The Great Khali is rumored to make a return at WWE’s Battleground pay-per-view tonight.
This comes from Sportskeeda, which reported on Sunday that Khali is expected to be at tonight’s pay-per-view. It’s not clear if this is actually going to happen, but the rumor is that he’ll get involved in the Punjabi Prison match between Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton.
The Great Khali is a former WWE superstar who hasn’t been around for three years now, so for those viewers who may not have been watching when he was active, here’s a brief refresher on why his return tonight would be significant.
1. He Joined the WWE in 2006
The Great Khali signed a WWE contract in January 2006, becoming the first Indian wrestler to do so. He had previously performed for New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Khali made his debut on SmackDown in April 2006, attacking The Undertaker during his match against Mark Henry. He was introduced as a client of Shawn Daivari, who had recruited Khali to destroy The Undertaker.
The Great Khali subsequently spent seven years with the WWE. His final match ended up being a pretty standard one against Rusev on SmackDown in October 2014. His contract expired a few weeks later, and he has not been seen on WWE programming since.
After leaving WWE, The Great Khali opened a wrestling school in Punjab called Continental Wrestling Entertainment.
2. He Was Once World Heavyweight Champion
The Great Khali had one championship reign during his time with the WWE.
He won the World Heavyweight Championship in July 2007 in a 20-man battle royal, which was held after Edge vacated the title. Khali subsequently retained his title at SummerSlam, although he lost the match.
Khali held on to the World Heavyweight Championship until September of that year, when he lost to Batista at Unforgiven. He then challenged Batista to a rematch in a Punjabi Prison match at No Mercy, but Batista won and retained the title.
Khali would never end up winning another WWE championship.
Not everyone was a fan of The Great Khali during the height of his WWE career; in 2007, he was named most overrated by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
3. He Is 7’1″
The Great Khali generally towers over everyone he shares the ring with, as he is 7’1″. In addition, he is billed at 347 pounds.
Khali suffers from a condition known as acromegaly, which causes gigantism. In 2012, he had a tumor removed; this tumor developed on his pituitary gland and caused his acromegaly, according to ABC News.
Andre the Giant, who was 7’5″, also suffered from acromegaly, and he ultimately died of heart failure in 1993. Those with acromegaly have an increased risk of suffering from health issues like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
4. He Is a Former Officer for the Punjab State Police
Before coming to the WWE, The Great Khali was actually a police officer.
According to Sportskeeda, Khali grew up in the village of Dhiraina in Himachal Pradesh, and due to his abnormal height, he received the attention of the Punjab Police and he ultimately decided to become an officer.
While he was serving in the Punjab Police, Khali began bodybuilding, and when he started to catch some World Wrestling Federation programming in the late 1990s, he knew that this is what he wanted to pursue next.
In 2009, Khali was suspended by the Punjab Police for going on an unauthorized leave, according to Wrestling Inc.
5. The Punjabi Prison Match Was His Idea
The Punjabi Prison match itself originated during a feud between The Great Khali and The Undertaker.
Before The Great American Bash 2006, The Great Khali challenged The Undertaker to the brand new Punjabi Prison match type. This made sense, as The Great Khali is from India himself.
However, at Great American Bash, Khali was not cleared to compete due to a legitimate liver issue. The Punjabi Prison match was still held, but instead, it was between Big Show and The Undertaker.
A year later, Khali finally got to have his Punjabi Prison match at No Mercy 2007, when he faced Batista.
This is why The Great Khali returning tonight would be significant: he would be showing up during the match type that he created. Khali also previously had a storyline with Jinder Mahal in 2011, first feuding with him, then forming an alliance, and then feuding again. This ended with Khali defeating Mahal multiple times on SmackDown.