Jinder Mahal defeating Randy Orton at the SmackDown-exclusive Backlash pay-per-view to become the new WWE Champion has to be one of the biggest upsets in recent years. The odds weren’t astronomical, but most people expected Orton to retain his title.
There was already a ton of surprise at the fact that The Maharaja was crowned the number one contender in the first place. Following that, not many would have ever assumed that the company would follow through with putting the title on a relatively new face as opposed to The Legend Killer.
The hard work he put in to improve his look caught the company’s attention and Mahal was brought back to add numbers to the roster due to the brand split and it now seems to have paid off in a huge way.
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One glaring problem could lie in wait for the company as it tries to figure out what to do with the newest champion following Backlash. Dave Meltzer recently said that ticket sales were not exactly booming after the main event was announced for Sunday’s pay per view.
In fact, Allstate Arena seats arond 18,000 people and there are reports that claim attendance was closer to 10,00 for the evening. Those 8,000 seats are nothing to sneeze at and the promotion will have to decide how to address it as this storyline develops over the next month.
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It is no secret that SmackDown Live’s ratings have taken a bit of a hit ever since the Superstar Shakeup happened. Long established blue brand names moved from the show and there hasn’t been a key performer to step into that void yet.
WWE creative might be hoping that Jinder can be the one to balance the scales a bit when it comes to their offerings on the SmackDown television side of things. Coming up with those extra eyes is going to be very hard for officials to figure out.
Also to consider the well-documented fact that WWE’s big expansion into India played a key role in Mahal receiving this push, considering the market is absolutely massive over there so you can’t blame them for taking advantage of that.
Now the question must be raised, how long do they plan on keeping the championship title on him? As well as deciding which outcome will win out in the contest between pleasing developing markets versus keeping television viewers happy week in and week out.
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