WWE SmackDown Live has been bogged down by Jinder Mahal’s lackluster reign as WWE Champion, but could his time as champion drag on for longer than anticipated?
Jinder Mahal has done everything he possibly can to be a successful WWE Champion, and he should be applauded for his facial expressions, demeanor, and unique entrance. Mahal carries himself like a champion, and even if he does use performance-enhancing substances, he still deserves credit for putting in the work to obtain that kind of physique (because it sure as heck isn’t automatic).
Despite Mahal’s positive attributes, his reign as WWE Champion has been a failed experiment. His matches have been dreadful, particularly his dud with Randy Orton in the Punjabi Prison and his horrendous first match with Shinsuke Nakamura at SummerSlam, and he’s been the victim of racist promos from Vince McMahon and the creative team.
Fans have been hoping for Mahal’s reign to come to a merciful end, but it appears that this may not be the case. PWMania.com writes that “the current belief” is that Mahal will remain the champion in 2017 and could hold the title until WrestleMania 34.
We’ve heard rumblings of Mahal holding the title until WrestleMania before, so this rumor isn’t necessarily anything totally new. However, PWMania.com adds that it is possible for Mahal to drop the title to Shinsuke Nakamura at the upcoming Hell in a Cell pay per view, but then win the title back at a later date.
During Mahal’s reign as champion, the WWE Championship has taken a backseat to the United States Championship, which has featured involvement from Shane McMahon and more main events on SmackDown Live. It’s featured exciting encounters with the likes of Tye Dillinger and Baron Corbin lately, but the WWE Championship needs to receive a boost in status that someone like Nakamura or AJ Styles could provide it.
When Mahal does lose the championship, he should still be at least an upper mid-card player in WWE. Although his time as champion has been underwhelming, to put it as diplomatically as possible, he has done the best he could with little support from the writing staff and has been successful at branding himself into a bigger deal. Mahal is unpopular as a champion among most of the fan base, but he has his supporters and has earned the respect of some of his detractors. Mahal knows how to be a legitimate heel, and that’s worth keeping in mind.