The Jinder Mahal project continues to unfold, and there are already some major hurdles. The objective of the WWE in making Mahal champion was primarily centered around their push in the India market, generating more business there since it is one of the largest populated countries in the world at over 1.3 billion people. After a successful tour in India last year, WWE is returning in September, and Mahal is penciled in as going into the tour as WWE Champion.
WWE is also hoping for this entire project to be successful, and Mahal to get over as a strong heel in the United States. While many are not happy with the sudden push, especially since his overall win-loss statistic is nowhere near the quality of a WWE Champion, others are willing to give him a chance.
On a recent episode of his podcast, Jim Ross was open to see what Mahal could offer as the top guy on SmackDown Live. He recalled talking to Dusty Rhodes about him while he was competing in the developmental stage, and both he and Dusty saw something promising in Mahal. At the time, he needed to continue to refine some things and become more polished overall, but Ross stated that his physical appearance and overall good attitude as a person made him stand out as someone to keep their eye on.
Fellow WWE Hall of Famer Steve Austin has not followed his career in the WWE – when he first come in as somewhat of a Punjabi lord and his run in 3MB – so he did not have that tainted lens to comment from. His observation was that Mahal had a ton of potential, had the look, and was good enough in the ring to produce a good match. He believes that he has a bunch of good factors, but he just needs to be refined and mature these positive qualities.
Seemingly, WWE was on the right track by making Mahal WWE Champion to generate more buzz in India. In fact, there have been numerous outlets in India that have portrayed Mahal’s win against Randy Orton at Backlash as a heroic journey of someone who proverbially rose from the ashes and totally revamped his career. While this does wonders in pulling in the crowd from his ethnicity, it still creates a great deal of pressure on him regarding upholding this level of fame in front of the primary WWE crowd, the U.S.
A major hurdle in the quest of bringing more media and WWE Network subscriptions was explained on the latest episode of Wrestling Observer Live. Host Bryan Alvarez explained how people in India would not really benefit from subscribing to the WWE Network, particularly for the sake of watching live pay-per-views.
According to Alvarez, due to the very long time difference, subscribers in India would have to wake up early in the morning to watch the pay-per-view live. For instance, 7 p.m. Eastern Time, when the pay-per-view Kickoff Show usually starts, would be 4:30 a.m. in New Delhi, India. This presents a significant impact on residents in India watching the show live.
An even bigger hurdle is that residents of India have the ability to watch WWE pay-per-view events later in the day for absolutely free. So, in essence, a resident in India would either subscribe to the WWE Network and have to wake up early in the morning to watch the live events, or not subscribe to the network and watch the events later in the day for free. As a result, a significant jump in subscriptions is not expected in India. This potentially changes the plan of benefiting putting the WWE Championship on Mahal from a financial standpoint.
[Featured Image by WWE]