For the past two weeks on Friday Night SmackDown, Punjabi superstar Jinder Mahal faced the human wrecking ball, Ryback, in two quick matches. Ryback won the first match via count-out and the second match via disqualification. As a result of not being able to completely squash Mahal the past two weeks (like he has done to all of his other opponents), Ryback has become very frustrated.
The Ryback vs. Mahal feud is highlighted on WWE.com's "five-point preview" for tonight's episode of SmackDown, and WWE questions whether Ryback will seek out Mahal tonight in order to settle their unfinished business. Regardless of whether or not Ryback seeks out Mahal tonight, the feud has been a good one for Mahal; but not for the reasons you're probably thinking of.
Sure, WWE is reportedly very high on Mahal and feels he could be a major heel in the company, and having Mahal outlast WWE's next big thing (Ryback) for two straight weeks proves they're high on him.
However, that's not the only reason why the feud has been good for Mahal.
Ryback is billed as being from Sin City (nickname for Las Vegas and any other city that caters to vices). The man behind the character, Ryan Reeves, is from Las Vegas. The question is, why is he announced as being from Sin City and not Las Vegas? If I were to guess, it's because Ryback is a machine, not a human being. Sin City sounds more fitting for a machine than Las Vegas does.
Jinder Mahal is billed as being from India, and we all know what happens to non-White, foreign heel wrestlers when they fight American baby face wrestlers. They get bombarded with USA chants—even if they have no issues with America. In the process, they get heat for reasons they probably didn't want to get heat for, and they become the type of heels that they probably didn't want to become.
Can Jinder Mahal become a top heel without being anti-American?
For instance, back in April, Jinder Mahal interrupted an interview Michael Cole had been conducting with Randy Orton. Although Mahal's problem was with Orton, "USA" chants erupted from the Grand Rapids, Mich., crowd. Instead of getting heat for interrupting Orton, the beloved baby face, Mahal got heat for interrupting Orton the American.
Unless USA chants have been edited out by WWE, none have been heard during Mahal's matches with Ryback—which can probably be attributed to the fact that Ryback is a machine from Sin City rather than a human being from Las Vegas, Nevada.
The absence of USA chants during his feud with Ryback means Mahal has a chance to become something other than the angry, anti-American foreign heel that we've seen a million times in the past. He has a chance to get over as a top heel based on his actions, not on his ethnic or national background. For this reason, Ryback is a good opponent for Jinder Mahal.
What do you think? Is Ryback a good opponent for Mahal and vice versa? What do you think of foreign heels being bombarded with USA chants simply because they're foreign? Can Mahal become a top heel without becoming an anti-American?
Share your thoughts!