What is the long-term plan for Jinder Mahal as WWE Champion? Well, there’s no real way to tell. But, WWE seems primed to go a long way with Mahal as champion, and that path could take us all the way to SummerSlamat the earliest, and into the fall I think is more likely.
First, he’ll rematch with Orton for the title, and it makes no sense to put the belt back on Orton so quickly. At the same time, it would be incredibly damaging to Mahal. You would be burying him for the rest of his career. He’d be a champion in the same way Jack Swagger was.
So the rematch will likely see Mahal go over again. Then, what’s his match for SummerSlam? It could be AJ Styles, or whoever wins Money in the Bank. It could be Shinsuke Nakamura. Or, it could be a returning John Cena, who tweeted this week he would be back on SmackDown on July 4.
Cena’s schedule is filling up, but I’d be surprised if he was back for a one-off SmackDownappearance. He’s back for something that will build to SummerSlam, and Mahal could be that something. But Cena isn’t full-time, and he’s not going to go over. It’s entirely likely that he takes another break after SummerSlamis complete, so that means Mahal retains again.
Then, we’re talking about September, or even October before he drops the belt.
That’s good news for Jinder Mahal, and it could be good news for a roster that is desperate to build some stars. Mahal beat Randy Orton, and he seems primed to do it again. If his next program includes wins over John Cena, then the feeling around Jinder Mahal could be a lot different come the fall, especially if his matches and promos improve.
That’s the key. He’s a good-enough wrestler, but he’s not AJ Styles. Jinder Mahal, to reach that next level, will need to do it on the mic. He’ll need to work on his facial expressions and hold back on the generic mad-face look. If he can harness that emotion in promos, given how WWE seems to be setting up his path, he could be on a new level come the fall.
Shinsuke Nakamura & Sami Zayn beat Baron Corbin & Kevin Owens
Apparently, Sami Zayn can set matches now, because he basically booked this match in a pre-match promo segment that opened the show. Aside from that, however, WWE is just killing Shinsuke Nakamura. Two weeks in a row, they essentially hide him in a tag team match rather than letting him flourish as a singles wrestler. Not only that, but WWE’s constant 50-50 booking isn’t making Nakamura look like a star, and he should.
WWE’s insistence on 50-50, even-steven booking is the reason the company has no “stars” right now. Everyone is the same, because WWE treats everyone as the same, and no one is allowed to honestly and truly get over on one another.
They aren’t making Nakamura’s appearances feel special, whatsoever. And it’s frustrating because they did such a great job of that only one month ago, in building up to Backlashon WWE Network.
New Day returned, challenging the Usos
I figured that New Day would be different upon their return, but they showed up here the same team we saw when they left Rawprior to the roster shakeup.
That being said, the Usos vs. New Day should be a fun feud. Jimmy and Jey have been very good on the mic in recent months, since their big heel turn, and I’m expecting that things will only get better.
Shane McMahon announced a Women’s Money in the Bank Match
There’s a big contrast to the way WWE is utilizing its women divisions on Rawand SmackDownright now. On SmackDown, essentially the entire roster is about to be involved in a first-ever women’s Money in the Bankmatch, whereas on Raw, the entire division isn’t even making it on the show from week to week. On most weeks, it’s just Bayley, Alexa Bliss, and Sasha Banks. Where is Nia Jax?
Breezango beat The Colons
Breezango has something special happening right now. It’s not anything that’s going to be taken seriously over the long term, but it’s good enough that they should keep them together and keep them going to see what they might be able to do with them over the summer, if not beyond that.
This episode has been really heavy on the talking segments. This was a pretty basic promo between Randy Orton and WWE Champion Jinder Mahal. For some reason, they’re going with “patriotic” Randy Orton, which really makes zero sense. Other than that silly Marine movie, Orton isn’t known to be overly patriotic. At least not in the sense of his WWE character.
Mahal is still leaning heavily on his “they hate me because of where I’m from” stuff. That’s fine, and it seems like they’re setting Mahal up on a tee to face John Cena at some point this summer. For what it’s worth, Cena announced on Twitter this week that he would be back on July 4. Hmm, that’s a patriotic day, no? Cena vs. Mahal headlining the July 4 SmackDownfor the WWE Title? Seems logical.
Dolph Ziggler beat AJ Styles
A surprising result, which totally killed the hometown crowd watching Styles lose in the main event.
This was a surprising result, but it makes sense that WWE needed to do something to build up Ziggler prior to the Money in the Bankmatch in a few weeks. Now, WWE will need to do some building with Styles to make sure he’s in a good position prior to that match as well.
The trick is, WWE needs to build up Styles without shoving Ziggler back down the chart. If they book a rematch next week, or the week after, and simply give Styles his win back, then it’s still a net-zero. No one has gained anything. That’s where WWE is at this point, though. No one is getting over. This is at least a start to do something with Ziggler, but there are some problems with him getting a win here as well, the biggest being that WWE has gone so long without doing anything with Ziggler, it makes it hard to take seriously anything they are doing now.