I was taken aback when Jinder Mahal said he wanted to face The Beast on Smackdown. For the last couple of weeks I’d been wondering who was next for Jinder and nothing came up; other than AJ Styles. I kinda didn’t want to see AJ vs. Jinder as the trend shows The Maharaja is expected to be WWE Champion for months, and I couldn’t handle AJ losing to him several times. It’s bad enough that AJ lost clean to Corbin, never mind losing to Jinder as well.
This isn’t about AJ though, it’s about Jinder Mahal and Brock Lesnar. Personally I don’t mind either of these guys, nor how they are booked. However, if there’s two talents (other than Reigns & Cena) who get tons of heat over the way they’re booked it’s The Beast and The Maharaja. Why do people hate them so much? And why do people keep blaming them and WWE for the way they are presented? Let’s look into it:
The general consensus with Jinder’s super push isn’t necessarily that he doesn’t deserve it, it’s more to do with WWE not building him up to look like a credible threat. It was like .. one month he was losing to Mojo Rawley and the next he was beating Randy Orton for the WWE title on PPV. It was difficult for fans to suspend their disbelief and accept that he wasn’t a jobber anymore. They couldn’t understand how someone could go from being a jobber for so many years .. to being a main eventer in a matter of weeks. Many said the only reason why they made him champion was to sell to the Indian market (despite him being Canadian), and they weren’t entirely wrong.
Other reasons include him not being good on the microphone, or in the ring. I don’t know whether he’s doing such a good job (at getting fans to hate) that people can’t see how good he is, or if he actually sucks and I’m trying too hard to find positives in his work. I laugh out loud when fans chant “you can’t wrestle!” and he holds up the title and tells them he is their WWE Champion. I respect him for his consistency and professionalism. He is not a flashy heel cutting epic promos and backing it up with 5-star matches. No .. he is a heel who gets under people’s skin, and the less he does in the ring the better. Mahal says he demands respect .. while the man behind the character wants the opposite.
He wants you to see him as a jobber, a terrorist, a racist bigot, useless on the mic, even more useless in the ring, anything to make you hate him. When people say he’s not being a “proper heel”, I can’t begin to fathom what they mean. Any heat is good heat for a heel, whether it’s cheap or not. Respect in today’s product makes fans cheer heels (see The Miz’s recent promos) instead of booing them, therefore he’s not going to do anything to garner respect. The booking continues this pattern, by using The Singh Brothers to cover his weaknesses and take the blame if anything goes wrong. He’s still the same jobber .. but he’s able to take advantage of opportunities created by his two helpers. Therefore .. super jobber racist terrorist Maharaja is here to stay, and setting his sights on The Beast is a very bold move. It might do him a lot of good in the long run.
Lesnar’s a funny creature. Many fans respect him for his look, the way he’s presented (thanks to Heyman), and often enough he’s presented as a tweener. He can go either way, which is useful as it gives WWE more options. However, despite his past contributions, many fans can’t stand the fact he’s part-timer who holds the Universal title hostage for months on end. They want someone new to hold it, and defend it regularly on TV. They feel like Lesnar doesn’t really need the title to draw, and he didn’t need it in the feud with Goldberg.
It’s not the only thing though, many fans continue to mention his one-dimensional way of working. It’s suplex this .. suplex that, and fans wish they could see more. It’s very easy to see more, simply look back at his earlier matches with Kurt Angle, The Undertaker, and others when he was full-time. Back then he wasn’t about Suplex City, in fact he didn’t start Suplex City til he returned to WWE after his UFC days. When he was full-time, he often used heel tactics and cheated to win despite not needing too. As a face he wasn’t as effective, he was decent .. but I believe his best work was playing a heel against Angle and The Undertaker.
Why does Lesnar work the way he does? Why doesn’t he work like he used too? I feel it’s because you’re either totally for it, or totally against it. It’s a style you either love or hate, and when done on bigger opponents (like Strowman) it’s pretty cool. Lesnar seemed to take on the mantel of Suplex City after the audience counted along. This hadn’t happened since Angle and Benoit traded German Suplex in their encounters. Being able to threaten opponents with “Suplex City Bitch!” was perfect for his persona and merchandising. It’s not that he can’t work well, it’s because many (but not all) actually like Suplex City and pay to see it. You can’t knock his selling though .. it’s great! Lesnar will sell and make his opponents look good when needed; unlike other big names in the past.
Who Do We Cheer For?
And I close this piece with the above question. Who do we cheer for in this scenario? Do we cheer on Lesnar because Mahal’s a racist terrorist jobber with crappy mic/ring skills? Or do we cheer Mahal because Lesnar’s a part-timer holding the Universal title hostage? Yes, it’s probably not going to be a title vs. title match, but it doesn’t stop people feeling disgruntled with Lesnar’s rock-solid status. Mahal could probably afford a loss, but can you imagine if Mahal pinned Lesnar!? Just think about what that would do for his career and Lesnar’s.
However, there’s only one outcome I can see from this encounter. I can only see it ending with interference which will set up the next feud for Lesnar, while Mahal wins/loses without losing too much of what he’s built so far. Just for Mahal to be in the ring with Lesnar will give him more exposure than he’s ever had before. I never thought it would happen, it seems WWE is very, very serious about making Mahal not just a WWE Champion, but a future legend and Hall Of Famer. If you said this to someone a year ago they’d think you were barking mad, but it seems ever more clear that WWE and Vince McMahon likes Jinder’s work so much that he’s here to stay whether you like it or not, and Lesnar’s going to help get him over whether he wins or loses.
So who’s side are you on? The Beast? Or The Maharaja? Perhaps you’re someone who hates both and can’t decide? Maybe you like both and can’t decide? Whichever way you see it, I think it’s a bold booking decision to have the two champions of both shows locking up at Survivor Series. Whoever comes out on top will have the bragging rights, and it should definitely be the start of what we’re going to see leading in to the Royal Rumble and beyond. As always .. I have been a writer of wrestling articles, and you have been a valued reader of my work. Thanks and see you again!