Craig Wilson and Brian Damage
It’s Saturday so time for the latest instalment of ’This Week in Wrestling’. Today, in part 45, Craig wonders if this is the end of MahalMania while Brian wonders if Vince McMahon has lost his Midas touch and shares all the best viral content he’s stumbled upon this week.
Since the WWE title was put around the waist of Jinder Mahal, debate has raged on here, other wrestling sites and fan messageboards since over whether he deserved the position.
The majority, found themselves on the side of believing he wasn’t good enough to be champion. Much of this tended to focus on the fact that he had spent much of his WWE career to date being a jobber.
My gripe was certainly that little or no attempt had been made to build him up at all. We were just supposed to buy into the change in his fortunes. Even a short winning streak would have helped make him becoming champion a bit more believable.
But, hey, those are arguments of yesterday as he was champion. What followed was, arguably, worse. His matches were lacklustre, and his promos were even more uninspiring – focussing on the tired old angle of him being successful and foreign while American fans were a mixture of jealous and racist.
This past week on Smackdown Live, live from Manchester in the UK, Jinder Mahal had his best match of his title run if not his entire career. That shouldn’t, perhaps, be that much of a surprise considering it was AJ Styles who lined up against him, arguably one of, if not, the best in-ring performer in the WWE.
The irony here is that this excellent bout coincided with Mahal dropping his WWE title to AJ Styles and the latter replacing him in the main event at Survivor Series against Brock Lesnar.
So, is this the end of MahalMania, if you will? With Mahal still wrestling, it’s clear that, as he has said online, he wasn’t injured (although he has been suffering from shoulder injuries) nor has he failed a drugs test.
So, what prompted Vince McMahon to mix things up? For starters, Survivor Series in Houston isn’t yet sold out which suggests, although obviously doesn’t confirm, that there wasn’t too much interest in Brock Lesnar vs Jinder Mahal. Suggestions are that the decision wasn’t announced until the day before Smackdown so no one really knows whether or not the belt will find its way back around Mahal’s waist before Survivor Series, although if Styles is inserted to boost ticket sales then adding Mahal back to the mix wouldn’t create a great deal of goodwill in the crowd for Survivor Series.
The WWE certainly tried with Mahal. They pushed hard with him but, as stated earlier, neither his matches nor his promos up to main event level. AJ Styles vs. Brock Lesnar is a main event match and the sort of headliner that a PPV should be built around. If Styles vs. Lesnar now sees Survivor Series sell-out with a lot more interest in the show to boot, then that may indeed be the final nail in the coffin for MahalMania.
Without question, the WWE is the number 1 pro wrestling company in the world. Between television deals, marketing, production and, of course, the WWE network, it has to be ranked at the top. As we have seen over the past couple of years, however, all that glitters is not necessarily gold.
Ever since Cody Rhodes asked for and was granted his release from the company…we have seen more and more “superstars” ask for theirs as well. Whether it is Neville, Rusev and Lana, Jack Swagger etc, many more wrestlers are looking to get out of the corporate surroundings of the WWE. While the money is still good for the company, there are more wrestlers who are reportedly unhappy or feel burned out. Nia Jax asked to be taken off the road because she was allegedly exhausted while others have reported she hasn’t exactly been all that happy with the direction of her character.
The same just occurred on the European trip when both Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens were sent home for “disciplinary reasons.” The speculation is that both wrestlers have not been happy with the way their careers have been going as of late. The recently released Emma was very vocal backstage about how her career was being mishandled. Are these all isolated incidents or is there a much bigger issue?
Has Vince McMahon lost touch with the ever-evolving fan base? Is it time for fresh blood and a new voice take over the helm? While I am certainly not spelling doom for the company, I do feel it is time to start putting the wheels in motion for McMahon to step down and allow Triple H, Stephanie or even Shane run the day to day operations.
With a roster stacked and as talented as the WWE’s, there is no reason why they can’t push new talent the right way. While not every great indie wrestler will become a superstar with the company, you have to start really trying to develop others to greatness. Perhaps the biggest shot to the WWE happened this past week when Chris Jericho was announced to face Kenny Omega at New Japan’s Wrestle Kingdom 12 show in January.
Jericho has always been welcomed back to WWE after periods off and he has always returned. This time, he chose New Japan. Is this a sign of things to come or was it just a random opportunity he couldn’t pass up? One thing is for sure, the locker room is filled with more than a few unhappy and dissatisfied talents. While you can never make everyone happy all of the time, you have to make some of them happy at least the majority of time. It is time for a change.
Here’s something you probably won’t see every day, Japanese hardcore legend Atsushi Onita in front of Titan Towers.
Andre the Giant in front of a large mural of Sanford and Son because, why not?
Asuka….Nakamura…I guess what’s the difference right? Sigh.
Leva Bates aka Blue Pants in NXT dressed as the Sandman
This is actually happening.
Dolph Ziggler, I mean Nick Nemeth, when he was an amateur wrestler at Kent State University back in 2003.
Rapper DMX with a box of Booty O’s.
When you give zero f–ks who the boss is…..
All previous ‘This Week in Wrestling’ pieces can be read here.