Jinder Mahal is Mirroring the Career of Kane

The first wrestler to change rosters as part of the 2018 Superstar Shakeup was Jinder Mahal.  He came out on RAW with the United State title and demanded to be treated like a superstar. Unfortunately for him, that meant facing the returning Jeff Hardy and losing his title.  Mahal complained the next week about the loss while telling some cringe-worthy jokes to Chad Gable. This led to a match between Mahal and Gable which Mahal dominated but lost on a fluke flash pin.  To see how much that win meant to Gable (and the loss to Mahal), neither man crossed paths this past Monday night on Raw. Not only that, but Gable didn’t even appear on the show. Granted this isn’t the first time, WWE has forgotten something from one week to the next, but it points to the use of a Mahal as being similar to that of another star from years ago, Kane.

Much like Kane, Mahal started with some less than stellar gimmicks in the WWE.  It took a while (and some serious umm…..growth) for Mahal to move up the card.  However, once that move started it took off like a rocket. He won the WWE Heavyweight Title and proceed to defend it successfully against the likes of Randy Orton, AJ Styles, and Nakamura.  Maybe defend is too strong a word. He held on to the title with the help of the Singh brothers on multiple occasions. The logic at the time was that Mahal was positioned as the champ due to an upcoming tour of India. However, when ticket sales didn’t explode with Mahal as the champ, he lost the belt to Styles and was put into the US title scene.  He won the belt and held onto it until the Superstar Shakeup.

With that history lesson out of the way, the fact that Mahal can now be billed as former WWE Champ and former US Champ gives him instant credibility, at least in the WWE’s eyes.  Any singles match with Mahal will have the announcers referencing those credentials as a way to “build him up”. How this is similar to Kane is that due to Kane’s longevity and multiple title wins (1 WWE Title and 1 WWE World Heavyweight Title), he was often cycled into the main event title scene every year or so.  His other role was to be a challenger for an up and coming star. WWE would often sacrifice someone younger and more talented (see Finn Balor) to Kane in order to “heat Kane up” for either a title challenge or a match with a big power wrestler.

Watch how Mahal is handled over the next few months on Raw.  Once Reigns or Strowman take out Lesnar, Mahal will likely be “heated up” as an early contender.  Oh look, Mahal is on the same show as Balor and other more talented and marketable wrestlers that Mahal can get wins over so he can lose to Reigns/Strowman in a title match.  Sound familiar? But, but, but, Mahal is a former WWE Champ and US Champ, losing to him won’t hurt anyone’s standing. That’s WWE logic for you, wins and losses don’t matter unless it fits their narrative.  By that thinking, Mahal shouldn’t have to beat ANYONE to get a title shot, yet WWE will utilize guys like Balor or Matt Hardy to put over Mahal because he needs the wins to look like a legit contender. My brain hurts!

 

Someone with Mahal’s “credentials” could serve a useful role as gatekeeper to the main event scene.  Keeping him fairly strong with wins over lower card wrestlers (paging Titus Worldwide) and tag wrestlers in singles matches could have him ready to step into bigger matches with wrestlers moving up the card without having to burn talent that should be above him in the pecking order.  Even having him in 6 man matches with the Singh brothers where he gets the pin for his team, would serve to make him look strong without having to prop him up with a lot of singles wins.

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