Jinder Mahal is the WWE Champion and a large portion of people are clearly not happy about it. Over the past few months, Jinder has held a tight grasp on the title, narrowly retaining it against the likes of Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura. However, while Jinder has been on the “top of the mountain” of the SmackDown brand, there is something that undermines him week in and week out.
The Main Event
The proof is in the card. The fact is, you’d be pretty hard pressed to find Jinder Mahal in any SmackDown main event match in recent memory. Although the same can be said about Raw and their top draws, an exception can be made on SmackDown because it is ⅓ shorter and in my opinion, it is also not as draining to watch.
Jinder Mahal mostly cuts repetitive promos on SmackDown, and to his credit I don’t think he’s doing an awful job. WWE clearly knows who people came to see, though, and who the big draws are on the blue brand (hint: not Jinder). In the months that Jinder was feuding with Nakamura and even Randy Orton, who was in the SmackDown main event? Who was purposely not put on the card and instead often featured in dark matches so that WWE could keep fans in their seats for 205 Live?
AJ Styles was (and is) highlighted every week, especially when he was the United States Champion. During his reign, the SmackDown main event usually involved AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens or Baron Corbin. During that time frame, Jinder was in a parallel universe as the WWE Champion. In short, even though he held the “mid-card” title, Styles was considered the more important of the two male singles champions on the show.
When AJ Styles was US Champion, the championship roles on SmackDown were extremely odd to say the least. You have one title picture including AJ Styles and one including Jinder Mahal. Which one sounds more legitimate to you? I would tune into SmackDown this past summer and only think about how the title pictures should be completely switched with AJ at the helm and Jinder honing his craft in the mid card.
Post Survivor Series
Now that AJ is no longer US Champion and has his eyes firmly set on Jinder’s WWE Title, this transition seems like a no-brainer. It looks like WWE may be seeing the obvious dollar signs that are plastered all over AJ Styles and they may soon reward him for his efforts as the mid-card champion during the Jinder Experiment. However, this could go one of two ways.
WWE may have come to the realization that Jinder Mahal was a mildly interesting (and wildly unsuccessful) project and now it’s time to put the title onto one of the best workers in the industry. Or they want to continue their attempt to legitimize Mahal by feeding him AJ Styles. There’s a big gap between those two, and I’m not sure WWE necessarily knows which way they’ll go yet.
The WWE Title does not feel prestigious right now. It does not feel like the top title on SmackDown and it certainly does not feel like the top title in the WWE. The WWE Title needs AJ Styles to elevate it to new heights. Imagine if we were getting AJ Styles vs. Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series. That has WrestleMania main event written all over it. Brock Lesnar vs. Jinder Mahal sounds like a last minute house show match (no offense to Jinder).
I also think that if AJ takes the title next Tuesday in England, it’ll be a good move for Jinder. Without all the pressure of being the top guy, Jinder may be able to retool his character and find some success. I think he has a lot of potential and can eventually work his way to the top for a legitimate run. He definitely needs a stronger in ring arsenal and a finisher that isn’t garbage. Another important factor is that he must learn to deliver his English promos with the same passion that rings clear when speaking Punjabi.
AJ Styles is the right star to carry the WWE Championship and the SmackDown brand back into relevancy. Jinder Mahal is an up and comer who is ripe for a mid card run after being pushed to be such a big deal for so long.
Reverse the roles and reap the benefits, WWE.
Greg DeMarco’s Three Stars Of The Night: WWE Raw (3/25/19)
Who delivered on Raw?
Which superstars stand out to Greg DeMarco as he looks back at Monday’s WWE Raw in Boston to identify the Three Stars Of The Night?
The second to last Raw on the Road to WrestleMania was live from Boston! The night focused around some of the major storylines for the Grandaddy Of Them All, featuring a Beat The Clock Challenge that you won’t see mentioned more in this article! (Sorry ladies, didn’t jump out at me this time.) But who did jump out at me? Let’s find out now!
