You’re a wrestling promotion with two professional athletes, a viral internet meme, an international television star, and a former WWE Champion. It sounds like the making of a massive faction, but instead, WWE is embarrassing itself with its booking of Indus Sher. Sanga, Veer Mahaan, and Jinder Mahal were rumored to be getting a massive push ahead of WWE’s return to India.
The trio debuted on Raw with Jinder as the admittedly quiet mouthpiece for Sanga and Veer as they decimated enhancement challengers for a month. That led to a ludicrously competitive match against the on-again-off-again remnants of the Hurt Business in Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin. They injured Cedric in that match and then disappeared. The trio returned for a nonsensical vignette on Raw on July 10th and has done nothing of note since. Some argue that this is just the three stars natural place on the card. If that were the case, then it wouldn’t be embarrassing that WWE can’t seem to get this group right.
Indus Sher Should Be a Much Bigger Deal
The first real contentious point for whether WWE is embarrassing itself with its booking of Indus Sher is your opinion of Sanaga, Veer, and the controversial Jinder Mahal. Jinder won a shocking WWE championship in 2017, his first-ever title in the company. Most fans don’t look back on this fondly, with some considering him the worst world champion ever and openly calling it the worst booking of a major WWE title. While that doesn’t necessarily bear out in the facts, it could explain the lack of support from the trio. However, the counterpoint is that good or bad, Mahal is a former WWE champion leading a new faction.
Likewise, his faction mates are great on paper. Veer Mahaan, a former pro athlete first and foremost, went viral in the lead-up to his debut. While it was primarily due to poor phrasing, he did get a massive ovation when he finally came to Raw, and everyone knew his name. His background is that of a professional athlete in India, further adding to his credentials. The only member of Indus Sher new to the main roster fans is Sanaga. Sanaga, though, was a kickboxer and television actor before joining the WWE, which is a resume a wrestling promotion could usually only dream of.
The three men are physically huge and have a presence on the way to the ring. Their resumes and appearance warrant far more of a concentrated push than they get, which WWE constantly admits by the way they talk about Indus Sher. Whenever they are on screen, the commentary is quick to call out the dominance of Veer or the experience of Jinder. The narrative around the group is that this team is a threat, but nobody sees it that way. Back in NXT, this worked. Veer and Jinder had main roster experience, and fans have been conditioned to know that a main roster guy, especially a former champion, threatens NXT talent. Just saying the trio was a significant threat was all they needed. On the main roster, though, that sort of ploy is embarrassing. It doesn’t make Indus Sher look any better, but it does make commentary look foolish.
The Booking Doesn’t Make Any Sense
Part of Jinder Mahal’s initial rise, and the creation of Indus Sher after that, was to tap into the massive wrestling fanbase in India. However, beyond their lack of television time overall, WWE is embarrassing itself with its booking of Indus Sher when they are on our screens. Jinder Mahal is often in the conversation online about the worst champions. Not everyone sees it that way, but everyone can agree his run with the Singh Brothers was a much bigger deal in India and the United States than Indus Sher, which is inarguably the better group. It came down to giving them a reason, in that case, a bad one, to behave the way they were.
If you’re looking to utilize just three men to launch your product into a relatively new market, they need to be a big deal, and we need to know what makes them tick. Getting fans to pay and see their favorites is easier; even a strong heel run could work. Bret Hart was a heel everywhere, but his home country of Canada, and that scheme worked just fine for selling out shows in the Great White North and everywhere else. Unlike Bret Hart, there has been no focus on Indus Sher as a group of heroes or a force of villainy in WWE. This is about more than just a lack of time too.
Their message was unclear when they first got a shot to appear on Raw. They took out Cedric Alexander, who has not been clearly defined as a face or heel in years. Likewise, Mahal, the group’s speaker, didn’t say a word before, during, or after their match. When he did speak weeks later in a vignette, it was more rambling than anything else. It was a throwback to some of the worst Wyatt Family promos without any context to help it make sense. If WWE wants to get fans, even fans just begging to be excited, and invested in Indus Sher, they need to have an apparent reason for being together and a clear message to whoever WWE decides their enemies are. Without it, they provide bad television and nothing more.
A Credible Indus Sher Would be Good for Business
A strong Indus Sher would be good for business even outside of running a live event in India. WWE is going through a factions revival at the moment. After years of watching NJPW and, more recently, AEW do factions the right way, the team at WWE is starting to see the benefit. The Bloodline faction is the company’s best story in years; Judgment Day created four new stars out of four very different performers. Recently, Bobby Lashley appears to be hunting for new allies, and Imperium is hitting its stride. Having groups gets more talent involved, and if done correctly, can create engaging content for attracting fans over time. Indus Sher could play a role in this change. Likewise, with Roman Reigns and the Bloodline on their way out, there could be some shifting power dynamics at the top of the card, and a new faction would be the easiest way to fill the hole on the island of relevancy.
Like Roman and his family, Indus Sher comes from backgrounds typically underrepresented in media. Jinder Mahal has recently talked himself about representation in WWE. That is a meaningful conversation, and Jinder points out that South Asian cultures are still underrepresented in the WWE Universe while putting an optimistic tone out there about the future of representation in wrestling and inclusivity in WWE. While sharing Jinder’s optimism or not, he is right that Indus Sher does matter.
Possibly the only booking decision WWE has made that isn’t embarrassing is that the trio is not a parody of an Indian trope. Yes, they rely heavily on their shared culture. Jinder makes it sound like he, Veer, and Sanga are excited about that aspect. While their restraint in relying on evil foreigner tropes is commendable (given how often they fall into it still), a genuinely equal representation needs another level. WWE doesn’t get commended for ensuring the Usos and Solo aren’t playing the Umaga character. They get it for providing some of the best storytelling a group can produce. While it may be something other than world-title caliber, Indus Sher can do more. That they haven’t when so much conventional wisdom says they should is less an indictment on them and more an embarrassment on the part of WWE.
Does Anyone Care That WWE is Embarrassing Itself With Its Booking of Indus Sher?
Most American fans would be hard-pressed to say they care much about the success or failure of a Jinder Mahal story. However, Indus Sher and its members have their fans. Check out WWE’s Social Media, and India WWE has its own accounts with thousands of people engaging, almost all of them being fans of Indus Sher. Most of the engagement on their personal profile is overwhelmingly positive, which anyone with a social media account knows is very difficult to do. So yes, the answer is that people are rooting for Indus Sher but not for anything that WWE has done. The promotion can correct that, though, and give the members of the WWE Universe, holding out hope for Jinder, Veer, and Sanga, something to cheer for if they look at their obvious talent and commit to giving us something worth watching.