Induction: Jinder Mahal, WWE Champion – The 2017 Gooker Award Winner (for real this time)

92 Submitted by on Thu, 18 January 2018, 20:00

It may have been the strangest long-term booking decision in WWE history. Jinder Mahal, career-long underneath guy, would win the WWE’s oldest and most prestigious title and hold it for nearly half a year.

Jinder Mahal, who had never once wrestled for any WWE title.

Jinder Mahal, who had never once won a match on pay-per-view.

Jinder Mahal, who once tapped out to the Brooklyn Brawler.

Jinder Mahal, whose career highlight to that point was being ringside for the WeeLC match.

Jinder Mahal becoming WWE Champion in 2017, or any other year, was unthinkable. Not “unthinkable” in the sense that, like nuclear war, it must never be considered lest it come true.

“Unthinkable” in the sense that it would never even be conceived of in the first place. True, like Noam Chomsky’s “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously,” the sentence, “Jinder Mahal wins the WWE title” made grammatical sense, but what it described was so far removed from all known human experience as to be unfathomable.


Jinder takes his lumps

Before winning the WWE title, the Punjabi-speaker had spent years Pun-jobbing to the stars (and everyone else), gaining his biggest fame as a member of Heath Slater’s 3 Man Band, during which time Jinder came out on the losing end of singles or tag matches nine times out of ten.

(Pictured: Jinder Mahal losing clean to El Torito)

Before returning to WWE in August of 2016, Jinder’s last victory had come on May 16th, 2014 over Brodus Clay, at a house show in Italy, when Clay was on his way out of the company.

Before that, Jinder had last had his hand raised on November 12th, 2013, when 3MB upset Titus O’Neill, Darren Young, and R-Truth on an episode of Superstars.

They lost a rematch the same night on Smackdown.

And when Mahal made his surprise return with Heath Slater in 2016 and beat the One-Man Band in an impromptu 14-second bout, it was a gag win, part of an ongoing comedy storyline where Heath Slater was left undrafted and desperate to sign with Raw or Smackdown.

Heath was so hard on his luck, even Jinder Mahal got signed before he did!

From there, Jinder lost to Neville in 3:05, Sami Zayn in 4:00, and Darren Young in 2:14.

He did manage to upset Jack Swagger in a remarkably heatless Raw match in September, debuting his new moniker, “The Man That Comes In Peace”…

…but in storyline, the loss was such an embarrassment to Swagger that he left for Smackdown the next night (then disappeared from that show, and WWE, shortly thereafter).

Jinder instantly disappeared to Superstars and Main Event, WWE’s D-Shows, to lose to Darren Young some more. One of those D-Shows, by the way, was cancelled more than a year ago, and you didn’t even notice.

You might have forgotten about Jinder until December, when he appeared with the rest of WWE’s super-geeks to be riffed on by Enzo Amore.

And because WWE finally counted and discovered that Rusev was only one person, Jinder was assigned as the Bulgarian Brute’s designated tag team partner to feud with Enzo & Cass. Jinder usually ended up taking the pinfall.

Still, when WWE held its Royal Rumble in January and did not rank Jinder Mahal among its top 30 contenders for a world title, not a single viewer wondered, “Where’s Jinder?”


A Jinder for the Gold

So how in the world did any of this lead to a Jinder Mahal WWE title reign? Well, my best guess would be that Vince McMahon was paying attention to Enzo & Cass’s January 30th pre-match promo on Jinder & Rusev. As usual, Enzo was given license to say whatever the hell he wanted, and on this night he really wanted to work in a Carly Simon reference.

Pointing out Jinder’s new, uh, vascularity, Amore sang a few bars of “You’re So ‘Vein’” before joking that with all those protruding blood vessels running every which way, Mahal’s body looked like a road map.

“Too bad you ain’t goin’ nowhere.”

Sure, yuk it up, Trash-Talker Skywalker, but Jinder would have the last laugh, and it would be at the expense of WWE’s viewers.

See, if there’s one thing Vince McMahon loves more than poop jokes, it’s big, muscular guys, even if they’re totally unexceptional in the ring or on the mic. In McMahon’s mind, by gettin’ swole, Mahal may have finally grabbed that brass ring that eludes so many WWE Superstars – even the ones fans actually care about!

Now, Jinder sure didn’t seem poised for the big time at the Wrestlemania pre-show, where fans must have figured he only lasted to the final two in the Andre Battle Royal to provide the NFL’s Rob Gronkowski with a living tackle dummy.

And after his match the following night with a returning Finn Balor where (before predictably losing in 2:45) Mahal managed to give the former Universal Champion a concussion, all Jinder seemed poised for was a pink slip.

But he managed to make it onto Smackdown the next night as part of the Superstar Shake-Up, where he did seem poised for a new role: celebrity punk-out victim. Jinder caught a Gronk drink to the face…

...en route to another loss to battle royal winner Mojo Rawley.

Thanks to said Shake-Up, though, Smackdown had recently lost much of its main event talent, including Ambrose, Miz, and Wyatt. Sure, US Champion Kevin Owens was brought over from Raw, but his first challenger was AJ Styles, tying up the only viable WWE title challenger left on the blue show.

