4 Predictions for WWE SmackDown Live: April 25, 2017

5 of 5

From Unlikely Challenger to Credible Contender

Before Jinder Mahal won the six-pack challenge, his last televised match had been against Finn Balor. Demolished in just a few minutes, his stock in the company appeared to be on the decline. So when Mahal stood tall above five other superstars last week, many were left scratching their heads. Could Jinder Mahal really be number one contender to the WWE Championship?

Whether fans like it or not, the answer to that question is a resounding yes. Having been thrust into the main event on a whim, Mahal is without the credibility most would have at this stage. Still, WWE does have a few weeks to build the challenger up as a threat to Randy Orton. Allowing him to divulge his character on the mic is one way to accomplish this, as is having him compete. A few big wins ahead of Backlash are a logical step for Mahal, with one opponent, in particular, a perfect obstacle for him.

Because he lost the six-pack challenge due to the interference of Mahal’s new cohorts, Sami Zayn is likely looking for revenge. A victory over the new number one contender is a great way to do so, and establish Zayn as a main event star in the process. However, even though I’d like to see Zayn compete for the title, now isn’t his time. Mahal needs to ascend to the top very quickly, otherwise, fans will lose interest in the WWE Championship scene.

Can Mahal be taken seriously as number one contender? Only time will tell. You can bet he’ll be putting all his effort into making us believe it.

Next: All 26 Champions in NXT History, Ranked

What do you think will occur on SmackDown Live? Let us know in the comments below.