For the sake of simplicity, we’ll assume that the match takes place and that neither title will be on the line.
First and foremost, this pretty much guarantees that Mahal will be holding the title straight through December, during which time he’ll be heading to India with the “Monday Night Raw” roster for a tour. While not surprising, it doesn’t do much for the fans who are already sick of him holding the title. Mahal has been champion since May and hasn’t exactly been treated like a star by the fans. I can’t say I’m surprised as he’s a former comedy goon who came back to the company and suddenly was beating Randy Orton to become a World Champion.
You remember how that one went down?
Now we’re pretty much guaranteed him as champion until the start of the new year at the very earliest, which really isn’t the most promising idea in the world. That’s much more a problem for later on down the road, but how thrilled are the fans going to be when they want Lesnar to smash Mahal and get the title off of him but there’s no real consequence for a loss? I understand that they don’t want to unify the titles (because that would just be crazy or something) but the title being on Mahal doesn’t seem to be doing them any favors at the moment.
That’s where things keep falling apart for me. Thinking about the idea of Lesnar vs. Mahal makes my head shake as it sounds like a match you would put together in WWE2K18 for the sake of blowing off some steam. Mahal hasn’t shown himself to be a top level in-ring star as his best matches seem to be average on his best day. On top of that, the idea of the Khallas doing anything more than making Lesnar blink twice is almost laughable. Lesnar has spent the last few months facing monster after monster and now he’s facing a cobra clutch slam and the Singh Brothers. For some reason this isn’t exactly doing much for me.
That brings us to the next problem, which in my eyes is the biggest of the whole concept: why in the world is Lesnar being used in a match like this? Lesnar isn’t exactly Bret Hart out there defending the title every chance he has. No instead he’s the guy who defends the title once every few months more often than not. Since winning the title from Goldberg in April, Lesnar defended the title against Samoa Joe in June, against Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe and Roman Reigns in August and just against Strowman in September.
Here’s what Mahal is getting into.
That’s a total of three title defenses in six and a half months as champion, or about one ever two months. By the time we get to “Survivor Series 2017”, it will have been another two months since Lesnar defended the title again. So what are we getting there? A big title match against a former World Champion like Finn Balor, Seth Rollins or Dean Ambrose? Not quite, as we’ll be seeing this non-title match instead.
Barring a surprise of seeing Lesnar defend the title again in December, we probably won’t be seeing the title on the line until “Royal Rumble 2018” at the earliest. When there’s a long line of title contenders available, I really don’t see the need to see Lesnar in a champion vs. champion match for the sake of bragging rights. Lesnar has far more important things that he could be doing (like polishing the belt up for Roman Reigns, because THIS TIME FOR SURE Reigns will get the superhero reaction for beating Lesnar like we’ve known he would do since the night Lesnar got the title back) than setting up this kind of a match.
That’s my other issue with this match, regardless of who is involved with it: what does this accomplish? Bragging rights? Well maybe, but they pulled off a pretty solid show last year without having champion vs. champion. If they want to do a show about bragging rights, either find a concept that doesn’t manage to have a World Champion lose in a singles match or have them defend their titles on their own. Bragging rights aren’t the most interesting thing in the world but having the titles not even on the line in a match that will come and go in one night isn’t the best use of the talent involved.
Do something like this instead.
So now we get to the other big question: who wins? Now I know the general answer is LESNAR SMASH and Suplex City and all that other good stuff (if you find that to be good of course) but this one isn’t exactly as simple as it sounds. Do you have Lesnar destroy the Smackdown World Champion right before he’s supposed to go on the big tour? That doesn’t make the most sense in the world (which to be fair, could apply to the entire match in the first place) and I think you know where this is going.
I’m not saying it’s happening, but there’s a good chance that Mahal will find a way to win this thing. Lesnar isn’t the kind of guy who is going to be shaken up by one loss and Mahal certainly needs the win more than he does. As entertaining as it would be to see Lesnar throw the Singh Brothers from Houston to somewhere over the Philippines, I’m not sure it’s worth the idea of having Mahal win the match and be the one person to pin Lesnar since Goldberg did it last year.
I can’t bring myself to pick Mahal to beat Lesnar, but they’re making it really easy to imagine it happening. The problem is I can’t imagine it’s going to do much for Mahal’s status with the fans. Unless the win makes him into a different promo or a different character, the people aren’t interesting in what Mahal has going for him at the moment. Beating Lesnar isn’t going to change that and is going to be something else that makes the fans reject him even more.
Finally, there’s the idea of building the match. Mahal really hasn’t shown himself to be a good promo, meaning Paul Heyman would eat him alive. I’m assuming the story would be designed to treat Mahal like a big deal who is on Lesnar’s level but what is Heyman supposed to talk about? How great of a talent Mahal is? I know that’s the WWE line but to say it hasn’t been working is one of the biggest understatements of the year. In theory the idea of champion vs. champion sells itself, but does that work when one of them is viewed as a glorified jobber who wins because of two lackeys?
Here’s one of Mahal’s finer moments.
There’s a solid idea behind having the champion vs. champion match as it’s more than capable of overcoming the lack of anything being on the line. The problem is it needs to be a match that the fans want to see. Mahal vs. Lesnar simply doesn’t fit that description, especially with names like AJ Styles available to face Lesnar.
Instead it’s Mahal getting the spot, presumably for the sake of building up the Indian market. That’s been the case for five months now and while Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are the real stars of the show, we’re stuck in this holding pattern until WWE gets bored with the idea, or until Mahal breaks CM Punk’s record. You know, because that makes everything worth it in WWE’s eyes. I’m really not liking this idea and I’m not seeing much of an idea of how to make both guys look good, but I’m sure WWE will find a way to make it even worse than it sounds.
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