Right now, WWE has exactly three supervillains: Stephanie McMahon, The Miz, and Mahal. Because McMahon won't be breaking WWE's intergender boundary, and The Miz is destined for Daniel Bryan, there's only one evil agent available for WWE's most tiresome mission: Make People Love Roman Reigns—or Project Kamikaze.
Jinder Mahal is the perfect heel to trigger wrestling fans in 2018. His character is unapologetically foreign, making him the low hanging fruit for WWE's more innocent thinkers. But for those who deem themselves sophisticated, Mahal's overt exploitation of stereotypes combined with his limitations as a wrestler have rendered him insufferable.
You won't find a single Jinder Mahal shirt in a concessions line, nor a section reacting with sanctimony when his music hits—not yet, at least.
All of this adds up with Mahal being WWE's best villain, (Donald Trump references aside).
While it can still be debated if Roman Reigns is demonstrably WWE's #1 Good Guy, the conversation on WWE's hopes and dreams for The Big Dog have been over for quite some time: they want to build the kingdom around this guy.
But they continue to balk at the launch button—his last two losses felt more like audibles than a long-term plan. For the next week, he'll pair with Samoa Joe. But after that, where does WWE send their wounded hero?
A third installment of Brock Lesnar seems unlikely. Another shot at the Univeral Championship after going 0-2 in two weeks makes Reigns look prividileged—a wart WWE keeps hidden.
An Intercontinental feud with Seth Rollins would be fun to watch but would slice Roman's audience even further. Even more, Rollins vs. Reigns would instantaneously make Seth a biblical hero—which might be the plan anyway.
But I'm willing to bet that WWE wants to take one more swipe at Roman Reigns as #1 Good Guy. They gave him a dose of tough luck with his loss by technicality at the Greatest Royal Rumble—indicating Roman will be on some kind of quest for truth or whatever Michale Cole wants to call it.
This is where Jinder gets involved.
Let's say he costs Reigns with some classic Jim Crockett banana peel at Backlash. This inevitably results in The Big Dog getting sweaty-pythoned by Samoa Joa as we all gasp in horror.
Joe returns to SmackDown, hotter than ever, and Roman is immediately paired with someone that no one likes—a first.
Say what you want about Brock Lesnar, but the crowd sings along with Paul Heyman 100% of the time. Joe has his own sect of devotees. As did Braun Strowman last summer. But their fanfare pales in comparison to the titans Reigns has sleighed (The Undertaker, John Cena and Triple H). If WWE wants to endear Roman, they'll need to draw more distinct battle lines.
And WWE's most identifiable evil-doer is single.
Who would you rather applaud?— WWE on PopCulture (@WWEonPopCulture) April 29, 2018
Jeff Hardy just washed his hands of Mahal (not without an epic botch, of course), and Jinder faces a permanent slip down WWE's card. But this is actually perfect. If Mahal were to catapult into Roman Reigns, it would be seen as an undeserved promotion, and entitlement looks good on any heel.2comments
Admittedly, it is possible this backfires when WWE fans spitefully choose Mahal over Reigns, but for the sake of this entire premise, let's consider that to be unlikely.
But Jinder, armed with a singular Singh brother, his unimpressive repertoire of super cool moves, his loose moral compass, and just a touch of xenophobia, WWE may be able to brew up the perfect potion for Roman Reigns to get his long-lost cheers.