That left Dolph Ziggler to duke it out with five guys for a title shot who had never even come close to the WWE title…

…including, of all people, resident punchline Jinder Mahal, who had never been in contention for any championship, let alone Randy Orton’s WWE title.

But thanks to his new allies the Bollywood Boys and their ability to be two extra people, Jinder won the six-way match to face Randy Orton for the WWE title at Backlash.

While Renee Young attempted to keep a straight face and interview WWE’s most unlikely #1 contender…

…champion Randy Orton interrupted the proceedings to cut a promo… on Bray Wyatt, whom he would face in the infamous House of Horrors match. Mahal stood around like an idiot until Wyatt appeared on the Tron, allowing Mahal to slip out of the segment unnoticed.

So why, the fans wondered, had an enhancement talent like Jinder Mahal been positioned out of the blue to challenge a 13-time world champion for his title? Well, besides Jinder being fairly tall and ripped to shreds, he was also Indian, albeit born and raised in Canada.

With WWE planning a tour of India for September that year…

…and with someone having explained to Vince that Jinder would be a bigger draw than Tatanka was on their ’96 Indian tour, the Modern-Day Maharaja’s ticket to the top had been stamped. All he had to do was see the ticket-taker and hold on to his stub. Or something. Look, it’s not the best analogy, but I’m not going to hammer it home for the next 170 days to try to make it work.

Mahal cost Orton the non-title House of Horrors match, then stole his belt on Smackdown, leading to this shocking, out-of-context photo that by all rights should have been passed on for future generations to puzzle over…

 …much like this photo of Diana Smith holding the WWF title. But Jinder refused to be relegated to a minor curiosity in the history of the WWE title. Instead, he’d live on as a major curiosity in the history of the WWE title.

Randy and Jinder met at Backlash, where Mahal, demonstrating precisely how little forethought had gone into his main event push, entered the ring with his name poorly cropped on the Titantron in good old pre-loaded Papyrus font (which isn’t even supposed to be Indian, but Egyptian).

I feel like this entrance logo would have been more appropriate.

Thanks to extensive interference by the Bollywood Boys (now known as the Singh Brothers)…

…which hilariously sidetracked Randy Orton…

…Jinder surprised Randy with his new finisher, the Khallas, to make history as only the 6th Canadian to win the WWE championship.

And how did the live audience react to the new champion? After WWE pulled the cameras off this guy laughing, we saw that the WWE Universe was in absolute shock.


A Papyrus champion

It was the beginning of a new era for WWE: no longer would it cater to an exclusively American or Western audience. It was time for a champion who could connect with the 1.3 billion people of India. True, John Cena could speak a little Punjabi, but he wasn’t wrestling full-time anymore, so it was up to Jinder to drive up WWE Network subscriptions in India.

And the WWE Network was the only place those 1.3 billion Indians could watch Mahal defend his title against Randy Orton at Money in the Bank… except for on free TV, where all of WWE’s so-called pay-per-views also aired in India.

The title he would be defending, by the way, simply said, “Jinder Mahal”, again in Papyrus font, on the custom logo plates, as WWE had yet to come up with any marketable images for the new champion.

At MITB, Jinder defeated Randy Orton again, surviving an RKO thanks to the blatant interference of  the Singh Brothers…

…whom Randy Orton tossed around like rag dolls for four minutes.

This ungodly delay allowed Jinder to recover and hit the Khallas to beat Orton in his hometown…

…in front of his dad…

…on Father’s Day. That’s how hard WWE was pushing for Jinder to be its next international star, domestic audience be damned.

This travesty paved the way for another, much greater travesty – the return of the Punjabi Prison match…

…and in honor of this occasion, the WWE Champion got a new T-shirt – his first-ever piece of merchandise.

As expected, the Punjabi Prison match was a flop. India’s answer to the Kennel From Hell had long ago proved needlessly complicated, what with its four doggy-doors and sixty-second countdowns that never affected the outcome of the match…

…but the 2017 revival managed to top both previous bouts through sheer invisibility. As if two layers of “steel-reinforced bamboo” weren’t enough to cut off the live audience from the action…

…WWE couldn’t even be bothered to display the in-ring action on their expensive new Titantron. For much of the match, fans in attendance couldn’t see what the hell was even happening — pardon my language, the WWE Universe couldn’t witness what the hell was even transpiring…

…but they never once forgot that the pay-per-view was called Battleground, just in case they couldn’t read the name of the event listed on their expensive tickets.

Once again, the Singh Brothers were the real MVPs, interjecting themselves into the match first by emerging from under the ring…

…then by crawling through the cage bars to cut off Randy from escaping over the big cage wall. See, the Singh Brothers were so small that they didn’t even need to scale the Punjabi Prison to escape it…

…but then again, so was The Viper, who himself could have slithered out through the gaps in the cage like some sort of animal.

Once again, a Singh Brother took the bump of the night, taking the big plunge off the cage through the table.

As Randy looked to bring the match to a merciful end, Great Khali’s music hit. The giant from Punjab very gradually made his way to the ring, shook the cage, and choked Randy through the bars…

…allowing the Maharaja to escape and become the first Indian to ever win a Punjabi Prison match. The much more popular Great Khali got a photo op with the WWE title and was never seen again.

And Mahal, with not a single major victory to his name without heavy interference from 2-3 other wrestlers, marched on to Summerslam…

…or, as Jerry Lawler thought he said, “Summerslam, bitch.”


