Tonight at WWE Battleground, Randy Orton will face Jinder Mahal in a Punjabi Prison match. During the buildup to this event, it has been repeatedly stated that this is a particularly brutal match type that has only occurred a few times in WWE history. So when were those previous instances of Punjabi Prison matches? And how did those matches end up going?
There have only ever been two Punjabi Prison matches in WWE history, the first being between The Undertaker and Big Show at Great American Bash on July 23rd, 2006. This was originally planned as a match between The Great Khali and The Undertaker. The Great Khali, after all, is from India, and this was to be the debut of his own gimmick match, the Punjabi Prison.
However, The Great Khali ended up not being able to compete because in real life, he was suffering from a liver issue. So during the pay-per-view, Big Show suddenly attacked The Undertaker backstage, and Teddy Long decided to change the match at the last minute to be The Undertaker vs. Big Show, while keeping the Punjabi Prison gimmick the same.
As was explained going into this match, the rules are that the competitors must escape from the two bamboo cages, and the first person who has both feet touching the floor wins. There are also doors that can be opened at a wrestler’s request. At Great American Bash, after a brawl inside the inner cage, The Undertaker was the one to escape this first cage, but then Big Show made it out too, and they started fighting outside of the first cage but inside of the second cage. Big Show then threw The Undertaker back inside the inner cage and locked him inside, proceeding to climb the outside cage. But then The Undertaker climbed the inner cage and jumped over to the top of the outer cage, dropkicking Big Show off. Finally, Big Show tossed The Undertaker through the outer cage, but because he hit the ground first, he won.
Another Punjabi Prison match took place the following year at No Mercy on October 7th, 2007. This time, The Great Khali actually did get to participate, with this being a match between Khali and Batista with the World Heavyweight Championship on the line. Weapons were utilized during this match, with both Batista and Khali hitting each other with leather straps. All four of the doors ended up being locked. The match concluded when Khali was climbing the outer cage close to victory, only for Batista to climb the inner cage, jump to the outer cage to overtake Khali, make it over the other side, and retain his championship.
It has now been almost 10 years since a Punjabi Prison match was held. Because this match has only ever happened twice, when Jinder Mahal announced that he would be selecting this as the type of match to face Randy Orton in, some newer fans were confused. The WWE has since gone out of its way to really break down what exactly a Punjabi Prison match is, even bringing the actual structure to SmackDown Live this past week so that viewers could get a preview of Sunday’s events.
Really, the Punjabi Prison match isn’t all that different in function from a steel cage match, other than there being two cages to escape rather than one.
WWE Battleground will air tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the WWE Network.