It’s perhaps one of the strangest main events the WWE will book this year, but there’s still plenty of intrigue heading into the SmackDown-exclusive Backlash event where Randy Orton defends his WWE Championship against Jinder Mahal.
The Maharaja reigned supreme in a six-pack challenge and stunned many when he overcame the likes of Sami Zayn and Luke Harper to become the number one contender, even if it did take help from The Singh Brothers.
Since then, he’s proven to a thorn in The Viper’s side as he not only stole his WWE Championship, but an interference from the trio cost Orton the victory at the House of Horrors match at Payback against Bray Wyatt.
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It’s been well-documented that one of the biggest reasons Mahal has found himself in this position is because of WWE’s plan to exploit the Indian market, as the fan base is massive over there and they’re looking to capitalise on that by opening the merchandise store there for the very first time.
Another reason was speculated shortly after, with some outlets claiming Mahal’s new look played a big role in Vince McMahon giving him this opportunity as he looked for another top anti-American star.
WrestleZone has now shared a report from The Wrestling Observer, highlighting another reason why WWE made this move.
They’re claiming that WWE feels comfortable with an Orton vs. Mahal main event is because the company has changed their model from a traditional pay-per-view to calling it a Network special.
They added that had SmackDown’s Backlash event been a traditional pay-per-view – where fans would have to spend in excess of $50 to watch – not many people would buy it, thus drawing a low buy rate because of the below par main event.
On the flip side, the company reportedly believes that paying the $9.99 subscription is a fair deal for the content they’re receiving, and there’s then less pressure for WWE to deliver – so they’re now confident enough to experiment more with their matches so look out for the same format further down the line.
Just because this is the main event, it doesn’t mean this is something fans don’t want to watch.
Perhaps the match of the night will go to Kevin Owens’ United States Championship defence when he takes on AJ Styles, while Baron Corbin is rumoured to be going up against Sami Zayn.
This is Mahal’s biggest opportunity to impress; if he’s able to put on a good showing then there’s a chance he could cement his place towards the top end of the card and surprise the fans that have low expectations of the main event.
What do you make of WWE’s reasons for having Randy Orton vs. Jinder Mahal at Backlash? Have YOUR say in the comments section below and the second episode of GiveMeSport’s WWE podcast is here! Check out the inside info from our coverage in Orlando.
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