Remember Brock Lesnar?
Lost in the hysteria of a reported viral infection (per WWE.com, h/t WrestlingInc) that brought about the return of Kurt Angle in place of Roman Reigns is the fact that Lesnar appeared live and in person on Raw to accept Jinder Mahal's challenge made on SmackDown Live.
"At Survivor Series, I am challenging The Beast! At Survivor Series, I am challenging Brock Lesnar!" said Mahal as the AJ Styles fan club, otherwise known as most of the wrestling media, groaned.
Few are giving Mahal a chance in this special attraction match, but I wouldn't be so quick to count him out in what is actually a more even matchup than it looks on paper.
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Mahal and Lesnar represent a rare champion vs. champion matchup. While WWE hasn't fully committed to the brand vs. brand concept of Raw vs. SmackDown Live, it has done a commendable job of keeping Raw and SmackDown Superstars on exclusive brands since the brand split returned in 2016.
Mahal was plucked from obscurity to become a WWE champion, and while he has performed admirably as an otherwise outdated foreign heel, his extensive past history of losing and lack of main event experience has definitely hamstrung him as a viable world champion.
WWE's commitment to Mahal, however, will continue to aid him in a push that has become the enemy of all those pesky, repetitive hardcore wrestling circles.
Lesnar has torn through the Raw roster with clean victories over the likes of Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman. Mahal has been no slouch in the win-loss department, though his recent wins against Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura have all come with the assistance of the Singh Bros.
Paul Heyman @HeymanHustle
Meanwhile, over on #Facebook - https://t.co/SOnrFBYzfV https://t.co/wbM1lDdN6Q2017-10-21 19:43:15
"The Singh Bros. are there to take suplexes from Brock Lesnar, who will then destroy Mahal! Mahal isn't even on Brock's level!"
Congratulations, you just read 80 percent of takes on Lesnar vs. Mahal.
But hold on a second.
Flanked by his two athletic allies against Lesnar, with just one month before WWE's tour of India headlined by Mahal as a conquering hero, booking Mahal to shadily defeat Lesnar or battle to a no-contest sound like two of the more realistic outcomes.
It's possible that Mahal could have the WWE Championship all the way through WrestleMania, where the All-American John Cena could be a likely opponent. With AJ Styles now in a position to be fed to Mahal as part of a TV feud, he's running out of babyface competition and could be running free to the top of the WrestleMania card.
If Mahal vs. Cena becomes a real possibility, it's just as important that Mahal is kept strong as it is for Lesnar to be unstoppable en route to his seemingly inevitable clash against Roman Reigns.
Mahal could win this match. And I'm saying he has a chance.