PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.

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-The New York Times on Friday published a lengthy feature on Jinder Mahal’s big push in WWE with a focus on WWE’s attempt to make inroads into India. Excerpt: “Mr. Dhesi, the first WWE champion of Indian descent, is a heel (wrestling speak for a villain), so it is his job to turn crowds into booing, angry mobs. As part of his persona, he exhorts the crowd with statements of cultural confrontation: that Americans are too clueless to realize that greatness comes from immigrants (and therefore, himself). The heated rhetoric often sounds like it would be at home on a cable news panel rather than a wrestling ring… WWE performers have long relied on patriotism and “us vs. them” narratives. One of the pillars of President Trump’s campaign platform was to cut down on undocumented immigration, and his charged language often linked immigration with crime, spurring protests all over the country. This month, Mr. Trump unveiled a proposal to cut legal immigration in half. Both [Mashal] and WWE executives deny that his story line was politically motivated or designed to send subtle messages, even as the company has made a large investment in becoming a global product.”

The story includes Triple H discussing their approach to incorporating current events into storylines: “We keep our finger on the pulse of pop culture,” said Paul Levesque, an executive vice president and a longtime performer, known as Triple H. “But we’re more worried about entertainment and pop culture than we are about politics and pop culture.” Stephanie McMahon more specifically said: “We really are no different than a great book, a great play, a great movie, an opera and even more applicably, a ballet. We tell stories of protagonists versus antagonists with conflict resolution. The only difference is that our conflicts are resolved inside a 20-by-20-foot ring.”

The article also gets into Mahal’s journey from being complacent and losing focus to his rise to main event heel. The article also asserts that Mahal has passed all WWE mandated drug tests after acknowledging speculation he was on steroids after he transformed his physique. According to the article, Michelle Wilson, the company’s chief revenue and marketing officer, says WWE hopes run a live event in India “for at least one event this year.” ARTICLE LINK

-Correspondent Note: The Summerslam crowd “heavily booed Roman Reigns during his ring entrance,” reports longtime PWTorch correspondent Mike Omansky, who also observed: “We saw a cameraman focusing on one pro-Reigns sign. There weren’t many at that time.” The main event caused the crowd to go “semi-ballistic for Fatal Four-way match, in spite of having been watching for over four hours. Great spectacle live. Crowd sent home happy with Brock Lesnar pinning Roman Reigns. The crowd was hot for pre-show Usos vs. New Day match and the Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose Tag Team Title win.

-A number of top Lucha Libre stars from Mexico are coming to Norristown, Penn. La Juanita Promotions presents “3L! Lucha Libre Live!” on Sept. 3 at the George Washington Carver Community Center. Top billed names include Canek Jr., Mascara Sagrada Jr., and El Hijo de Mascara Sagrada Jr. Also, top American independent wrestlers include Lucha Underground’s Cortez Castro, Ricky Reyes, “The Prince of Camden” Desean Pratt (FKA Chikara’s Amasis of the Osirian Portal), ROH’s Will Ferrara, ROH’s “Baddest Woman on the Planet” Bonesaw Jessie Brooks, The incomparable Pinkie Sanchez, the strong style lucha libre afficionado Latin Dragon, indy breakout star “All Good” Anthony Greene, and Private Party (Marq Quen & Isiah Kassidy). Check out this highlight reel of their last event HERE. More info on the event HERE. If you attend this event (or any pro wrestling event from WWE to NXT to ROH to Indy shows), send us a report to pwtorch@pwtorch.com.