At the WWE’s Battleground pay-per-view on Sunday, The Great Khali returned, helping Jinder Mahal defeat Randy Orton in a Punjabi Prison match. This was his first time on WWE programming in almost three years, so what has The Great Khali been up to since then?
A few months after he left the WWE in 2014, The Great Khali opened up his own wrestling promotion and training academy in India called Continental Wrestling Entertainment. They had their first show in December 2015, and they have their headquarters in Jalandhar, Punjab.
The month of that first wrestling show, Khali told The Times of India that he was working at Continental Wrestling Entertainment from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m..
In interviews, Khali has said that he wanted to help wrestling grow in India, also wanting to ensure that he is not the last WWE superstar from India.
“I don’t want to be the last Indian who became a WWE star,” he told The Times of India. “Many of those who have achieved a lot feel threatened by the fact that young talents will surpass their feats, and that’s why they don’t encourage them. I have a different theory. I want my students to outshine me.”
He has also said that he wants to help young people in India and give them an alternative to drugs.
“My primary intention is to provide an alternative to the younger generation in India, and get their minds away from alcohol and drugs,” he told Sportskeeda. “I want to get them into sports, and see that India produces more athletes like The Great Khali.”
In another interview with 101 India, Khali said that opening up a wrestling school was always a goal of his.
“I always used to think, if there would’ve been a wrestling academy in India when I got into it, I wouldn’t have faced these problems back then,” Khali told 101 India. “I used to think about this during those days. If I ever make it big, I’ll build an academy myself.”
The Great Khali’s final match in the WWE was on October 28th, 2014. This was on an episode of SmackDown, during which Rusev defeated The Great Khali; although the episode was taped on the 28th, it aired on the 31st.
Khali’s final match wasn’t really anything particularly noteworthy. But his contract expired a few days later, and he did not re-sign. With that, he disappeared from WWE programming, never getting any formal send off.
In 2016, Khali told Youth Ki Awaaz that he would return to the WWE, partially because he feels that the company has been failing in India.
This interview was conducted in June 2016, and presumably The Great Khali feels differently now. After all, since he left, Jinder Mahal has since received a major push and has held onto his WWE Championship for two months. Now, The Great Khali, the first Indian wrestler to be signed by the WWE, has returned to help the “Modern Day Maharaja” stay on top.