I am YOUR United States Champion. Those words muttered by anyone else would just seem like standard banter for a new champion. For someone like Jinder Mahal, they could be the ignition of heel heat we haven’t seen in quite some time. Say what you want about his in-ring ability, but there is no denying the stellar year that Jinder had in 2017. He returned to the company last year after being released alongside his 3MB stable mate Drew McIntyre, and almost immediately began to draw attention. The WWE brass obviously saw something in Mahal then, and it resulted in him winning the WWE Title from Randy Orton at Backlash.
Mahal actually had a pretty impressive title run considering the talent he was defending against. During his 6 month reign as champ, he dispatched of stars like Shinsuke Nakamura, Randy Orton, and Baron Corbin. Along the way, he became one of the best heels on Smackdown Live, often throwing crowds into a frenzy with each promo. This is where WWE should take advantage of Mahal’s star power. He has a natural heat he draws and having an up-and-coming face chase him for the title could end up being the money program on Tuesday nights.
If WWE were to pull the trigger on another title run for Jinder Mahal, this is the best time for it. Smackdown has an impressive crop of superstars, and like it or not, Jinder deserves to be near the top of the card. He may not be the strongest on the mic, but his matches are far from terrible, and again, the WWE Universe hates him. Give him the US Title and put him in a featured role, directly antagonizing Americans, and he could honestly be this generations Iron Sheik. We know that type of character works, because Rusev absolutely KILLED IT when he was the anti-America foreign heel a few years ago. The biggest difference here, is Jinder can be that true pure heel that still cheats to win. We know Jinder isn’t bulletproof, as he’s lost clean several times over the last year. When he wins (especially when the Singh Brothers are involved), fans get that much angrier, and thus directs all their anger in Jinder’s direction. Heel Heat 101.
While Jinder terrorizes the Smackdown Live roster, WWE should also double down on a full-blown Face run for Bobby Roode. Roode would be the absolute best candidate right now to chase Jinder and eventually earn himself a title shot against the Modern Day Maharaja. If booked properly (I know, I’m asking for a lot here), this could be THE FEUD to watch on Tuesdays. Roode is massively over with crowds everywhere, and to see him come so close to a title and then have it yanked away, would do wonders for him in the eyes of the WWE Universe. It could also be the catalyst for a Roode heel turn if Roode wins the title from Mahal. That would leave the door open for Roode to be challenged by the man who never lost the US Title, in a returning Dolph Ziggler.
WWE has several months worth of great storylines here, and they all revolve around putting the strap on Jinder Mahal. He’s proven he can carry feuds during his run with the WWE title, and by giving him the US belt, you can feature him more prominently, and build a solid supporting cast beneath him. The Modern Day Maharaja gimmick is built for the US Title, and the WWE would be fools to ignore it.