During a recent edition of Wrestling Observer Live, “The Modern Day Maharaja” Jinder Mahal losing the WWE Championship and WWE cancelling one Live Event in India was discussed.
The key things discussed were Jinder Mahal’s push probably coming to an end and the cost of the tickets for the Live Event in India being very high (with ringside tickets costing about $540). Below are the highlights:
“There were scheduled to be two shows in India, as everybody is well aware, coming up on December 8th and 9th. Now there is only one. They have canceled the show in New Delhi and therefore the only show that they’re going to be doing in India is December 9th.
It is now a “Super Show” and it is Jinder Mahal versus Triple H. He’s everywhere now. We can’t get rid of the guy. Most people have been talking about so I guess that makes it the biggest story. WWE’s tour of India down to one stop. WWE’s planned December 8th house show at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi has been cancelled. With the December 9th date at the venue now being branded as of course a “Super Show”.
While tickets likely played a factor, WWE put out a statement saying that the decision to reduce the tour from two shows to one was to better serve the needs of their fans in the country. To meet the requests of WWE fans in India and deliver the biggest main event in the country’s history WWE is combining two nights of family-friendly action into a one night, only exclusive Super Show.
Jeet Rama and Kishan Raftar, who are Performance Center trainees from India, will now be wrestling in their home country as they face Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas. Kevin Owens will no longer be appearing on the tour after originally being scheduled to challenge for Mahal’s WWE Championship before he dropped to AJ Styles.
Those who bought tickets to the cancelled show can exchange them for the next night or receive a refund. Why would they want a refund? This is doing them a favor getting rid of that one show. They should be happy to go to the other show.
I mean what do you want me to say about this? That it was a bad idea to try to go to India with high ticket prices built around Jinder Mahal as a heel champion? I mean, what more do you want from me? Everyone knew this going in. This is a bad idea. It was never even planned to be a show in India anyway, much less two shows. They decided to just give it a shot. A lot of it has to do with Sony Six.
They’ve had a deal with them. They want a new television deal. They want to make it look like they’re hot. And now we’ve got a super show and they’ve cancelled one date. I don’t know if you can call it a tour of India anymore. It’s one stop. It’s like a layover, WWE layover of India is what we’re gonna call it. So there you go. That’s the story.”
“And the part that kind of sucks about this is, I’m not gonna blame Jinder Mahal for this, they tried to go all out into India and now in all likelihood even though it should be a long term plan even though I’m sure they have somewhat of a long-term plan because of TV deals and things like that, the reality is they’ll probably drop Jinder and they’ll probably drop any idea of playing towards the Indian market whatsoever and they’ll probably drop the idea. Instead of trying to continue building on that they’ll just do what they’ve done before and just drop everything altogether and that is the biggest problem that I’ve had with this whole thing the entire time.
And there’s all these people now that are backing off of like you were against Jinder from the start and now all those people that were happy about this title run, now they’re saying, well we were joking about it ….. you know… we were being ironic about it and all that stuff. And some of them maybe that’s true.
But the problem with bashing anybody for thinking WWE was being duplicitous and how they were going about things and being rather fake with how they were going about this whole build with Jinder. They frankly blew it and they’re not gonna go back to it and they’re not gonna go back to trying. Every time they’ve reached out and tried something like this, as soon as they lose interest they drop it and it’s gone and that’s frustrating and it’s just bothersome that they’ve gone about this.
And I don’t know maybe I’m jumping to conclusions with this whole thing with the Indian tour and everything, but we see Triple H be implemented into things now and Jinder being pulled back on and it’s kind of too bad.”
“What I don’t want to speculate here, but if I recall correctly, Triple H was added before they cancelled the show. Maybe the wheels were already in motion. Maybe they thought we’re gonna add Triple H, sell a bunch of tickets and they didn’t. And so then they cancelled the show. Maybe they were already gonna cancel the show anyway.
All I know is this – somebody on our board made a very, very, very intelligent statement about this whole India thing. I mean we’re talking about this how misguided it is for them to attempt to be making big money in India ever since Jinder won the title. But this person made a very good point. He said – “you know what, what they’re doing is they’re looking at Netflix and all of these other places that they’re going to move in India and so WWE wants to follow in their footsteps, well we’re gonna go to India too, trying make some money.
Point is Netflix and whoever else trying to move in their over-the-top service, they’re companies that already have tens of millions of subscribers here in this country and maybe they feel like hey we’re reaching our saturation point and so well where do we go from here to grow? Well, let’s try India.
You know where WWE needs to go to grow? America. Let’s look at their attendance for these shows. How was Raw last night? I mean I got word from the building that it wasn’t that packed. We’ve had SmackDown shows that have done 3,000 fans or whatever. These Raw and SmackDown attendances of late have not been great. I mean the ratings are okay, but I mean is anybody gonna sit here and say that like we’ve reached saturation here in America.”
“The fact that they’ve gone to India but like a lot of other businesses have mistimed and screwed up the India thing, that is a separate thing. But also, again not playing to any of that base here, if you want to grow there so bad, I mean there are Indian people here as well too. There’s a huge market here.
Why they don’t take care of their market here which ties into the first part with America, but in taking care of all of North America they miss on so much stuff and they are so tone deaf on so many things as they’re just buzz wording along, they forget the actual real people and making real connections and that’s the biggest problem with wrestling right now.
And this is why the Indies, I’m not saying are thriving to the point of mass economics or anything like that. But the reason that people are digging roots this is where they’re coming from. People feel more that they can actually reach out and feel the Indies whereas WWE, it’s all buzzing along. You can watch the YouTube clips and all that sort of stuff but there’s no relationship being built.”
“I’d like to mention by the way that WWE heading to India, this whole Jinder thing, like hey let’s make some money in India. We must create an Indian World Champion. What happened when they decided to tour India, they sent the Raw brand. They didn’t just send Jinder in the SmackDown brand. They sent the Raw brand. Why? Because the big stars are there that the people in India want to see.
What happened when tickets weren’t selling? Who’d they put on the show? Not The Great Khali. They put on Triple H. They put on a big American star because the point is like do something with Jinder, make Jinder a star, make Jinder the US Champion or whatever, do something with Jinder. But if you’re gonna make money in India like you can make money in India with the big superstars of the WWE brand, but they can’t make I don’t know…”
“Legitimize Jinder, that’s all they should have done.”