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WWE Forcing Fans to Hate Jinder Mahal for All the Wrong Reasons

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterSeptember 20, 2017

Credit: WWE.com

WWE's characterization of Jinder Mahal has become SmackDown's most discordant song.

The Maharaja's rants against his rival, Shinsuke Nakamura, are simply off and offensive. Rather than generate interest in Mahal's upcoming battle with Nakamura, these racially charged promos have put the attention on WWE's writers and the outdated playbook from which they are drawing.

Mahal and Nakamura are set to clash for the WWE Championship at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view on Oct. 8. 

To this point, theirs is not a story of vengeance or pride, legacy or redemption. It's boiled down to a mockery of Nakamura's nationality.

Last Tuesday, Mahal made fun of Nakamura in a painfully unfunny promo. He pointed up at photos of Nakamura on the big screen. He then proceeded to make a constipation joke and cry out "Godzilla!" in an exaggerated Japanese accent.

On the most recent SmackDown, WWE doubled down.

Mahal again made fun of Nakamura with a cartoon accent. He referred to The King of Strong as Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid while The Singh Brothers did silly karate moves.

At one point, fans began to shout "That's too far!"

The promo stunk. It wasn't funny. It was a hateful attempt to appeal to prejudice.

WWE @WWE

UP NEXT: The #WWEChampion @JinderMahal responds to his incendiary remarks towards The #KingOfStrongStyle @ShinsukeN. #SDLive @SinghBrosWWE https://t.co/0e9BDPWEx3

Kyle Fowle of Real Sport 101 called it "even more dull, offensive, and misguided than last week's feces-filled rant."

The folks at Daily DDT are among those eager to see these promos cease:

Daily DDT @FanSidedDDT

Are they deliberately trying to make Jinder Mahal the worst champion ever? Please stop these segments, WWE.

The sooner that happens, the better. This storyline isn't doing Mahal any good. The segments haven't been entertaining, and they haven't increased the interest in his feud with Nakamura.

Instead, they have put the focus on WWE's refusal to move away from race-based insults and hate speech.

The company has seen its fair share of discriminatory angles. Roddy Piper stormed into WrestleMania VI in blackface. Don Muraco called Tito Santana a "wetback." Triple H told Booker T that people like him didn't deserve to be world champs and told him to dance for him.

Putting Mahal in that same group is certainly not the way to establish him as a top SmackDown star.

This can't be the kind of headline WWE wants out there about its top champion:

Deadspin @Deadspin

Fans chant “that’s too far” during racist WWE promo: https://t.co/ZOSjv5bp87 https://t.co/JrWXWA8ROJ

Going this route in 2017 is a mistake. The audience has changed. It rejects moments like these. And that's not the reaction WWE has to want for Mahal.

One might argue that Mahal generated genuine heel heat here, but there's a big difference between the crowd booing the material and the crowd booing the performer. The former is happening as of now.

WWE seems to have realized that after the fact.

As Fightful's Alex Pawlowski pointed out, WWE has not uploaded a clip of Mahal's segment from Tuesday night. Much like with the awful Bayley and Alexa Bliss "This is your life" scene from May, the company has chosen to try to get fans to forget about it. That's not a bad idea.

The Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura feud has gone off the rails.
The Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura feud has gone off the rails.Credit: WWE.com

The best bet would be to veer in a new direction, one that allows Mahal to make an impression outside of being bigoted.

There are so many creative, engaging places to take Mahal's character. He can be an egotist, an aristocrat, an abusive master to The Singh Brothers, an unhinged man with an inferiority complex. Exploring those character traits more fully would require some work, though, than throwing out the first anti-Japanese jokes that come to mind.

Mahal deserves better. The fighters and the fans deserve better. 

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