Last week on Smackdown, the WWE performed a bit of shock and awe on the universe when Jinder Mahal stood victorious and became the number one contender. If there is one thing that the WWE universe is good for it is wearing their emotions on their sleeve and that was exhibited in full force throughout all of social media.
The only thing that matched the discontent amongst the fans was the confusion. How could the powers that be within WWE just elevate a guy who seemingly has had no television time into a top heel. Not just a top heel but one that is in a championship program with a future hall of fame Superstar. They may have found their answer on last weeks episode of Talking Smack.
During that Talking Smack segment on the night that Mahal was named number one contender, he referred to himself as the American dream more than once. That tagline can serve as a means to get Jinder Mahal to where they need him and that is a heel with heavy heat. I’m not just talking about a disliked wrestler as he is now. Currently the distain from the WWE universe is much in regards to what most perceive as a lack of experience and being undeserving. I’m referring to get him over with the fans as a heel. That the things he can say will be as believable as they will incite the audience.
Mahal referring to himself as the American dream works in two fold. In one way, it will likely be viewed as a slap in the face to the American Dream Dusty Rhodes. Dusty is beloved by the current locker room and especially those who have been elevated from NXT over the last few years. Look no further than this past Hall of Fame induction ceremony as Dusty’s name was mentioned on loop throughout each speech. Shane McMahon himself referenced to Dusty Rhodes and the American dream name shortly after Jinder Mahal walked off the set.
That could be the beginning of laying down the ground work for Mahal being disrespectful towards Dusty’s legacy. You could almost envision a brilliantly produced video package of Mahal’s voice over calling himself the American dream as visions of Dusty would flash on the screen. That serves as a way to get under the superstars skin which then makes it easy for the fans to follow suit.
The other way in which the American dream line works is the situation in which America finds itself in today. I’m by no means going to turn this piece into too much of a political one but we can agree that things are a tad tense here in the states. No matter what side of the proverbial aisle you find yourself on the tension is not difficult to see. I think the ‘We the People’ gimmick with Jack Swagger worked well for him during WrestleMania 29. Today though I think that is too hot of a situation for even the WWE to touch.
Just referring to being a diverse superstar that is setting a new precedent is enough to rattle the fans cages without jumping directly on the white hot nerve that is immigration. He could talk about himself as the one to usher in change. The change of being the new American dream and being far from what some may have perceived it to be.
Again, I’m not going to get too far into a political post here but it is a sensitive enough of a topic to get the fans attention. My insistence to not make this a political post only further proves my thoughts on how contentious it makes things. It worked for Jack Swagger as well as Sgt.Slaughter back in 1991 so there is no reason why it can’t work for Mahal. It is all a matter of proper booking.
This American dream gimmick could be the perfect and legitimate way to get Mahal over and ultimately justify this monster push that he is on the verge of embarking on. I would also like to say that I think he doesn’t need to scream through his promos like he did after his six pack challenge victory. If he can find a way to mesh his in-ring intensity with his matter of fact nature on Talking Smack, I think that will help his efforts in being taken seriously by the fans.
I have said it before on the podcast and I will say it here that no matter if you’re prepared to accept this or not Mahal is going to be pushed. WWE officials do not march to the beat of our drums and will do whatever they like with whomever they like in that locker room. Reports are that the India market is growing stronger for a WWE and Jinder is a way to appeal to that market. You can look no further than my 7 potential SummerSlam matches piece to see where I think this monster Mahal push is headed.
The only question now is if WWE books him correctly or if this becomes a flaming train wreck of a push. Stay tuned tonight on Smackdown Live to see how Mahal will proceed from here!
Writing credit goes to: Michael Hauff
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