When a guy rises from enhancement talent to the top of the card almost overnight, amidst rumors his promotion was largely a marketing tool, fans are gonna talk. Throw in a greatly changed physique and some formulaic pay-per-view (PPV) main events and the criticisms will only get louder.
That’s pretty much what the story of Jinder Mahal’s WWE championship run has been. The first era of The Modern Day Maharajah ended yesterday (Nov. 7) when AJ Styles defeated Mahal in Manchester. If anything, the sudden change in direction only amplified speculation - with folks saying Jinder was dealing with a lingering shoulder issue, or had failed a drug test under the company’s Wellness Policy.
In an Instagram post earlier today, Mahal tipped his hat to AJ, then defending his reign and addressed the rumors and folks he believes are spreading them:
To @ajstylesp1, you were the better man for one night. Six months I held the #WWEChamoionship, defended it countless times, all over the world. I will one day raise the title again. To my haters and wrestling "insiders", this was NOT an experiment, I am NOT injured, I have NOT violated the wellness policy. So keep throwing shade my way , it only motivates me.
It’s doubtful Jinder would specifically call out these two items if there were any truth to them. A trip to Dr. Andrews or a suspension would come out.
Whether or not he’ll get another run with a top belt is another discussion entirely. WWE could keep him around the main event, but build him up more gradually (as a face or a heel) to see how fans respond to that. They could put the title back on him before or while they’re in India next month. Or he could fade away back down the card.
We shall see.
What’s your guess? Feel free to chime in, even if you are a hater.