Last night on SmackDown Live, everyone was shocked as Jinder Mahal came out of nowhere to become the No. 1 contender for Randy Orton’s WWE Championship. Fans were so surprised to see him go over guys such as Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, and Luke Harper, but he did. Now, rumors are swirling as to why Mahal has been pushed into the spotlight all of a sudden, and it appears as if WWE has a very good reason.
No one saw it coming when SmackDown Live started last night and the Six-Pack Challenge included a number of superstars who were main event worthy. Once again, though, it didn’t seem as if it would be Jinder Mahal.
A week ago, wrestling fans thought he was in trouble for nailing Finn Balor during a match on Monday Night Raw, which left the former WWE Universal Champion with a concussion. Last week, Mahal made his debut on SmackDown Live and easily lost to Mojo Rawley.
Now, he’s going to face Randy Orton for the WWE Championship at Backlash next month, and there appears to be a good reason for this move.
According to IW Nerd, WWE is really looking at expanding their product and name into India, and that is the reason for Mahal’s sudden mega-push. Some may point out that Mahal was born in Canada, but he is of Punjabi Sikh descent and plays a character with that background on WWE television.
Exchange 4 Media recently reported that Sheetesh Srivastava was promoted to vice president and general manager of WWE India. The former Walt Disney Company executive is in charge of leading WWE’s move into India, which is a massively untapped market, and they are looking to push merchandise and live events to the fans.
With the company looking to really move into the Indian market, that is the reason the Bollywood Boyz were brought up to the main roster last night as well. WWE is now referring to Harv and Gurv Shira as The Singh Brothers, and they are expected to create a new faction with Mahal.
It may have shocked a lot of fans and left them unhappy, but this is how things are currently going as WWE looks to become major players in India. If the company’s numbers end up going up with Mahal and the Singh Brothers in the spotlight, they may see their push continue for a bit longer.
Some don’t believe that Jinder Mahal is deserving of being the No. 1 contender, and they may be right.
Wrestling Inc. brought up some interesting stats regarding the new number one contender to Randy Orton. Last week’s loss to Mojo Rawley was Mahal’s first televised match on SmackDown since he lost to El Torito in May of 2014.
Last night’s episode featured Jinder Mahal’s first televised victory on SmackDown since October 9, 2012. He teamed with fellow 3MB member Heath Slater to defeat the team of Zack Ryder and Santino Marella. So, there were five years between Team Blue victories for him, and this one resulted in a WWE Championship title match.
India is a huge country and is a gigantic market for wrestling fans, which means that Vince McMahon is simply looking at a business decision here. While many fans might hate the decision to push Mahal, it will likely work in the long run.
When the Six-Pack Challenge was made for SmackDown Live, a few names involved seemed like the obvious choices to win the No. 1 contender spot. None of those included Jinder Mahal, but he outlasted all of them to become the next challenger for Randy Orton’s WWE Championship. The company is rumored to be building up their following in India to see how much they can expand into that market, which means Mahal and the Singh Brothers are now in the spotlight.
[Featured Image by WWE]