What’s in Store for Jinder Mahal’s Return to WWE?


There was rumblings that WWE would be bringing back former stars to help fill out the roster after the 2016 draft, and it appears as though those rumors are being proven true. Shelton Benjamin has been advertised to come back, Curt Hawkins is waiting in the wings, Rhyno’s gored Heath Slater twice and Jinder Mahal was given a new contract for the Raw brand this week.

Odds are good that you likely don’t care one way or the other about Jinder Mahal, as he didn’t make an enormous splash during his first run with the company. However, everyone has at least some fans out there, so now that he has a second chance, what should we expect from him going forward? Is this an opportunity for him to finally make something of himself, or is he going to be a glorified jobber like before?


Positioning on the Card

The optimist in me wants to believe that he’s improved dramatically since he left WWE, and there will be a renewed vigor that is quite impressive. The pessimist in me knows that more often than not, when people get older, they slow down and are less entertaining than before. Realistically, though, Jinder probably is exactly the same as before. He’s still young enough that he isn’t likely an old, washed-up shell of himself, but I haven’t heard of him blazing through the independent scene and making a huge name for himself since he’s been gone, either.

WWE’s invested a lot of time and effort into the members of the rosters and kept them on the payroll for a reason. The same applies to the people that were dropped. If WWE didn’t see much value in him before, it’s highly unlikely their tune has changed. He went from being a midcarder with some potential to a comedic jobber losing to El Torito as part of 3MB.

Since coming back, all we’ve seen of him is that he defeated Heath Slater—one of the most primary jobbers in the company. (Side note: Slater is doing a great job being a source of entertainment as a loser. This is something he’s just skilled at doing, rather than him being left with nothing to do because the company is punishing him for sucking at his job, like the position The Ascension has been in.) Jinder Mahal beating Slater isn’t exactly a big win, mostly as it was played for laughs. If he were to make his re-debut by pinning someone like Cesaro, suddenly he’d gain more of our attention, but by beating a jobber, it could be a sign that he’s staying around the same level he was at before.

Don’t be surprised if Jinder Mahal takes on the role of one of the main jobbers on Raw, putting over people like Darren Young, Neville, Big Cass, Enzo Amore, and of course, being destroyed by Braun Strowman. He’s the right type of guy to be sent out to lose a match with Sami Zayn so the latter gets a fresh opponent to work with.

The Tag Team Route

Alternatively, Jinder Mahal might have ditched his association with Heath Slater in order to form a new tag team with someone else. This is not mutually exclusive from being a jobber, though, and a quick glance at the Raw roster opens up very little options as for who he could end up being paired with.

My instincts would tell me if he’s to team up with anybody, it’s going to be Curtis Axel or Bo Dallas, as they’d be of a similar level and could piggyback off the Social Outcasts gimmick from before. I’m not so sure that’s going to happen, though. Why just retread familiar ground like that?

If WWE intends to give Mahal a shot at being something more than a jobber, my suggestion would be to pair him up with Ariya Daivari from the Cruiserweight Classic tournament. For those who have not checked him out yet, I highly recommend it, as he seemed to be a very natural fit in the WWE environment (along with many others who are just killing it in this tournament so far). He lost in the first round to Ho Ho Lun, but I was impressed enough that I hope WWE signs him to a regular contract. Just because he would likely be in the new Cruiserweight division doesn’t mean he couldn’t also wrestle outside of it, and a tag team with Jinder Mahal could be beneficial for both of them.

Is it an obvious and easy path to take just because they both share a Middle Eastern descent? Of course it is. But let’s not mince words here—while WWE frequently pulls some more creative and original pairings out of nowhere (such as the wildly different Golden Truth, the weird duo of Slater Gator and others), it’s more often than not that if two people share some commonality, they’re teamed up. The Wyatt Family is the bearded big men, The Hype Bros are goofballs, American Alpha have the same style and The Lucha Dragons both wore masks. In the past, Jinder Mahal was brought in with The Great Khali, who was originally managed by Shawn Daivari before Ranjin Singh. The legwork is already done, and this would also open up the possibility for Shawn Daivari to return down the line as well, if the company were interested in that. There have been plenty of trio teams over the past few years, and this could be another to help strengthen the tag team division.

For the most part, I think those are the only two things we can look forward to when it comes to Jinder Mahal’s return to WWE. Either he’s going to be a singles jobber or he’ll be incorporated into the tag team division in some fashion, but in both scenarios, I don’t imagine him being a huge prospect that people can bank on being a big name.

Anything can happen, though, and only time will tell, so what are your predictions for Jinder Mahal? Is he going to make something of himself this time around, or is another release in the future inevitable and this is just a brief respite before he’s staring up at the lights week in and week out?

Sound off in the comments below!

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