Professional wrestling giant WWE returns to India on Friday 8th September with the inaugural Superstar Spectacle. The event will mark just the eighth time that Vince McMahon’s billion-dollar creation has ever headed to the subcontinent and the company’s first visit in six years. The showdown will emanate live from Hyderabad’s 5,000-capacity GMC Balayogi Indoor Stadium, and excitement is already reaching a fever pitch despite it still being a number of weeks away.
WWE is at an interesting time in its calendar. Following a record-breaking SummerSlam – which saw Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns successfully retain his title against real-life cousin Jey Uso in the main event – the company is bracing itself for a relatively slow period. With the return of the NFL stateside and with a number of B-Tier Premium Live Events between now and the Royal Rumble in January, it’s the perfect time for the company to experiment with different ideas.
McMahon and the powers that be are no strangers to experimenting with different ideas, including gambling. Earlier this summer, they sent a number of top stars including former WWE Champion Big E to host a charity poker tournament at this year’s ESPY awards. Many WWE superstars such as John Cena and The Miz are regularly found on the tables playing various casino games, with the former stating in an interview with Bluff Magazine in the late 2000s that he had “caught the poker bug.” The event gave him and his fellow celebrities a chance to test their mettle against fellow megastars in the intense world of poker, and the event was a huge success.
However, hosting a show in India is a different matter entirely, especially considering the huge outlay it will cost to host the show over 8,000 miles away from the USA’s East Coast. But local fans will surely be grateful for the opportunity to see their favourite superstars in action. Here’s what those attending can expect to see at WWE Superstar Spectacle.
WWE Returns to India Top Stars in Attendance
There are a number of top superstars currently being advertised on WWE.com to be taking part in the event of WWE returns to India Friday 8th September. Current reigning and defending World Heavyweight Champion Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins will be in attendance, as well intercontinental champion Gunther and his lackey Ludwig Kaiser. Current Undisputed Tag Team Champions Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens have become two of the biggest stars in the professional wrestling industry over the course of the last year, and they two are advertised as featuring on the show.
What of Jinder Mahal?
The Great Khali is without a doubt the most popular WWE superstar to come out of India. The 7-foot-4 behemoth was a staple of WWE TV throughout the late 2000s, colliding with some of the company’s biggest names including the likes of John Cena, The Undertaker, Batista, Triple H, and Rey Mysterio, even managing to win the World Heavyweight Championship. However, in recent years, the most popular star of subcontinental heritage has been Jinder Mahal.
Despite being a jobber for most of his career, Mahal was thrust into the limelight in early 2017 when he won a six-pack challenge to become the number-one contender for Randy Orton’s WWE Championship. He would meet the Viper at Backlash and much to the amazement of everybody in attendance, actually managed to secure the victory thanks to some outside interference from the Singh Brothers.
He would embark on a four-month-long title reign, successfully defending his title against the aforementioned Orton, Japanese sensation Shinsuke Nakamura, and Baron Corbin, before eventually losing the strap to AJ Styles in Manchester, England. The decision to put the title on the Modern Day Maharaja was apparently made by Vince McMahon in an attempt to capture the Indian market, but unfortunately, it wasn’t successful.
In recent years, Mahal has tumbled back down the card and has barely featured on WWE TV in recent weeks. He is however advertised to appear at Superstar Spectacle, and he is sure to receive a heroes welcome by the Hyderabad faithful.
The Face of the Company
The current top star in WWE is Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. The Pensacola, Florida native has been on top of the company for the better part of a decade however, it was until he turned to the dark side and aligned with perennial bad guy Paul Heyman in the summer of 2020 that he really stamped his authority over the industry. He won the Universal Championship at Payback in the summer of 2020 and he has held the title ever since, with his reign currently standing at a whopping 1,088 days.
He unified that title with Brock Lesnar’s WWE Championship at last year’s WrestleMania when he defeated the former UFC Heavyweight Champion in front of 88,000 fans inside Dallas’ AT&T Stadium. And he has been on a tear ever since. Many expected him to drop his titles at the most recent Showcase of the Immortals which took place at SoFI Stadium in Los Angeles back in April, but the Tribal Chief managed to get the victory over the men’s Royal Rumble match winner Cody Rhodes, much to the amazement of everyone in attendance.
A Returning Nightmare
But if Reigns is the bad guy (heel) in the company, then the aforementioned Rhodes is the top good guy (face). The American Nightmare left WWE back in 2016 due to a number of issues, and he would set out on his own path. During his six years away from the company, he went on to become the top star on the independent circuit. That success led to him founding rival promotion AEW alongside friends and fellow wrestlers the Young Bucks as well as American billionaire Tony Khan.
Since his return, Rhodes has enjoyed an unprecedented run of success. He picked up three consecutive victories over Seth Rollins before winning the Royal Rumble match back in January. While he was unsuccessful in his maiden world title tilt at WrestleMania, many expect him to win the Rumble once again next January before eventually finishing his story by defeating Reigns at WrestleMania 40 next April inside Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field.
Current Top Storyline
The main talking point at present is the implosion of Roman Reigns’ Bloodline faction. That came to a head when the reigning champion successfully defended his title against cousin Jey Uso, but not before Main Event Jey had been betrayed by his brother, Jimmy Uso. Reigns is now expected to take some time off between now and the new year and the two Uso brothers will be thrust into the main event spotlight.
The pair’s first bout, although not yet advertised, will probably take place at WWE returns to India September’s Payback event. And you can expect the pair to have further matches throughout the autumn.