If you watched Smackdown Live this week, you may have been surprised to know that Jinder Mahal is now the number one contender for the WWE Championship. He is set to face Randy Orton at the next Smackdown Live PPV called Backlash. With that being said, the WWE has to book his character the right way with today's landscape.
I know Randy Orton is set to defend his title against Bray Wyatt at Payback, although it's expected Orton will retain the title. It's highly unlikely WWE is going to book Bray Wyatt vs. Jinder Mahal as the company rarely schedules two heels to face one another in a match.
Anyway, the reason WWE has to book Jinder Mahal's main event push carefully is to make sure the company and its fans don't come across as being racist. The WWE historically has booked any foreigner to look bad while an American babyface comes across as the ultimate hero. This ancient trope might not sit well in today's diverse landscape.
Jinder Mahal is Indian and was born in Canada. The WWE needs to find a way to make him look like a legit heel without forcing the fans to boo him just because he's Indian. This may be difficult considering he will also be paired up with The Bollywood Boyz as his backup.
Story continues below....
The best way to book him is to make him look like a threat the same way they are doing with Braun Strowman. This might be hard to do since he's been booked to lose for the last couple of months/years, but it can be done. It just won't feel right if WWE makes him a heel just because he wasn't born in the USA. He played a heel in 3MB, but that was due to the team being hopeless (even though they were funny).
Mahal himself did say on Talking Smack that he is the new "American Dream" and Smackdown Live has been advertised as the "Land of Opportunity". In hindsight, Mahal should actually be the babyface in this scenario since he's the ultimate underdog. The man has been booked as a jobber for many years and now suddenly is on the main event scene. Randy Orton on the other hand doesn't need support from the fans since he's been booked heavily ever since he started.
Story continues below....
It will be interesting to see where WWE goes with this. Apparently Mahal is getting a push as the company is expanding its Indian market. India is a huge country and they love professional wrestling. If Mahal's push is done right, they could create a new star. After all, people are getting sick of seeing the same people getting pushes like Roman Reigns, John Cena etc.
Wanna read more on this? Check these out: WWE Injury Alert: The Revival's Dash Wilder Out For Several Weeks (more); Kurt Angle Suggests WWE Should Turn Roman Reigns Heel (more); WWE Raw And Smackdown Rosters Change As Wrestlers Move Shows (more); Brock Lesnar Is The Highest Paid WWE Superstar Despite Only Working Part-Time (more).
And here are some more related articles: Alberto El Patron Rants About Both WWE And Triple H (more); Stone Cold Steve Austin's WWE Contract To Make Podcasts Has Expired (more); This Week in WWE: Raw And Smackdown See Wrestlers Debuting And Returning (more).