Mahal was a young boy when Singh prowled the rings in Calgary, Toronto, and beyond. But when Mahal decided to enter the squared circle himself, his uncle helped guide him. Bad News Brown, Gerry Morrow and Singh all had a hand in training a young Mahal.
After winning the WWE title from Randy Orton at Backlash in May, the new champ’s celebration didn’t end in the ring. He showed off his newly won prize with a man he views as a mentor and father figure.
Terrific write-up that humanizes Mahal and makes you want great things to keep happening to him. I was mainly impressed with how Mahal’s “xenophobia-inducing villain” persona doesn’t come up. He’s just a guy with a dream and a close connection to those who helped him along the way.
I didn’t mention this in my report, but the long, strange tradition of Toronto as WWE’s “bizarro land” continued this week:
To the WWE, Toronto is sometimes “Bizarro Land.” To those who live here, we march to the beat of our own drummer. Toronto has a history of going against the WWE grain. Hence why Bayley was booed and Jinder Mahal was cheered as Raw, Smackdown and 205 Live emanated from The Big Smoke this week.
As for why we do this? John Powell has a theory:
Mahal’s current stint in the WWE mirrors that of Bret “Hitman” Hart to some degree. In the late nineties, Hart was welcomed as a hero in Canada and the rest of the world but portrayed as a villain in the U.S. when he turned on his American fans for not supporting him during his feud with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Although they were at times crass about it, for many outside America, Hart and the Hart Foundation (Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart, Davey Boy Smith and Brian Pillman) expressed their general feelings about America while many Americans rightfully railed against those who would put their homeland down.
I think a lot of people forget that WWE is not only an American product, but tinged with a lot of Americana. Jinder Mahal’s pro-India character isn’t something Canadians are as likely to boo. As for Bayley, Toronto crowds are a lot like Brooklyn’s: knowledgeable. These are people who subscribe to the Network and watched Bayley in nXt, and they’re unsatisfied with how her character has been portrayed since moving up to Raw.