Summerslam, bitch

At Summerslam, the WWE title match would pit Jinder Mahal against Shinsuke Nakamura in a battle of two top draws in Asia (except for Jinder).

In an attempt to garner heat for the Modern Day Maharaja, WWE put on an over-the-top celebration of India’s Independence Day, perhaps forgetting that Indian independence was Mahatma Gandhi’s life’s work.

In the build-up to the match, WWE released a training video for Mahal, where Jinder explained his work-out techniques. I’m sure he did work out really hard. I’m sure he watched what he ate, too. But that wasn’t enough to quell the rumors floating around about the origin of his new, veiny physique…

…or the acne on his chest, shoulders, and back…

…or the strange fatty growths in his pectorals that one couldn’t help but notice every single time once they’d been pointed out.

But I’m no doctor. All I know is that at Summerslam, the world’s most jacked-up Lionel Richie…

…put away Shinsuke Nakamura with yet more interference from the Singh Brothers and an alleged Khallas.

The Mahal-Nakamura feud continued into the Hell in a Cell event thanks to three weeks in a row of horribly racist promos by Jinder.

The Maharaja’s new shtick was to plaster unflattering pictures of his opponent’s mug on the Tron and say, Hey, let’s laugh at this silly Oriental’s goofy-looking face!

And what was the point of these gags, Mr. Miyagi jokes, and garbled imitations? To prove that it was Americans who were truly racist. See, Jinder was only saying what people were already thinking. Racist people, specifically.

So when Jinder joked that Shinsuke and his countrymen “feast on feline and dine on dolphin” like desperately hungry Road Warriors…

…and sent shockwaves throughout the IWC (International Whaling Commission), he was just trying to warn Shinsuke that winning the title would make him the butt of more racist jokes, this time from the American fans.

By now, September had come and gone, and WWE had yet to even formally announce any Indian tour, let alone travel there. But lo and behold, just days before Hell in a Cell, WWE confirmed the much-anticipated tour for December.

Well, calling it a “tour” would be generous; instead, WWE would put on two shows in New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium.

With Jinder and the Singhs headed to India just days after the upcoming PPV title defense to promote the events, fans knew Mahal wouldn’t be heading to the subcontinent without his title in tow.

Jinder won yet another unspectacular bout, this time with slightly less Singh involvement than usual.


Jinder is a social construct

By this point, Jinder had been champion for four and a half months and looked to be so until at least the end of the year. This, despite Mahal never having established any real character and garnering only apathy on the mic as well as in the ring. In his promos, all we learned was that Jinder spoke Punjabi, liked India, and didn’t much care for American crowds.

Fans may have initially balked at Bradshaw getting a main event push in 2004, but after one promo, they could at least tell you what the JBL character was.

But good luck trying to explain what a Modern-Day Maharaja was supposed to be, or what defining characteristics set him apart from the Jinder Mahal of old, or why Americans should hate him but Indians should love him. Just listen to the aforementioned JBL struggle to convey to the home audience what exactly Jinder Mahal was all about:

1.3 billion people, he feels that in his country he has become what India represents.

Got that? Jinder feels he is what India represents. Or else he represents what India is. Or perhaps he only symbolizes what India represents that its people are. But metaphorically.

As far as anyone could tell, Jinder was just a generic, Bella Swan-like audience avatar upon whom each of the highly-touted 1.3 billion people of India could project whatever traits they saw in themselves. 


Jinder re-assignment

The next two months looked to be big for Jinder, who not only was slated to twice defend his WWE title in India against the shamelessly self-interested, back-stabbing prizefighter Kevin Owens (you know, a heel character), but who also dared to challenge the Beast, the Conqueror, the unstoppable Brock Lesnar to a champion vs. champion bout at Survivor Series.

It was a mis-match that no one wanted to pay to see, especially with no titles at stake. Paul Heyman verbally cut the WWE Champion down to size in a single promo, calling Mahal a “consolation prize champion” for the talent-depleted Smackdown program who wasn’t even in the league of Brock’s typical challengers.

And things only got worse for Jinder from there. He lost his title to a hot AJ Styles, despite the usual interference by the Singhs…

…got left off Survivor Series to the dismay of no one…

…and saw his much-anticipated Indian “homecoming” cut down to a single show due to poor ticket sales in the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the world. Keep in mind that WWE had managed a two-night run in the same arena about two years earlier; it appeared as if putting Jinder on top had actually hurt business in India.

And just so no one could misinterpret Mahal’s recent championship setback as an opportunity for the Maharaja to come back stronger than ever and win the title back in his fatherland, new WWE Champion AJ Styles would not even be coming to India.

Instead, Jinder would face Triple H with no titles at stake in what would promise to be The Game’s most recent match of all time.

And so, on December 9th, as the big payoff to his unprecedentedly arbitrary eight-month main event push, Jinder Mahal stepped into the ring in front of an arena 70% full of his fellow Indians…

…squared off against Triple H…

…and lost. And with that, WWE Network wrapped up their third and most ambitious season of Swerved yet.

Months after thirteen-time world champion Randy Orton jobbed on three consecutive pay-per-views to initially put over Mahal, Triple H couldn’t be bothered to let the “hometown” kid get a single non-televised win over him.

