Earning the shot garnered raised eyebrows in the news. Winning the belt re-wrote headlines. Holding on to it triggered head-scratching incredulity. Keeping it this long bordered on causing a revolt.
Mahal's run was the worst of times, but it was also the worst of times. There is no parity or positives to be found or even looked for when reviewing how the last six months have played out since 'The Modern Day Maharaja' had an utter stinker with Randy Orton and lifted the richest prize in the game.
Sighs got louder when the rematch sucked, louder still when his first contest with Shinsuke Nakamura blew, and reached maximum perplexity when he was scripted to racially abuse the 'King Of Strong Style' in what's turned out to be a last gasp attempt to draw him some heat.
Because that's what it was, a last gasp. Sure, Mahal may get the belt back when WWE tour India, and maybe even take it all the way to WrestleMania to pass it over to another beloved babyface as he did here with AJ Styles. But the first experimental, soul-crushing reign is finally over. It's almost as if wrestling can return to 'normal'...whatever that even is.
Square eyes on a square head, trained almost exclusively to Pro Wrestling, Sunderland AFC & Paul Rudd films. Responsible for 'Shocking Plans You Won't Believe Actually Happened', some of the words in our amazing Wrestling bookazines (both available at shop.whatculture.com), and probably every website list you read that praised Kevin Nash.