Before you make any conclusions, realize that this article is written by an Indian writer.
Numerous wrestling fans from various countries often have the same opinion about the Great Khali, which always go like this. “The Great Khali is horrible, but everyone in India loves him.” This opinion has been the norm for multiple years, beginning from when the Great Khali debuted in the WWE. Often called boring and monotonous, the Great Khali received criticism from everywhere: article, media, fans and sometimes even the backstage wrestlers. But, the excuse for keeping the Great Khali is always the same: he makes money of off India, so it’s completely alright. But listen, is it alright?
For those who have not been watching wrestling for years, and do not know who the Great Khali is, I envy you, and two, here’s a description of the Punjabi Playboy.
Dalip Singh Rana (born 27 August 1972), better known by his ring name The Great Khali, is an Indian American professional wrestler, actor, and powerlifter. He is currently working for WWE.
He debuted alongside Daivari and had alliances with Ranjin Singh and Jinder Mahal. However he spent most of his career as a singles superstar and in 2007 he became the World Heavyweight Champion.
Before embarking on his professional wrestling career, he was a police officer in the Punjab state police. He has appeared in four Hollywood films as well as two Bollywood films.
All those six movies, and his countless matches have been painful to watch, yet, other fans have always stereotyped everything Khali does as, “it sucks, but the Indians enjoy it”. The Great Khali was born in Himachal Pradesh, a state in India, in a family with seven kids, including Dalip. He has wrestled in NJPW, which was a shock to many, and finally made it to the WWE, where him being a giant and an Indian helped him a lot. Feuding with the biggest dog in the WWE at first, the Undertaker and Khali had an average feud, with Khali squashing and dominating, yet losing to the Undertaker.
After multiple squashes with Rey Mysterio and others, he moved to WWECW, where he continued his dominating run, and has also won the World Title. After losing the World Title, Khali has been relegated to unfunny story-lines and random pairings; and that’s when the fans wonder: is it really beneficial to keep the Punjabi Playboy on the roster? After being asked this question, most of you say: he brings Indian money, so he deserves his spot. The Indians love him, so Vince keeps him etc.
My reply to your answer is a big, 7ft, 400lbs, “NO!”. Being an Indian and currently living in India, I can assure you that the Great Khali has possibly no fans. Also, in India, the PPVs air a week late, while RAW airs ten days late. Smackdown airs a week late, yet NXT and Superstars are televised, and Main Event and Saturday Morning SLAM are not. Also, the pay-per-view events are free in India, thus barely earning any money from the Indian market. Also, there are barely one or two stores in India which sell official WWE merchandise, while the others sell fake shirts for a cheaper price. On a relevant note too, the stores absolutely do not have Khali shirts and hoodies.
Am I saying that the Great Khali absolutely sucks and EVERYONE in India dislikes him too? No, the Indian fans simply do not care about Dalip Singh Rana, and what he does inside the WWE ring.
Note: the following survey was done with the age group of 12-18, thus including all the teens and the kids. Adults are usually not fans of the so-called “fight” taking place on their TV sets. In India, it’s usually the kids who religiously follow the product.
On a survey conducted with around thirty-odd WWE fans, here are the most liked superstars from India:
- John Cena (16 votes)
- Randy Orton (7 votes)
- Sheamus (5 votes)
- Sin Cara/Rey Mysterio (1 vote)
- Kane (1 vote)
Do you find anything similar with all these stars: It’s simple. They all are faces. Didn’t get it? Here’s an easy one for you to understand: Indian fans are not aware of kayfabe.
Cena wins all the time, and thus the fans believe that yes, John Cena is the best, and not a force to be reckoned with. Randy Orton comes a close second, with Sheamus being the third, due to their “we can’t be beat” stature, which captures the imagination of WWE fans in India. The Great Khali is hardly on Raw, competes in gimmick matches with unfunny partners, and thus, the fans barely give a poop about their first-ever Indian superstar. Therefore, for those of you who believe that the Great Khali is money, and the Indians care for him, think once again, cause you’re wrong, and the Great Khali is not the lovable Indian as you imagine him to be.