Jinder Mahal shocked the world when he became the WWE champion at Backlash, defeating a future Hall of Famer in Randy Orton.
Fans, observers and the entire WWE universe were stunned that Mahal had reached the top of the industry, going from a forgettable low-tier RAW roster member to SmackDown Live's top champion. Shane McMahon calls it the land of opportunity for a reason.
Mahal and Orton are set to clash in a rematch at Money in the Bank this Sunday, the first true measuring stick for The Maharaja's reigns at the top of SmackDown Live. Another victory over Orton would be huge, and some indications point to Jinder holding the strap for an extended period.
The WWE is making a strategic decision as they look to broaden their reach globally, focusing on the market in India. Mahal happened to have proven himself to the right people in the months leading up to the stunning moment, awarded a chance to be the top dog for SmackDown.
WWE's "Bring it to the Table" show reflected on the stunning moment, putting together an incredible compilation of live fan reaction footage during key moments throughout the match. It also has some cool angles fans in attendance took.
Here's the video, courtesy of the WWE's official YouTube account:
This video does a strikingly accurate job of painting the wave of disbelief as Orton's shoulders stayed down for the three count. Orton, one of the most decorated champions in WWE history, lost to someone that was mostly a mid-card worker just a few weeks prior.
Mahal's work ethic and transformation following his release from the WWE in 2014 are keys to why he was booked to go over in such a stunning way. Triple H has been highly complimentary of his drive and improvement being reasons he climbed to the top so suddenly.
It's still one of the most stunning title victories in recent memory, with many wondering if Mahal was possibly in the WWE's dog house for clobbering Finn Balor with a botched forearm spot on RAW just before the Supersar Shake-up.
Clearly that wasn't the case, with Mahal immediately rising to claim the title. His victory created a major buzz just from shock factor alone, but Money in the Bank's outcome will be just as interesting to see.
A loss would feel like a wasted push for Jinder, while beating Orton in back-to-back pay-per-view title matches would be a major feather in the cap for Mahal's legitimacy as a top heel.
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