Jinder Mahal was WWE Champion when matches started to be announced for the big Raw vs. Smackdown Survivor Series. On the October 17 edition of Smackdown, Jinder Mahal was in the ring with the WWE title in his hands, challenging Brock Lesnar to a match at the pay-per-view. In fact, it was one of the first matches to be announced and confirmed for Survivor Series.
In the weeks leading up to the match, Mahal talked about how he was adding 20 pounds of muscle to get ready for Lesnar, and there was a report that John Cena would be the referee of Mahal vs. Lesnar, in part because WWE (it was said) wanted to set up Mahal vs. Cena for the Royal Rumble, or perhaps even for WrestleMania.
However, plans changed during the November 7 Smackdown in Manchester, England when AJ Styles won the WWE Championship. Styles would be the one to actually face Lesnar at Survivor Series in a great match, while Mahal wasn’t even a part of the show.
It was a welcome surprise to many fans that the plans for Survivor Series shifted no dramatically, but we weren’t the only ones who were caught unaware. Mahal revealed in an interview with Wrestling Inc. exactly when he found out about the title change.
“I found the day of [Smackdown], when we got to Manchester. To be honest, I was a little disappointed, I was looking forward to that match. But I know that match is going to happen sometime in the future, and it is up to me to make sure that it happens. And I’m going to make sure that it happens. Either; as I said earlier, there are two ways you can take it. You can either say you’re going to make it happen, or write and do whatever it takes to get there, or you can pour out, boohoo, and blame someone else. But what is meant to be, was meant to be, it will be. And I’m going to make sure that it becomes.”
Mahal was disappointed that he didn’t get to the match, but he feels like it will happen at some point. Maybe he’s right. It all really depends on Lesnar’s future, because Lesnar’s WWE deal is up after the WrestleMania 34, which means he only has so many matches (and consequently, only so many opponents) left before that current contract runs out, and there’s no guarantee that he’ll re-sign.
As for the near future, Mahal gets his rematch against Styles for the WWE Championship at Clash of Champions this Sunday, December 17.