and timing of Mahal's big push:
"I think it's good. I think it's a good surprise. I mean, I like it when there's… it's hard to shock people, especially when people want to know, like, spoilers and stuff like that. People seem to want to know stuff that's going to happen before it happens sometimes instead of just enjoying it and following the ride and just seeing where it takes you. So it just was legitimately one of those ones where you didn't know which way they were going to go on it and I like it. I think it's different and I think it's one of those ones too, even speaking from personal experience, that you sometimes you've just got to throw that person in that spot and see if they can sink or swim, if they have it in them to step up and be believable in that spot."
Edge countered by addressing the sudden rise of Mahal and reiterated that we as fans should give this program room to develop.
"I know the knee-jerk reaction from a lot of wrestling fans is, 'huh? Why?' Settle down. Relax. I'm going to be Uncle Edge here and try and talk you off the ledge. Here's how I'm looking at this. You can say it's a business decision because WWE is breaking ground in India. Well, okay. Then, it's a good business decision. If you want a billion people to latch onto the product, then maybe put the 6'5", 240 lbs. Indian dude as your world heavyweight champion. Just saying."
This is a great perspective from guys who have seen it all as WWE talent. Strangely enough, statements like this from revered superstars should buy Jinder Mahal a little more time as champion. However, with each appearance Mahal makes, it seems that the WWE Universe is less and less willing to humor him.
If Mahal retains his championship against Randy Orton at Money in the Bank, significant changes are due in order to keep his character compelling. Perhaps, as Edge alluded, Mahal's run as champion is more of a one off to appeal to the growing Indian fan base.
However, it is the American fanbase that is most loyal and thusly most profitable. For WWE, they'll need to measure the importance of adding fans in India compared to losing fans in America. Jinder's lack of potency and theatrical appeal has nothing to do with a xenophobic crowd, it's more about his anemic presence. Fans are not turning away because they are offended, but because they are bored.
We'll know what's most important to WWE after Money in the Bank. Until then, keep watching wrestling.