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Is WWE priming Jinder Mahal for US title run?

Joe Nocco

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SmackDown Live

After a surprisingly successful run as the top dog on SmackDown Live, is the WWE now priming Jinder Mahal for a United States title run?

While it is now certain that Mahal is done with being both the WWE Champion and top contender for such a strap, the surging superstar has since been entered into a tournament slated to determine the next United States Champion. Although the field currently remains wide open, one could infer that the WWE is setting Mahal up for yet another title run, this time under the guidance of the United States Championship.

However, this is not the worst idea available at the moment.

While unexpectedly — to say the least — becoming the WWE Champion earlier in the year, Mahal not only served as the champion but also endured a lengthy title run en route to taking on the likes of A.J. Styles, Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura along the way. Prior to such a run, Mahal served alongside Rusev and others while finding himself in the middle of the card, but still managed to make his case for a formidable champion shortly afterward in a surprising turn of events. For this reason, the WWE might be considering handing Mahal yet another strap while not quite upping the ante as far this time around.

Despite the fact that the WWE Universe did not take too kindly to Mahal’s lengthy title run, his stint as a heel has transformed his persona tenfold while the WWE might as well carry such momentum over to another push. Though not the most popular superstar even now, Mahal is still relevant enough to hold a title that is not the WWE Championship as striking while the iron is hot could benefit the WWE’s international following with both the Royal Rumble pay-per-view and WrestleMania coming up.

Not only that, but even though the crowds thoroughly enjoy mocking and chanting against Mahal, the veteran superstar can hold his own both inside the squared circle and on the microphone. Additionally, the presence of The Singh Brothers opens up a slew of possibilities for both Mahal’s promos and matches, which also makes for some entertaining spots in high level situations. Perhaps the WWE was slightly overzealous in elevating his character so quickly, but taking a step back en route to another title run may finally get Mahal over with the WWE Universe — heel or not.

While most recently advancing past the first round of such a tournament with a win over the struggling Tye Dillinger, Mahal will now face off against the winner of a looming bout between Xavier Woods and Aiden English in the semifinal round. Due to the way that this bracket is laid out, it is hard to even seen Mahal coming up short before the final as both Woods and English are currently tied up in other storylines, both of which are now supremely successful.

The full tournament bracket can be found here with several matches left to go before a new United States Champion is crowned.

Joe Nocco is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, born and raised in the New York area. Previously a contributor to SB Nation, Football.com and his own website titled Joe Nocco Sports, among others, Nocco has experience covering a variety of sports having specialized in content surrounding the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB. You can follow Nocco at @JoeNoccoFRS on Twitter.

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