The Third Star: Roman Reigns
The Big Dog Of The World Wrestling Federation is back and the wrestling world is better for it. Roman Reigns delivered in a way that made Drew McIntyre–who himself must have read my column from last week–look like a big deal. With just a few weeks of build, their WrestleMania showdown seems like a can’t miss match, one that we are likely to see in the future, possibly at another WrestleMania with higher stakes. Great night for the Big Dog.
The Second Star: Sasha Banks
It was indeed Boss Time for Sasha Banks during Monday’s Raw. Sasha being Bayley’s pure opposite is working, even if it’s destined to lead to another feud between the two. She was at her heel best, and seemed to bring out the best in Natalya. I wanted to see Sasha pick up the win, but that wasn’t meant to be as we’ve got stories to tell! but if we cna get more of this Sasha, I am on board.
Honorable Mention: Seth Rollins, Paul Heyman, Alexa Bliss
And now… a distinction usually reserved
for the top performer of the night …the first star!
The First Star: Drew McIntyre
In hockey, a game’s “Three Stars Of The Night” represent the top three performers of the night. For more clarification, I defer to this Pittsburgh Gazette explanation:
“The tradition dates to the 1936-37 season, when Imperial Oil became the principal sponsor of Hockey Night in Canada radio broadcasts and was seeking a way to promote one of its products, Three Star gasoline. The idea of doing so by selecting the top three performers in a particular game purportedly came from a Canadian advertising agency.
Many clubs do recognize the player with the most three-star selections with an award or trophy, usually in conjunction with a corporate sponsorship, at the end of the season (or sometimes, each month). All six Canadian franchises, for example, have an affiliation with a well-known brewery.
The NHL keeps track of its own Three Stars Of The Night selections, but that is done on a league-wide basis. The league employs a system that awards 30 points to a first star, 20 to a second star and 10 to a third – a running total can be found on the league’s website – but it does not present an award based on them.”
In hockey tradition, the first star represents the best of the three, but all three are considered to be receiving a high honor.
Rob: Kurt Angle Does Deserve Better
Kurt does deserve better–but it’s not what you think.
Rob Bonnette takes a dive into the final match for Kurt Angle at WrestleMania 35 and the choice of Baron Corbin as his opposition.
So we’re less than two weeks away from WrestleMania 35 and as of right now Kurt Angle is still slated to face Baron Corbin in his farewell match on the show, which a lot of you are still upset about. To a lot of you guys Kurt deserves a better opponent than Baron Corbin, because Baron Corbin sucks and all. The name bandied around the most is John Cena, which makes sense given their history together and that Cena currently doesn’t have a match on the show right now. But I’m here to say that’s not a good idea, and that you guys need to stop complaining about who gets to be Kurt’s last opponent. Now a few weeks ago I was right on board with having Kurt go out against one of his old rivals – Cena, Rey Mysterio Jr, or even Shawn Michaels if he felt like it. But after seeing Kurt’s farewell tour the last few week and how he’s struggled against Apollo Crews, Chad Gable, and this week Samoa Joe I am firmly entrenched on the other side of the fence of that argument. The last thing we need is to see Kurt Angle out there trying to have one last big match in front of all those people. And he doesn’t need that, either.
