Earlier this year, the WWE sent shockwaves through the universe when they promoted perennial jobber Jinder Mahal to the main event scene. Those shockwaves became almost surreal when had Mahal win the WWE Title from Randy Orton at Backlash. While many thought he would have had a short reign he has now been the champion for over 100 days. Throughout those 100 plus days, the company has been fully behind the experiment, even if his reign underwhelmed at times.
Jinder was a low priority for his first run in WWE. That seemed to follow suit for the 6 months or so after his return. Despite all of that the company decided to back him. It was his improved physique and the company’s desire to capitalize on the Indian market that ultimately put him over the top.
In this article, I will look at four other superstars who could be the next Jinder Mahal. The next superstar to be plucked from mid-card obscurity to main event glory.
Although he has never really been a jobber and has experienced some minor pushes in the past, Luke Harper has been virtually non-existent for the last 6 months or so on Smackdown live.
Since he debuted with the Wyatt Family in 2013, people have always been able to see the talent Harper has. For a big man, he can fly around the ring like a cruiserweight and the crowd has always reacted favorably to him for it.
In between stints with the Wyatt family, he had a run with the Intercontinental title. So at the very least, the company must have some faith in him as a singles superstar. With Bray Wyatt finally on a separate roster, Harper can finally be his own man.
If the company were to get behind him, Smackdown could have its own resident monster. Lord knows the brand is in dire need of. The likes of Strowman, Lesnar and Samoa Joe dominate as beasts on Raw but other than Baron Corbin, Smackdown doesn’t have many big men in the higher end of the card. Luke Harper could be that man.
WWE has not had a popular Mexican superstar since Rey Mysterio in his prime. They have tried to push both Alberto Del Rio and Sin Cara, but both with marginal success. WWE needs to create a popular character for the Spanish market. Kalisto could be that man. Despite rarely being featured on programming, he has shown that he can be popular amongst fans. Kids always love themselves a masked superstar.
Another factor that points towards WWE possibly having faith in him as a big star are the fact that after roster splits and shake-ups, they have kept the former Lucha Dragons on separate rosters. There still may be a chance for him to surge up the card as despite being on Raw, Kalisto still hasn’t been relegated to the cruiserweight division.
Kalisto has also been given the same type of underdog booking that was central to Mysterio. While the aftermath of the feud may not have been ideal, his best example of underdog booking was his victory over Strowman in the dumpster match.
His appearances right now are few and far between but expect the company to get behind him once again. The thoughts of the Lucha underdog trying to take down someone like Braun Strowman as Universal champion in the future could end up being a fan favorite moment for the WWE universe. David and Goliath at its finest.
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Mojo Rawley is a very limited superstar. His move set is basic and his character is very one dimensional (he is always hyped). However, he is the type of superstar that will inevitably get a push. With a kid friendly gimmick, football background and good physique he has most of the tools needed for the company to get behind him.
Although he was a low priority in NXT and has spent the majority of his main roster run in the tag division, the company has toyed with the notion Mojo being a major singles player. His winning the Andre the Giant memorial battle royal at Wrestlemania is the best example of WWE flirting with a Mojo push. Ironically, he eliminated Jinder Mahal last, with the help of Rob Gronkowski.
Rawley hasn’t done much since and is back teaming with Zack Ryder. Despite them teaming up again, the seeds have been laid for the teams split. If Mahal’s title run continues until the end of the year, he may have faced all the top face superstars. Rawley could be the man who steps up to face him. It ideally is a match for one of the lesser PPVs before Wrestlemania season. Mojo could be a champion!
It’s not only the male roster that can pull off a shock. There is plenty of room in the women’s division for a Jinder style push. Since the brand split, Raw has had a problem with highlighting only 2-3 women at a time. This leaves the other women on the roster sitting around doing nothing. If they’re lucky enough to make it on to television, it’s a short and meaningless matchup. However if Raw were to take a page from Smackdown’s book, they could push one of their female competitors to be a major face. Emma has currently found her way into the title picture but I believe Dana Brooke could have a bigger impact on that Raw women’s divisions.
She is still very green in the ring and has played sidekick for most of her main roster run. That being said though, she has the look that Vince McMahon loves. Rumors last year stated the company viewed her as the female Roman Reigns. However, she still has a lot of work to do. It isn’t easy to keep up with a Sasha Banks in the ring or an Alexa Bliss on the mic. Perhaps a return to NXT for a few months is on the cards to help give Brooke more experience. Then, a title run could be a serious discussion.
These are just some of the underused superstars that could end up getting a shocking push like Mahal. Could the company pull off another shock or will they revert to not taking risks on an unproven superstar? It remains to be seen and will all depend on how the company views Mahal’s current run as champion.