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History Repeating

Hey Scott–


Remember that time WWE had this lower-mid card loser that Vince really wanted to push all of a sudden? I mean, they had tried getting him over as a singles attraction before, but it flopped so badly on Raw that creative threw him back together with his tag team partner in a gimmick that had worn out its welcome years prior.

Then, in a swerve so sudden it nearly broke our collective necks, this douche got a total character makeover, was thrust into a main event scene that he’d never even sniffed prior, and with a couple months of rushed build up (and wrestling very few matches to build his credibility) was put over the reigning champ in a move that baffled everyone watching.

And then JBL was WWE Champion for nearly a year.

I just find myself giggling nonstop over the outrage in SmarkTown over Jinder Mahal as world champion, when Vince has pulled this exact same troll job on the fan base before…

‚ÄčImma stop you right there, broheim. This fallacy has been floating around the internets since the title change, and it’s just not true. The JBL character might have had a relatively quick ascension to World champion, yeah, and he might have been a total disaster on top, yeah…

BUT!

You can’t say they didn’t believe in him and want him to be a top guy. He was consistently pushed as a protected guy with the APA (which Jinder was the exact opposite of), and then given a test singles run in 2002 where he was heavily protected (again, the exact opposite of Jobber Mahal), plus a Hardcore title reign or seven, and the JBL character was introduced as a big deal in an important, featured role. Ratings were fine when he won the belt and during his buildup, and dropped the longer he held the title.

Jinder was literally a jobber who suddenly won a six-pack challenge on Smackdown and then beat, like, three top midcarders over the course of a month and won the title with two guys helping him. Ratings for Smackdown were decent at the beginning of the year, but have dropped to record lows during the build for his title match, before he even won the title. Ratings for RAW, the night after he won the title when you’d expect at least a LITTLE PPV bump from casual fans who might tune in to hear about him, actually hit a new record low. He doesn’t even have merchandise! They didn’t do anything to tweak his character, just made him angrier and added smaller versions of him as useless henchmen.

I will say, I think JBL was a disaster as champion, but I can respect the effort. Vince McMahon was ALL IN with that shit. Jinder has been a half-assed push to troll the fanbase and maybe kowtow to India if they ever tour there again. Totally different.