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The Throwback Slant: Jinder Mahal, WWE Champion

Chad Aaron takes a look at Jinder Mahal as WWE Champion, and compares him to champions of the past in the latest Throwback Slant!



Jinder Mahal

Chad Aaron takes a look at Jinder Mahal as WWE Champion, and compares him to champions of the past in the latest Throwback Slant!

The recent return to Raw of Jinder Mahal got me thinking about his 2017 WWE Championship reign. The Modern Day Maharaja came up pretty much out of nowhere in 2017 to take the WWE’s top prize. He had only returned to the company a couple of months earlier, to little fanfare after a forgettable first go-round in the WWE. He came back with an all-new physique and aggressiveness. I recall he had a handful of better-then-expected matches with and against Rusev. He was then placed in a relatively high-profile spot, getting physically involved with Rob Gronkowski at Wrestlemania 33, finishing as the runner up to Mojo Rawley in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. He would go on to shock Randy Orton to win the WWE title in May and hold it for approximately six months.

Now, co-incidentally, the WWE was making some in-roads into India at the time, even planning a series of live events that winter. India is home to approximately 125 million English speakers. And while that number is a low percentage of their overall population, it still represents a huge untapped market for wrestling. It was pretty plain to most of us how having a champion of Indian heritage would help the company appeal to that populace.

Domestically, Mahal was an unpopular champion overall, and his reign did not feature any real highlights. He had the Singh Brothers constantly involved in his matches, needed help from The Great Khali of all people to escape the Punjabi Prison, and had a cringeworthy program with Shinsuke Nakamura. Mahal mocked his broken English and made racially insensitive remarks. There was not a single defining moment in his six months on top. AJ Styles took the WWE title off Jinder in November, and Jinder slid back into the undercard.

Now, most of you know all this already, even if you had tried to push those memories out of your brain. I needed to set the stage. An undercard performer suddenly thrust into the main event. A title win that might have taken casual observers off guard, and excited almost no one. The champion carrying his championship through an underwhelming and ill-received title run, and all for a backstage reason that most smart fans could see right through. This scenario sounds very familiar to an older fan like myself.

30 years earlier, in 1987, we had a multi-time NWA World Champion in “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. The biggest show of the year, Starrcade, was coming up, and this time was going head to head on pay-per-view with the WWF’s newest invention, the Survivor Series. Promoter Jim Crockett thought it would be a better draw to have Flair win the title at Starrcade rather than simply defend it. That meant, of course, Flair had to lose the belt to someone. But who?

The top two choices would seem to have been Dusty Rhodes and Nikita Koloff. However, both men were already slated for title matches on the show. Dusty in an extended program with young and upcoming star Lex Luger; and Koloff in an NWA vs UWF, TV Title vs TV Title program with Terry Taylor. Not to mention, between Rhodes and Koloff, they had main evented the previous three Starrcade shows against Flair. The next viable option would seem to have been Barry Windham. Urban legend has it that the still-young Windham balked at the idea of winning the title only to drop it so soon back to Flair. They then found a career mid-card guy who was more than happy to take such a short stroll at the top of the card. Enter “The Hands of Stone” Ron Garvin.

Now, unlike Mahal, Ronnie Garvin had already carved out a solid career as an underneath wrestler. He had held the Mid-Atlantic and US Tag Team titles with the company and was widely regarded as a respected, tough, and dependable member of the roster. He was 42 years old at the time, so this would likely be his one and final shot at such an honor. He was a regular on Crockett’s television properties, often positioned in the television main event of those shows, so the audience was accustomed to seeing him. The hope was that familiarity would translate to the live audiences accepting him as a top draw.

Garvin took the title from Flair in September and held it for around six weeks. During this time frame, Garvin made sporadic appearances on TV, as the World Champion often would do. He only defended the title on a handful of live shows. While the TV audience might have accepted him, the live crowds were not used to Garvin in main events and his lack of drawing power suddenly stood out at the box office. On TV he was given a 45-day hiatus from defending the title so he could train for the rematch with Flair. This gave the promotion the cover to not have the World Champion at some of the major cards in the run up to Starrcade.

Flair reclaimed the title in November, and Garvin slid back into his former spot on the card. He was positioned at times as a former champion, but for the most part, that part of his career was forgotten. Garvin never again attained the level of success. Within a year or two, he was off to the WWF for a minor push to all but wrap up his wrestling career.

Now Jinder’s return could well mark his return to main event status. And with former fellow 3 Man Band alumnus Drew McIntyre holding the WWE title, it would be an easy assumption that the two are likely to work a title program together in the near future. But for now, Mahal remains one of the most unexpected former world champions in history, one whose situation brings to mind another unlikely world champion from the past.

Until next time, watch some wrestling this week, stay safe, and never forget to #UseYourHead.

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AJ’s Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21

AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?



As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.

Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!

#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time

There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…


I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.

#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic

Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.

People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.

I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.

#3- Overuse of Certain Moves

This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…

Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.

If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.

How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.

That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!

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AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?



With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass

Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed

The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!

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