The feud between Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton over the WWE Championship has basically been an ever-escalating series of “Oh, god, it can’t get any worse” paired with “Oh, god, it just got worse,” with brief interludes of admitting that it is kinda fun to watch Orton throw the Singh Brothers around. But in the back of the mind, it always did have one saving grace:
At least The Great Khali, hasn’t shown up, right?
On a show as disappointing as this year’s Battleground, escalating a storyline that needs to be put out of its misery by introducing a wrestler who is A) not interesting and B) not capable of keeping a secret instead of being very obvious about traveling on social media stands taller than Khali as the worst decision of the night. I don’t want this to go all the way to Summerslam, but… now it kind of has to, right?
Last fall’s never-ending saga of Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens (featuring special guest Chris Jericho in every match) almost matched the level of pure monotony, but at least Rollins and Owens are fun to watch and relatively fresh and the match quality was generally high, peaking at their Hell in a Cell.
Looking back at the world champs of the past few years – The Shield, AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan – and the feuds they generally ended up in, it’s hard to find one that’s as flat-out simply bad as Orton vs. Jinder post-Battleground. It was already hard enough to find one that miserable pre-Battleground. Funnily enough, either of the two strong contenders I landed on also involve Randy Orton. And they happen to be consecutive feuds.
Pick whichever of these two you’d like, but it’s hard to argue that anything before Jinder Mahal: WWE Champion was nearly as awe-inspiringly dull as Orton vs. Big Show or Orton vs. Cena in late 2013-early 2014. Even discounting the fact that they came off the heels of Daniel Bryan being screwed for three months, both stories were borderline impossible to care about. When you ask yourself “Which of these people would I prefer to be the champion?” and the answer is neither, there’s a problem.
This story shares the Cena feud’s “God, not again,” but amplified in that it feels like it’s been going on for twice as long, and is likely going to continue for at least a while longer. It shares the Big Show feud’s overwhelming “WHO CARES ABOUT THE BIG SHOW?” but amplified in that it’s Jinder Mahal, who’s boring in the ring, cuts the same promo every week, and is starting to come across as Rollins and J&J Security but without the “entertaining” part.
One factor here is that Randy Orton can put in good work when he has interesting material to work with but he’s just boring beyond boring beyond boring beyond boring in a situation like this, which is probably why he’s the common denominator. Another factor is that this has been the most standard feud escalation imaginable: normal match, normal rematch, gimmick match, and a whole lot of nothing happening in between.
Oh, sorry, something happened. The Singh Brothers laid extremely mild hands on Orton’s dad. What an exciting story.
I can’t even conceive of a compelling exit strategy for this storyline. Giving the title back to Orton is NyQuil. Dragging Jinder out another two PPV’s minimum to drop the title to somebody else is a waste of time. Jinder dropping the title to somebody on Smackdown with no build is the fast Band-Aid option, but is also trash. And if Khali turns on him and that’s where this goes, then Smackdown’s writers have officially gone off the deep end.
It’s inconceivable that the WWE Championship has gone from Cena vs. Styles to this in six months. I’m getting nostalgic for Bryan vs. Kane. I’m even getting nostalgic for Orton vs. Rollins, and that was boring until the rest of The Shield got involved.
The lesson we can learn from this is that Randy Orton anywhere near a title is poison. Or that someone nobody cares about anywhere near a title is poison. Or that when you mix the two, you get…
I know IWC memes are the real champion of Smackdown now but please, somebody hinder Jinder.
For all of us.
Written by Bobby Murphy (@RobertJMurph)
Image courtesy of WWE.com
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