Jeez, even Hulk Hogan would (and did) put over Jacques Rougeau in Montreal if he paid him enough.

But hey, The Game had to stay looking strong for all those future India tours he’d work in the coming decades.

And as for Jinder Mahal? He was just happy to be there, bowing to the COO in gratitude.

With the India show in the can, and with WWE demonstrating its unwillingness to put Jinder over in the one match he absolutely had to win, what chance did Mahal have of winning the title back from AJ Styles at Clash of Champions, especially wh-


Jinder’s world championship days look to be behind him, but there are three feats he accomplished in 2017 that no one will ever be able to take away from him:

He became the fiftieth man to win the WWE Championship…

…he made wrestling fans wonder for the first time why Joey Abs never got a world title run, and most importantly…

…he captured the 2017 Gooker Award.

Congratulations, Jinder!

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Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He also runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws. Follow him on Twitter @Art0Donnell. Email at:
92 Responses to "Induction: Jinder Mahal, WWE Champion – The 2017 Gooker Award Winner (for real this time)"
  1. Unknown says:

    Jeez, Triple H, you couldn’t put over Jinder in his home country (well, technically, it’s actually Canada, but still)?!? Even the Undertaker, on his way to winning the World Title (for all of five days) and when he was beating wrestlers left, right, and center, let Tito Santana beat him in Spain (Tito, interestingly enough, was born in Mission, Texas). And this was at a point when the Undertaker was unstoppable…

  2. Autrach Sejanoz says:

    Actually, if I remember correctly, Khali came out to Jinder’s music, because reportedly the prodcution guys couldn’t find Khali’s original music.
    If true, I think they could’ve been forgiven for just playing a Youtube version over the speakers.

  3. Garrett says:

    This whole induction was a joke. Jinder Mahal is a talented man and has really improved from his younger days and I mean that both physically, skill wise and microphone wise. I know this was a voting induction, but come on don’t make me laugh like this. Also Roman Reigns is amazing and sad how the WWE Universe treats him. So there.

    • Hulk6785 says:

      Not sure if you’re being serious.

    • robert ewing says:

      apparently garrett does not have a sense of humor

      • Jimbob Jones says:

        His lack of taste is more problematic…

        • Guest says:

          It’s not like he said Santino was so great he should’ve been WWE Champion. Like some people actually entertained back when he somehow wound in one of the Elimination Chamber matches.

    • Adam says:

      “and has really improved from his younger days”

      It would have been impossible for him to get any worse, so yeah.

      • The Dog says:

        Not true, Adam! He could get worse. He could kill an opponent through sheer wrestling incompetence.

        • Adam says:

          Okay, true. I’ll give him credit for not Stevie Richards’ing anyo… oh. Finn’s concussion. Guess “didn’t kill anybody” really is the bar is Jinder.

        • Guest says:

          Like Randy Orton dropping one of the Singh brothers on announce table on his head? or Nakamura doing the same to Cena?

    • JustAGuyGuy says:

      …guys I could’ve swore Road Dogg’s middle name was “Girard”

    • Ralphus says:

      Obvious troll is obvious

    • Kev says:

      I had no problem at all with them giving Jinder a proper push that built him up, got him heat and credibility and invested in him for the future. Giving him wins, developing his character, getting a US Title run, maybe even a future Money in the Bank cash-in against a beloved babyface to complete his transition into one of Smackdown’s top heels.

      Of course we all know that’s not how it went down. What a waste.

  4. The Lunatic Binge says:

    This entire thing was a complete waste of time. Rowdy Roddy Piper. Jake The Snake. Shelton Benjamin. Ted Dibiase. Scott Hall. William Regal. None of these guys ever became WWE Champion. Jinder fucking Mahal did. He became world champion before Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe. Are you serious. I demand restitution

    • Guest says:

      …..I think it’s interesting you take issue with Jake or Scott never winning the title considering both had substance abuse problems those other guys had this misfortune of being in the company at bad times.

  5. Rob Brown says:

    “Look, it’s not the best analogy, but I’m not going to hammer it home for the next 170 days to try to make it work.”

    I GUFFAWED at that part!

  6. Brownie_the_3rd says:

    So I see I wasn’t the only person to start laughing when he won the title

  7. The Doctor of Style says:

    Thorough & well-done induction, Art!

    When it comes to a sentence never heard in history, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie did Chomsky one better: “Hold the newsreader’s nose squarely, waiter, or friendly milk will countermand my trousers”.

  8. Alexandru says:

    Glad this won. Fact is, this was a horrendous decision by WWE only reason he won it was because of condescending pandering to India not because he’s good/over. He seems like a nice guy and all but he had about as much business as I do for holding the top title. Not to mention the ratings and house show numbers declined during his reign that’s not a coincidence

  9. Ze Frenchie says:

    I guess you could call a WWE Champion who, deep down, is really a jobber a “Trans-Jinder”.

  10. Hulk6785 says:

    An 8-month reign for a tour of India that turned into just 2 shows, and then 1 and saw Jinder Mahal losing the title before said show where he lost to Triple H. What a waste.

