On Sunday night, Jinder Mahal became WWE Champion, to the complete shock of the vast majority of pro wrestling fans. It was rumored that this might be a possibility in the weeks leading up to the title change, and it has also been rumored that one of the reasons behind Mahal’s heightened profile is WWE’s new focus and initiative into making big strides into the Indian market.
On the latest episode of his Conversation With the Big Guy podcast, Ryback shared his puzzlement about why WWE would try to break into India in such a big way, because he doesn’t believe there’s any money to be had in that market.
He had no problems with Mahal challenging for the WWE title and has faith WWE will find a way to make money off his new main event heel status, but the appeal to India just doesn’t make sense to The Big Guy.
“I don’t know why [they’re trying to appeal to India]. They have the TV deal, but people don’t have any f–king money out there, so I don’t know why they’re trying to [appeal to that market]. I heard that the merchandise sales out there aren’t good. No s–t! Like, I’ve been to India. They don’t have money. There [are] certain people that do, but the ones that do, I’m pretty sure aren’t f–king watching fake fighting.
” … I’ve been [to India]. It is a unique place, that’s for sure. You realize how good we have it over here when you go to places like that. You realize just how overpopulated the world is and how bad [it is]. It’s bad…I’ve been there for my media appearances years ago for WWE and I had to do a mall appearance, like 13,000, 14,000 people on like a tri-level mall. They had to run me out of there. When it was over, the people started rushing the barricades and we had only one WWE security guard with me and that was it. I swear to God, it’s the only time I’d been concerned for my safety ever. And they ran me out of there, threw me in a van, and drove me straight to the airport and flew me home.”
The appeal to Indian wrestling fans has been tried before, most notably with Ring Ka King. That particular venture didn’t work out, but WWE tends to be pretty good at making money off of pro wrestling. They’ve been doing it for a little while, you know.