This past Sunday at WWE’s Battleground pay-per-view, The Great Khali made a shocking return to help Jinder Mahal win the Punjabi Prison match.
This marked The Great Khali’s first time on WWE programming in three years, but as viewers may recall, it hardly marks The Great Khali’s first time in a storyline with Jinder Mahal.
Ahead of tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live, here’s a look back at the relationship between Jinder Mahal and The Great Khali.
1. Jinder Mahal Confronted The Great Khali as Part of His First Storyline
Jinder Mahal’s first storyline ever was with The Great Khali back in 2011.
On the April 29th, 2011 episode of SmackDown, Jinder Mahal spoke with The Great Khali and Khali’s manager, Ranjin Singh, backstage. Speaking in Punjabi, Mahal said that he was excited to meet them. But a week later, Mahal confronted Singh and said that he has not been a good manager for Khali.
The following week, Jinder Mahal interrupted a segment of Khali Kiss Cam, slapping The Great Khali. Then, a week later, he interrupted a match between The Great Khali and Jey Uso.
Jinder Mahal at this point was firmly established as a heel character.
2. They Briefly Formed an Alliance Before Feuding
For a brief time after these confrontations, Jinder Mahal and The Great Khali formed an alliance, teaming up in tag matches to take on opponents like Tag Team Champions Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston.
However, the alliance did not last long, and after losing to Bourne and Kingston a second time, Khali ended his relationship with Mahal.
Not long after, Mahal attacked The Great Khali during a match, and their feud resumed. They had a singles match on SmackDown on September 23rd, with Khali being declared the winner.
After that, the feud ended for a bit, but it was revived at the 2012 Royal Rumble, when The Great Khali eliminated Jinder Mahal. This led to another match on SmackDown, which Khali again won.
3. They Are Kayfabe Brothers-in-Law
Jason Jordan was recently revealed to be Kurt Angle’s kayfabe son, but Jinder Mahal and The Great Khali are within the same fictional family too.
After all, not long after Jinder Mahal was introduced into the WWE, it was revealed that his character is married to The Great Khali’s sister, making them kayfabe brothers-in-law.
Of course, they aren’t actually brothers-in-law in real life, and this idea of Mahal being married to Khali’s sister was invented for the purposes of television.
This is not something that has been brought up in quite some time, and so it’s unclear whether the WWE will continue this going forward or whether it will completely drop the brother-in-law angle.
4. Mahal Says He is Close Friends With Khali in Real Life
Jinder Mahal has said that in real life, he and The Great Khali are very good friends.
In fact, he told Times of India that Khali is “like an older brother to me” and that they speak a few times a week. He also said that Khali called him immediately after he won the WWE Championship.
“He is very proud that I am continuing the legacy of Indian WWE champions and hopefully there are many more WWE champions from India in the future,” Mahal said. “He is very supportive and he is one of the first people I asked for advice when I first started my career here in the WWE. He is my go to guy; I can ask him questions, advice, support anything.”
In a separate interview with Sportskeeda, Mahal said, “He’s my role model in wrestling. I see the success that Khali has had and how he’s represented India so well, in such a positive light, becoming champion.”
When The Great Khali joined the WWE in 2006, he became the first Indian wrestler to receive a WWE contract. He has since opened up his own wrestling school in India.
5. Mahal Previously Said He Wants to Wrestle With Khali in a Tag Team Match
Just last month, Jinder Mahal said in an interview that he would love to see The Great Khali come back to the WWE, and that if he does, he wants them to form a tag team.
“Yeah I would love to see Great Khali back to the WWE,” Mahal told Sportskeeda. “I think it would be awesome when WWE comes back to India you know, maybe I and Khali can tag together. It would be fun to be a tag team together you know against whoever; Roman Reigns, John Cena, Randy Orton.”
When this interview was given, the plans for The Great Khali’s return were probably not in motion, and it’s unclear whether he and Mahal actually will form a tag team. However, rumor has it that Khali will be used in at least one upcoming match, potentially at SummerSlam.