    • Christopher Haydu says:

      I feel like somebody needs to defend WWE on this one. I don’t think it was a bad idea for Jinder to get the belt. It’s a fact that WWE had and still has a huge Twitter following in India. The fans are there. Maybe Jinder Mahal wasn’t the right guy to sell to Indian fans because he wasn’t already a star, but if they had another Indian wrestler in the company, who knows? I think Jinder’s biggest problem was how he was booked. If he was on Raw instead of SmackDown, wasn’t turned heel and didn’t cut the racist promos, this run could’ve been a lot better. We also can’t forget that the ticket prices in New Delhi were said to be “WrestleMania-like,” and even if they didn’t job Jinder to Triple H, it’s not like WWE was going to be touring India every month. So, that Indian market only has so high of a ceiling.

      In summary, for those reasons, I’d say that WWE had a good idea in elevating Jinder Mahal, but like with many of their ideas, it completely fell apart in booking and execution, neither of which is Jinder Mahal’s fault.

      • Thomas Moffatt says:

        They have a couple of Indian wrestlers in development who are no way ready for a push so one of them will win a big title at some point next year…

      • Jimbob Jones says:

        If they’d actually spent time to build Jinder up over a period of time, maybe it wouldn’t have been terrible.

        But to pretty much throw the belt on him nearly out of the blue without him being proven, and keep it on him despite him sucking? In no way whatsoever should anyone defend WWE for that crap.

  11. Mister Forth says:

    The whole thing was painful. Whoever thought this was a good idea is obviously too old to oversee the promotion.

  12. Brian Lichner says:

    Absolutely incredible induction. Great writing.

    Bonus Fun Fact: in addition to being the most often bad free font of all time, Papyrus was also the title logo font and all subtitles for the blue aliens in James Cameron’s Avatar.

  13. M says:

    The saddest thing was that Hunter got a bigger reaction than Jinder in their match, proving that nobody in India cared about him

  14. Sawney says:

    As an Indian, I’m just relieved that one of us won the title without ever being subjected to a Snake Charmer gimmick.

    Now all we need is for WWE to use one of India’s many genuinely excellent wrestlers, instead of whatever pectorally-advanced guys they’ve currently got on the roster.

    • IC says:

      Wait are you serious?
      They did the snake charmer thing when Jinder fought Santino.
      Here you go:

      • Sawney says:

        Damn, I assumed they’d stop with that racist shit now that they were marketing to India. More fool me, I guess.

        • Maverick MoPete says:

          To be fair, this was back in the days when Jinder was part of 3MB and thus wasn’t getting pushed at all. They didn’t do any “snake charming” or bits like that once he started getting pushed.

  15. Sawney says:

    Still, at least he beat up Randy Orton, so that was nice.

    (Less nice is that he edged out more deserving wrestlers like Harper and Rowan, but that’s WWE for you.)

    • Ralphus says:

      You needed to stop your sentence at “Harper”

    • Guest says:

      Not his fault he edged out Harper blame WWE for weirdly insisting that battle royal that Harper won was a draw eventhough AJ hit the floor before Harper did….all so he could challenge Orton and lose anyway.

  16. Josh Owens says:

    I was happy for him and that was it. IMO Prison Match sucked but coulda been worse.

  17. Michael says:

    I didn’t think we were going to get the Gooker winner that quick. I was thinking we were getting the runner up first but then I saw it was the Orton Wyatt feud. I then understood why.

    As far as Jinder goes, it’s should’ve been Rusev in his spot. We would’ve lost Rusev Day in the process but he was at least built to be a believable contender in the past few years.

  18. #OPC says:

    They could at least made the guy interesting, they didn’t even do that.

  19. SaviorGabriel says:

    You could’ve just posted that picture of Jindar Mahal tapping out to the Brooklyn Brawler, and called it the day. But I’m glad this got proper documentation. A prime example of how not to push someone. Don’t bother with the Jobber.

  20. Si says:

    Three things that gets underreported about this:

    – the Styles loss came the week after WWE quarterly financials were published revealing only a tiny increase in income from the Indian sub-continent since Jinder claimed the belt;

    – it’s agreed the push was mostly to try and convert Jinder’s Indian online following into viewing figures and subscriptions, yet two matches from his original run have more YouTube views than anything from his title reign – as does Khali’s cameo, which doesn’t feature Mahal in the thumbnail or title;

    – the Indian crowd booed him. Kayfabe is alive and well in Asia!

    • Alucard says:

      Jinder is sure a nice guy but how can Indian audience not boo his character when right from his debut, he has been portrayed as a stereotypical cowardly jobber. Mahal has been a loser all his entire career then all of a sudden, he’s fighting for a WWE title in P.P.V main event and wins it.

      WWE could have used this to turn into a inspirational story of how a jobber overcame all odds with power of positivity and bodybuilding and became The Champ. But they as usual turned him into stereotypical foreign heel. Then they had him cut those promos where they turned him into a America-hater and called everyone racists. Then they outdid themselves by having him cut weeks of racist promos on a Japanese Legend.

      Worse of it all is that he remained an average wrestler with average skills who was getting pushed over the expense of more talented. Every match ended with him being winning was due Singh Bros interfering or other heel tactics. Many Indians just saw him as a cheater.

