Friday, April 21, 2017

Storylines and History have context in Wrestling, or Another take on why Jinder shouldn't be #1 contender

Jinder Mahal is the number one contender to the World Heavyweight Championship and it's because he won a six pack challenge match on Smackdown which is the first singles match I can remember him winning in forever. Now I'm all for the idea that anybody can win any match at any time, but the problem is I know Jinder has been a jobber his entire career and he hasn't won enough, or any matches, that make me believe he can beat Randy Orton to become the champion. This relates to one of my problems with WWE which is their belief that wins and losses don't matter. Now to a certain extent that is true in that I can forget losses from a while ago as long as a person is on a winning streak, but I still have an idea of how well a wrestler is performing in the win/loss column.

Officials in WWE have been on record as saying that fans will cheer for people regardless of wins and losses and that is true to a certain extent, but that requires a connection with the fans that only a few wrestlers have. Currently Bray Wyatt and Sami Zayn are capable of getting that kind of reaction. I'm pretty sure some of the other big name guys can do that as well, but they haven't lost as much as those two to prove it.

Pro wrestling is scripted, but it is nominally supposed to be formatted like a sport, and there should be some kind of metric for how well people are doing in the sport and wins and losses are generally that metric. UFC is generally the closest sport comparison I go with for them and there are definitely people who get title shots that don't deserve them, but they have gotten wins and have gotten the fans behind them to a certain extent and created interest in the fight. Jon Jones is going to get a shot against Daniel Cormier that he doesn't deserve having been gone from fighting for like three years with one fight in that time and he barely won that fight against a nobody. Georges St. Pierre is coming back and getting a title shot in a weight class he's never fought in, but he's still GSP and people want to see that fight.

On the other hand there is Jinder Mahal winning the match and getting the title shot. In the match you have the best argument for a midcarder going over and getting a shot at the title in Sami Zayn as the crowd was super supportive for him. If you want to tell a great story you have a challenger in either Luke Harper or Eric Rowan who are Wyatt followers still left on Smackdown after their leader left. Zayn fits the same mold of Jinder as an unexpected challenger, except Sami has been in higher profile matches and wins matches fairly regularly unless it's against top tier opponents. Also as I mentioned earlier the crowd loves Zayn. I get the idea of surprising the crowd, but sometimes surprises work because you don't expect it, but you get where it came from. Other times the surprise is Jinder winning a number one contenders match after never having won a match since he returned to WWE and being a jobber when he left them. Jinder has been involved in one match that was really good and that was WeeLC and he wasn't much of a factor in making it awesome. But he was part of it and it was awesome so he does have that going for him, and that's it.

I will admit that in general I'm not interested in a Jinder Mahal push, but if WWE committed to it before hand and had the Bollywood Boys come up a while ago and help him win matches or he won matches on his own before he won the number one contenders match it would be a different situation. Going on a win streak can overcome any number of losses in the past, but that's not what happened.

Jinder Mahal has lost every match since he came back and has no fanfare. He has a tag team from 205 Live which many people don't watch interfere to help him win the match for the first time and it just happens to be a number one contenders match that he has no reason to be involved with in the first place. While WWE is a scripted show it is still modeled after a sport and in all sports wins and losses matter. WWE doesn't place any faith in that idea so we are stuck with a perennial jobber like Jinder Mahal getting a title shot against Randy Orton at a PPV and that's not a good, or interesting idea.