But you’re right, Kurt does deserve better – better than to be hung out to dry in a fifteen minute match against someone desperately trying to carry him across the finish line in 2019. Have you seen him the last few weeks? he was gassed in five minutes with Chad Gable and this week he could barely get up and over for a few simple suplexes against Samoa Joe. Joe, who people were saying looked past his prime last year against AJ Styles and is usually protected in multiman matches, had to carry Kurt on Monday night. To his credit he did a good job and we actually got a decent match, but that’s exactly what’s going to happen if Kurt gets a ‘better opponent’ than Baron Corbin at WrestleMania. Do you really want John Cena full of ring rust to have to struggle to get Kurt through 15 minutes of not being to turn his head, or help with simple bumps, or even lift him up for some of his basic stuff? By the time you read this Kurt will have struggled through six to eight minutes of AJ dumbing down his own offense to look pedestrian enough for Kurt to get a sympathy win over him on Smackdown, and next if I heard right it’s gonna be Rey Jr. Yeah, good luck. I get the whole ‘Kurt’s greatest opponents tour’ thing and that’s fine, but that’s for TV segments and not the biggest show of the year where looking bad will just be embarrassing on a whole other level. He does not deserve to go out like Willie Mays at the end of his career or Dan Marino not even able to drop back to hand the ball off to a running back. If you really love the guy you’ll want him to go out looking as good as possible.
Which brings us to Baron Corbin. Corbin is a real heel, someone who goes out to get booed and not to win snarky cool points from smart fans like Kevin Owens or who you refuse to boo because you relate to them too much, which is something that we could sure use more of today. He’s a full time wrestler so he’s not rusty, and has enough energy and athleticism to help Kurt do things like…..pick him up for the Angle slam properly. He also has a year long clip reel of back and forth with Kurt to play on the big screen for everyone who only comes to/watches WrestleMania every year. As poetic as it would be for Cena to be Kurt’s last opponent since Kurt was his first, if the goal is to give Kurt some kind of victory lap/greatest hits moment in either victory or defeat then Corbin is the way to go in my opinion. Now may we get some kind of moment between he and Cena afterwards? Sure. But a match? Come on, you guys can’t be serious. And look, I know that Ric Flair got Michaels to retire him and Shawn got the Undertaker….but go watch those matches, will you? Ric at 58 years old was moving around better than Kurt is now. I just watched that match and there were a few spots where Shawn clearly helped him but he mostly handled himself and could do his signature stuff without looking like he was dying in there. Kurt is not there at all now.
In short, this sums up what I think is the right way to go for Angle at WrestleMania for his farewell match:
Folks just want a chance to shout "YOU SUCK" during Angle's music, see his pyro and than chant "THANK YOU KURT".
His opponent at #WrestleMania and the match itself is immaterial.
Give the old guy a break & just let him slap the Ankle Lock on Baron and go home.
— Will Mahoney (@HeelWillMahoney) March 19, 2019
That’s it. He can win or lose against Corbin and get all of that in. Lose? Yes. Corbin can use the win to get more heat going forward and more material for his delusional heel promos. Kurt can still put the ankle lock on him afterwards. Very few people go out with a win. Flair didn’t, Shawn didn’t, Austin didn’t, etc. So don’t be surprised if Corbin gets the official victory and then Kurt gets his licks in after the bell. Don’t rule it out. But anyhow, back to the matter at hand. Kurt can’t go out there like he could even a year ago. If you want to see a final good performance from Kurt Angle at WrestleMania go watch the mixed tag match he and Ronda Rousey had against Triple H and Stephanie. It was some great, fun sports entertainment and he did a good job there in his spots. Don’t go pushing it and hoping for some throwback to 2006 with Cena or someone else more ‘on his level’. Really, look at this will ya?
— Will Mahoney (@HeelWillMahoney) March 26, 2019
You want to see him fold up like that going over for an Attitude Adjustment from Cena, and then Cena have to roll off of him at the two count because Kurt probably wouldn’t be to kick out on his own afterwards? Really? Look, Kurt is an all time great and arguably the best amateur to pro wrestler ever. But he’s real limited in what he can do, and should probably have done this two or three years ago if he was going to get a top level kind of match. But now it’s time to send him off in a way that does not make him look bad, and that’s in a quick five minute deal with someone the crowd will have no problem booing against him. That guy is Baron Corbin, as much as you think he sucks – which, if you do we got T-shirts here you can buy that say just that.
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(NOAH) WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.28 ~ 24TH MARCH 2019