      Most younger people here dislike stereotypical stuff. It sure helps in getting cheap pop but hurts in the long run. Jinder’s Maharaja shtick, him talking in Punjabi to irk the live audience (his native language according to WWE) which is just one of the many languages spoken in India, that Taj Mahal symbol, that over-the-top Indian celebration that brought back bad memories of Khali’s Indian celebration. It never worked with Hollywood movies and it sure didn’t work with WWE. WWE hailed him as a hero and representation of his billion people of India when he has never even visited India before the tour. How can WWE expect Jinder to be cheered after all this stuff in his ‘hometown’ . Foreign Heel sure work if they are portrayed by someone charismatic and talented and Jinder was none of it.

      If WWE were so high on putting the Title on him, couldn’t they had first turned him into a strong mid-carder, put IC belt on him, have him working in some main events with top-carders, wait for a year and then put the World title on him instead of him just coming outta nowhere to become WWE champion. Even Kane and Shield got more cheers than him on Indian tour.

      If you thought this comment was too long, wait till you read what I write in my language of Punjabi!

    • Adam says:

      I expect the crowd booed him for how little work WWE put into it. Punjab’s one of the smallest states in India and Punjabi’s spoken by less than 4% of the country’s population – they booked him to have only regional appeal, on the other side of the country from where the show was held.

      Random writer: “Vince, maybe he should speak Hindi and-”
      VKM: “Nope! He needs to be from the Punjab so we can have another Punjabi Prison match! EVERYONE loved those. Why else are we even having a Redskin be champion?”
      Steph: “… Wrong Indians, dad. And because YouTube.”
      VKM: “See, Stephanie agrees! Prison Match!”
      Random Writer’s thoughts: “Some days, I wish I were working for TN… Impa… Global Fo… whatever it is this week, instead.”

  21. Roy D'Silva says:

    This was clear and present bull. India doesn’t have the number of marks to justify this storyline. India doesn’t have the number of kid-fans to justify this storyline. Hell, people with paying power for WWE Network and those hilariously overpriced tickets (remember, people, India is a ‘developing country’) have no interest in WWE – even academic. WWE Superstars don’t like travelling to India. The weather’s SOB different from anywhere they’ve been in the world – we aren’t the best when it comes to provide security for an event that allows for such a open-sided-on-four-sides interaction with celebs. As an Indian, I simply don’t know why Jinder wore the belt.

  22. Raging_Demons says:

    Jinder’s Engorged Nipple! GAH~!

    Thanks a lot for scarring me Art~

  23. Jay says:

    I feel like this is the comeuppance of the WWE for Tiger Ali Singh not getting over like Vince expected him to 20 years ago.

  24. Cpt SuckerPunch says:

    Yeah…This whole jinder run was bad. The biggest gripe for me is cos of this horrible title run, bray was robbed of his much deserved gooker win, this was his year damnit!

    • Captain Obvious says:

      Ummm……you do know that Bray did win the WWE Title early last year and his title run was just as undeserving as Mahal’s IMO.

      I thought this year WWE was going to pull the trigger and have all 3 former members of 3MB become champions on three different brands. i.e. Jinder Mahal wins WWE Title in May for SmackDown. Drew McIntyre returns and wins NXT Title in August for NXT. The only thing left was for Heath Slater, who had been curiously drafted over to RAW, by nothing short of a miracle defeat Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title. Paul Heyman would’ve had a stroke if that happened.

      • Darryl Stewart says:

        I think you misread Cpt. Sucker Punch’s post–CSP said they thought Bray would have won the Gooker this year if not for Jinder.

        I wonder though–if the Jinder thing hadn’t happened, would Bray have held the belt longer?

      • Guest says:

        With him and Rhyno already having been tag champions that would’ve been unnecessary.

  25. JSWH says:

    I loved Jinder as champion. As a wrestling fan, I understand that it was rather sudden and odd. As someone who rarely gets to see someone of similar heritage hold the WWE Championship, it was everything to me. I thought he did well, and I am proud of him.

    • dennett316 says:

      You thought he did well? In what way? He was stiff and ungodly boring in the ring, and generic and bland on the mic. He had less charisma than my left butt cheek, and certainly less charisma than Great Khali, who completely showed the guy up despite being even MORE stiff.

      I get liking that someone with your heritage made it to the top of the company, but wouldn’t it’d have been better if he was good and actually earned his way up there instead of being cynically positioned due to the owner’s love of jacked physiques?

      • Guest says:

        “there instead of being cynically positioned due to the owner’s love of jacked physiques?”

        Your comment would be taken seriously if the last few champions hadn’t been Brock Lesnar a guy who once tested positive for steroids and was allowed to work one of WWE’s biggest PPV’s while three other talents had been suspended for the same issues leading up to it, and Randy Orton a guy whose been accused of taking steroids and being given cover over it.

        “He was stiff and ungodly boring in the ring, and generic and bland on the mic. He had less charisma than my left butt cheek,”

        So basically a set of problems that almost a 3rd of the roster including the female portion has?

      • 80s Guy says:

        I’m ‘Murican and I didn’t mind Jinder as champ. In fact, I kind of felt like he did fine in the passion dept and running with the ball going from nobody to somebody.

        I think the problem was in the execution and the reason behind it. And that actually falls on the people in charge, the McEgoleys, not Mahal.

        It was much more satisfying than seeing Roman being handed everything on a damn silver platter after not improving in any way, mic, in ring, or in crowd support, in the span of 4 fn years time.

