Written by Guthrie The Ring Announcer
It was a classic portrayal of good versus evil this past Sunday at Backlash inside of the Allstate Arena when perhaps the most unlikely of adversaries stepped into the ring with the defending champion, Randy Orton. Heading into Sunday, many fans were very quick to dismiss any chances of Jinder Mahal – a competitor we’ve seen job to other talent endlessly since his return to the company – dethroning The Viper. But to the dismay of all those naysayers, evil prevailed Sunday night when the most illustrious prize in the business, the WWE Championship, was raised high in the air by The Maharaja himself. And this time, it wasn’t because Jinder managed to steal the belt from Orton, it was because Jinder won the belt by pinning Orton.
For me personally, Mahal’s victory at Backlash evoked a deep emotional response. It’s a feeling that’s foreign and lost to me in the current day of professional wrestling. It’s something that happens so infrequently that when that very feeling strikes; it’s like it’s happening for the first time. But when it comes to this type of thing, the internet community has made it self-evident that I cannot speak for everyone.
The next morning, following the unlikely victory by Mahal, I sat with my morning tea, eagerly scrolling through the reactions of The WWE Universe online over what transpired ten hours prior. The response was underwhelming. It was outright cruel at some points. I put away my phone, went to work, and didn’t open up another thing pertaining to the events at Backlash. That’s enough internet for one day, I told myself. Instead, I discussed the memorable main event with my friends and co-workers for the day. Collectively, my friends were ecstatic. One of my buddies sent me a text that read, “most epic win since Del Rio Rumble win.” One of the managers at my job, who I discuss wrestling with on a regular basis, told me that he couldn’t be happier and no one deserved it more than a guy like Jinder Mahal – an underrated talent who’s worked his ass off for years, outside of WWE, to get to this point. After having all these discussions with all of these avid wrestling fans, the true Cinderella story for Jinder Mahal started to feel more real to me. But something else clicked as well. This crazy, unbelievable scenario of Jinder Mahal attaining the WWE Championship in a main event at a pay-per-view was a very particular victory. This was undoubtedly a victory for the loyal fan and a loss for the casual fan. This was WWE’s way of giving the loyal fans a wink, throwing us a bone, and subtly alluding to the fact that they got our backs. They didn’t forget about us. They didn’t forget about us when Daniel Bryan won the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 30. They didn’t forget about us when Zack Ryder captured the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania 32 by defeating six other credible superstars. And they certainly didn’t forget about us this past Sunday at Backlash when Jinder Mahal successfully vanquished The Apex Predator.
As I stated earlier, these “feelings” that I get from the current day product, are far and few between. They don’t happen as often as they should, but maybe that’s what makes these moments that much more special – by how infrequent they are.
Jinder Mahal is not necessarily the champion that we need right now, but he is undeniably the champion that we deserve.