Since defeating Randy Orton and becoming the WWE Champion, the WWE Universe has been dealing with the aftermath of his victory. On SmackDown Live, Mahal celebrated his title win with a Punjabi Celebration and a scathing promo against his doubters. Some fans are thrilled to see someone new emerge unexpectedly into the WWE Title picture, but a lot of people aren’t happy about Mahal’s ascension happening so quickly.
It has been reported that much of the reason why Jinder Mahal was given a push was to appeal to the Indian market. As a result, he became the No.1 Contender and got a title match with Orton at WWE Backlash. A lot of people assumed that Mahal would lose the match and become a strong heel in the midcard. However, the angle caught fire, and WWE officials decided to make the title change only a few hours before the PPV aired.
Fan reaction has only so much importance to WWE management because there are many other factors to consider in a top guy, and especially, in a WWE Champion. It’s being reported that Mahal’s star power will be tested over the next few months. For the United States, Jinder will be portrayed as a heel, but he will be presented as a huge babyface for the Indian audience as the company tries to break into the market for the foreseeable future.
Heading into WWE Backlash, it was reported that WWE officials were willing to experiment with Mahal as a main event star because the PPV isn’t considered to be an important PPV. However, the event did not end up selling out despite being in Chicago, which is known as one of WWE’s hottest cities. There is speculation about part of that being WWE pushing Mahal vs. Orton, but high ticket prices are taking most of the blame.
WWE officials are keeping a close eye on how the WWE Universe responds to Jinder Mahal as a top guy on SmackDown Live and as the WWE Champion. Apparently, the powers that be are prepared to take a hit in the short-term to see how the Indian market responds to Mahal. Right now, the company is only making money from their television deal in India, so Jinder Mahal’s merchandise sales are going to be important.
Earlier today, WWE released the first shirt for him on WWEShop. Mahal is still being portrayed as a heel in the United States, so his merchandise sales in India could make or break his title reign. Depending on how the Indian market responds into WWE Money in the Bank, Jinder Mahal may keep the WWE Title for much longer than most people were expecting. If the market doesn’t respond, WWE officials may pull the plug.
The company is expected to continue pushing Mahal on WWE television through at least September. WWE is rumored to be touring India that month, which means Jinder Mahal’s reign as the WWE Champion could last through that tour to really push WWE into the Indian market. Obviously, he’ll have a big role during the tour even if he drops the WWE Title over the summer, but he could wrestle in India as the WWE Champion.
Needless to say, WWE officials are taking a chance on Jinder Mahal right now to see if they can break into a new market. He has worked hard for the opportunity, but the WWE Universe is still adjusting to the idea of Mahal as the WWE Champion. It was announced on SmackDown that Randy Orton would receive his rematch at the WWE Money in the Bank PPV in June, so Jinder Mahal has a few weeks to prove his value as a top guy. If he’s successful, there is a good chance he could leave St. Louis with the WWE Title.
[Featured Image by WWE]