  26. Jerry says:

    WWE production meeting after Wrestlemania:
    “Alright, so we have a champion on Raw, who shows up every two months, never wrestles on TV and will hold this title for one full year. How on earth can we make our audience realize, that the Universal Title is still more important than whatever that thing on Smackdown is???”

  27. JH says:

    The right candidate won. In his 170 days as champion, Jinder couldn’t cut a single good promo to save his life, and he won only ONE match clean, which was against Tye Dillinger, the punching bag of SmackDown’s roster. Even Erick Rowan would have been a better choice to face Orton from that 6-man match.

    • Guest says:

      That’s no different than Seth Rollin’s run with the Raw title difference being no one craps on that for rightfully being garbarge.

  28. Dylan says:

    Jinder was bad, but Gooker Award bad? Not even close. This was the year WWE tried to pass of Pumpkin Demon vs Bray in Drag as something fans would want to watch. That was the type of thing that made people laugh at you for being a wrestling fan.

    • Time Lord Soundwave says:

      And had that match actually taken place, it might have won. Thank God for meningitis.

      What an odd sentence.

      • Hulk6785 says:

        Yeah, I’m pretty sure the only reason the Wyatt-Balor feud didn’t win was because that Sister Abigail match didn’t happen.

        • oknazevad says:

          We fans are so very lucky we didn’t have to sit through that match, instead we got to see AJ Styles get thrown into a match against Finn Balor without any real prep time after an 18-hour flight with no sleep. That they proceeded to have, in my opinion, 5-star match, well, AJ lives up to his nickname a lot.

  29. Anthony says:

    I hope Jinder Mahal himself reads this!

  30. Flexi says:

    I hope All things Bray Wyatt in 2017 get a special induction. It’s just too good to pass.

  31. Segaz says:

    I think some things looked interesting such as the ott indian celebration , but Jinder didn’t have the talent to pull it off

  32. NMMan says:

    I wholeheartedly second the suggestion of Bray Wyatt’s entire 2017 getting its own induction.

  33. Lee W says:

    Sadly enough as good as Jinder Mahal is (he is a damn good talent) you guys weren’t wrong to nominate and award him the Gooker, but funnily enough, I didn’t vote year because 2017 was a pretty good year for WWE, I stopped with TNA when they managed to make a PPV main event match between Sting and Rob Van Dam look even worse than the rubbish match between Goldberg and Brock Lxesnar at WrestleMania XX

    • dennett316 says:

      If Jinder Mahal is a “damn good talent”, then we need to create a new superlatives scale in order to describe an actual great talent like AJ Styles.
      I’m sorry, Mahal is dirt average, at best.

      • Adam says:

        Something like… Phenomenal?

        • Lee W says:

          Yes, my comment may have gone down a bit wrong but I’m still trying to figure out who AJ Styles is ripping off worse in terms of being called “phenomenal” (phenom in WWE) Jimmy Snuka or The Undertaker?

  34. It's Lori Loud! She's the leader of M.A.S.K.! says:

    I wonder if Jinder would have won the Gooker if he was the Universal champion (a championship belt that dates all the way back to Finn Balor) instead of the WWE champion (a championship belt that dates all the way back to Buddy Rogers when it was known as the WWWF Title).

    • CP says:

      What difference does it make? Shite booking is shite booking.

      • Justin Henry Is Overrated says:

        “What difference does it make? Shite booking is shite booking.”

        Oh, I don’t know, maybe because NOBODY GIVES A HOOT ABOUT THE UNIVERSAL TITLE when compared to Buddy, Bruno, Hulk, Steve and Rock’s belt!!!

        With that being said, if Bray-Randy beat out UNIVERSAL champion Jinder, it wouldn’t be by much.

        Now take your spam comments to someone who actually deserves it like Brian Zane!

        • CP says:

          So what exactly are you trying to say? That the shitty booking of Jinder as champion would somehow be excusable if he was on Raw? What planet do you live on?

          • Justin Henry Is Overrated says:

            “So what exactly are you trying to say? That the shitty booking of Jinder as champion would somehow be excusable if he was on Raw?”

            Because NOBODY gives a bleep about the UNIVERSAL title compared to the LEGENDARY WWE Title you stupid bleep! And you didn’t have poor eyesight what I said was…

            “With that being said, if Bray-Randy beat out UNIVERSAL champion Jinder, it WOULDN’T BE BY MUCH.”

            Translation: UNIVERSAL champion Jinder still probably would have won, but it would be a lot closer with Bray-Randy than you think instead of WWE Heavyweight champion Jinder beating out Bray-Randy by 5%! You must have been dropped on your head when you were a tot!

            “What planet do you live on?”

            The fact that you would ask such a question proves my previous sentence correctly. If only it was you instead of David Bowie in 2016…

            • oknazevad says:


              No, seriously, that is the reaction of a mark who thinks that title histories really matter, as though they actually represent someone beating someone else in legitimate competition.

              The only reason the top title on SmackDown is the WWE Championship instead of the Universal Championship is because it was scripted that way when he brand split was re-introduced. Could have easily happened the other way, wouldn’t make a damn lick of difference, as the only difference between the two is that one top title of SmackDown, the other the top title of Raw. There is no greater prestige of one over the other.

              • Justin Henry Is Overrated says:


                No, seriously, that is the reaction of a mark who thinks that title histories really matter, as though they actually represent someone beating someone else in legitimate competition.”

