One of the more fascinating stories of 2017 has been Jinder Mahal’s rise from enhancement talent to WWE champion.
As we head into his second pay-per-view (PPV) title defense at Battleground, Mahal is on a bit of a press tour. Unsurprisingly given the obvious importance the company places on the Indian market and the role that’s played in his ascent up the card, Jinder’s promotion of the show on July 23 has focused on India - from photo ops in cricket jerseys like the one above to a conversation with The India Times.
It’s in that latter interview that the Modern Day Maharajah casually drops a piece of information which seems like it should be a bombshell, claiming WWE CEO Vince McMahon gives him final say over his character:
I do have creative control but also Vince gives advice and ideas and I take them. Vince has experience and he has made the biggest sports entertainment in the history. He has made WWE into a global phenomenon. I have a good relation with Vince, he trusts me on the microphone, with my matches, which will only increase with time. I personally want to seek Vince's advice.
Now, this is likely Jinder overstating things to sound good for the Indian press. It’s a smart play to give the impression you’re not a guy who’s been crowned just because of your ethnicity, but such a big star you’re given the kind of leeway the John Cenas and Dwayne Johnsons of the world get. And he’s admitted himself in past interviews (notably on Talk is Jericho) Vince has changed promos to emphasize his character as an anti-American elitist - but those weren’t chats targeted at Indian fans.
But even if this is kind of true? The guy who was Rusev’s lackey in a feud with Enzo Amore and Big Cass a few months ago now has “creative control” over his character and/or direction?