                And this is a reaction from a person who should of been on the planes that crashed into the towers in 2001! Especially, one with a name as brain dead as Oknazevad!

                Let me repeat this again…

                Universal champion Jinder STILL PROBABLY WOULD HAVE WON ANYWAY, but Bray-Randy probably WOULD HAVE FINISHED A LOT CLOSER THAN YOU THINK instead of LOSING BY A LOT to WWE champion Jinder!

                • It's Lori Loud! She's the leader of M.A.S.K.! says:

                  Boy, Justin Henry Is Overrated you sure are TRIGGERED…not that I blame you.

                  Idiots like CP and especially Oknazevad are no better than the retards who defend Jinder’s push.

                  You also got to remember, the Brand Split will most definitely be dead LONG TERM. And when the Brand Split dies, so does the Universal Title. See the eventual death of the World Heavyweight Title aka the WCW Title (after the death of the first Brand Split) whether Vince Jr. wants to admit it or not!

                  And if Jinder was the Universal champion all this time instead of holding on to Buddy’s old belt, I too would have NOT voted for Jinder. I would have voted for poor Bayley Ave. (I’ll let you figure out why I’m calling her Avenue) instead.

  35. KatieVictoriasSecret says:

    A hilarious induction (the chapter breaks slayed me!).

    The sad thing about Jinder is that loser-becomes underdog- becomes champ is a great idea for a storyline but the company never bothered to play the proper storyline beats.

  36. Jerichoholic Ninja says:

    People like to take shots at Bret Hart and say he took the WWE Title too seriously.

    Well thanks a lot people. This is what happens when you don’t take the title seriously.

    I remember there were some people (idiots) saying they were genuinely excited for his title run. Well, congratulations, I hope you enjoyed all those great Jinder matches and promos.

    Yes, I’ve been waiting a while to do that rant.

  37. Big Daddy Strong says:

    I don’t fault WWE for trying it. It was smart business. trying to increase sales in India… a guy of Indan descent….he’d transformed his body and looked impressive physically. But this is WWE and they always fumble the ball.

    The mistake wasn’t in making Jinder the champion. The mistake was not booking it properly. They had an honest to God OMG moment when Jinder pinned Orton. They should have had Bray interfere instead of the Singhs and made Jinder babyface.

    And even if he didnt live up to the chance WWE could have at least been able to claim how unpredictable it was. Anything can happen right? They should have used the chance to make Jinder out as a hero. A guy who was a jobber then came back and shocked the world. They could have made a bigger deal about that aspect of the story but instead they went straight into the anti-American racism claiming heel.

    He would have been able to get away with being a boring babyface for a little while whereas the heel has more expectations on them to be more compelling. And having him return to India as an underdog hero instead of a stereotype may have helped their cause a little more.

    So this is on the WWE more than anything. It just shows how little effort they put into the actual product.

  38. Guest says:

    “…in front of his dad…”

    Whose head looks like it was photoshopped onto someone else’s body.

    “but who also dared to challenge the Beast, the Conqueror, the unstoppable Brock Lesnar to a champion vs. champion bout at Survivor Series”.

    A guy who you know has been booked as a heel since he came back to the company back in 2013 or whenever?

    “And things only got worse for Jinder from there. He lost his title to a hot AJ Styles, despite the usual interference by the Singhs…”

    So hot he lost a battle royale match (that was intended to have a double elimination finish) to challenge Orton for the title (which would turn into a singles match between him and Harper to make up for that botch) and then lost the title match with Orton anyway, before being given the U.S. title and trading it back and forth with Kevin Steen (in a weak feud that included botching the end of their title match at Backlash) with AJ eventually dropping the U.S. title to Corbin (a guy whose been doing horribly pretty much for the entire year) before being given a shot for the Smackdown title (on a non PPV match) and since then has been thrown into the middle of Shane McMahon’s feud with Steen and Zayn (who have pinned him in the last few weeks).

    That guy is hot?

  39. Shockwave says:

    On January 30th, the people of Whoville would say, Vince McMahon’s penis grew three sizes that day.

  40. Conquistador #3 says:

    People complain that WWE doesn’t push new talent, but look what happens when they do. No wonder they’re terrified to take the title off Brock when this is what you can expect. Personally, I thought Jinder winning the title was one of the best surprises WWE pulled off last year.

  41. Guest says:

    Someone told me that the Jinder push was more forced than Jeff Jarrett’s push in 2000 WCW because Jarrett was always an IC/US title level guy prior to that.

  42. Aiooty says:

    In my opinion the Jinder Mahal experiment COULD have worked had they actually built him up and gave him an actual character. Have him come back after a “spiritual crisis” with the Khallas and squash jobbers and immediately establish his alliance with the Singh Brothers and cementing him as changed, more focused and more dangerous than ever before. Have the commentators say things like “thos is no longer the Jinder Mahal we used to know, he is a completely changed man” BEFORE making him the number one contender, so by the time he wins, he can be legitimately taken seriously as a threat and as a champion. He is intimidating after all and now has the looks (although how he got them is debatable)

  43. Maverick MoPete says:

    This induction should be required reading for anyone who ever wants to become a Booker.

    It’s a case study in how badly hot-shotting someone into a title angle can backfire terribly.

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