There are many things in WWE history we can discuss and celebrate but sometimes it’s good to be a little bit different, so here goes.
15 years ago at Judgment Day 2006, WWE icon The Undertaker faced off against the newly debuting towering giant The Great Khali in his first WWE Pay-Per-View match. What followed was a dominant – rather shockingly swift – victory for the Indian powerhouse (who, I believe, is the only person to ever pin The Undertaker with a nonchalant foot on the chest). Since then, Khali went on to have an interesting run that saw him enter some feuds with major stars and go from the Punjabi Nightmare to the Punjabi Playboy. But as WWE’s first ever Indian World Champion Khali made history and as such WWE has just announced his entry into the WWE Hall of Fame this year. While many have lamented the big guy’s admittedly limited wrestling ability over the years, the 7’1” superstar was a sight to behold in the squared circle from his monstrous debut onwards. But it is hard not to respect the man behind the fierce persona. Dalip Singh Rana through this memorable character attained great reverence in his country and has made it possible for countless Indian superstars to follow their dream in WWE (since his success, we have seen Jinder Mahal crowned WWE champion and this year WWE even held their own celebratory Indian superstar-themed WWE Network event the Superstar Spectacle – which was great), he also made a passionate comeback from potentially career-ending tumor surgery due to his love of the wrestling business and has trained numerous stars who look set to make an impact in the future of that business.
So, join us in celebrating The Great Khali’s Hall of Fame induction, with Khali’s 5 best WWE matches…
vs. Big Show (Backlash 2008)
We never got to see Big Show and Andre The Giant lock up but if we had it might resemble something like this. When this match was booked for Backlash 2008, people’s response was “seriously?” and expectations were very low to say the least. However, the build was unusual and decent, and when it came down to it, this was a genuine spectacle to witness, as two mammoths wore each other down and it was an entertaining big man smackdown. This match was Godzilla vs. Kong come to life, a Kaiju movie in a WWE ring. With submission holds and quick covers, this was one of Khali’s better wrestled matches for sure and both men looked like titans in this real life unstoppable force vs. immovable object. It was certainly one of WWE’s BIGGEST matches in history…
vs. Triple H (Summerslam 2008)
Triple H bumped like crazy in this hossfest WWE Championship encounter, which was a Summerslam match people seem to forget actually happened but if you re-visit it, you’ll find it is actually a rather fun match. Triple H sold the insurmountable odds he faced as Champ and Khali had arguably his last match where his character was the big villainous monster, before he transitioned to a comedic crowd favourite not long after. This was lightyears better than the disastrous World Heavyweight Championship match Khali had with Batista at 2007’s Summerslam and, at 10 minutes, it was a well structured and fun big match for the biggest party of the Summer.
vs. Kane vs. Batista (The Great American Bash 2007)
After winning the vacant World Heavyweight Championship in a battle Royal on Smackdown, this was The Great Khali’s first title defence and I really enjoyed this match. Batista and Kane carried much of the action, spending as much time beating each other up as they did keeping the monstrous champ out of the ring, even felling him by putting him through the announcer’s table. However once Khali came too, even these two former champions were no match and this hard-hitting triple threat ended with a dominant victory for Khali, in what was a really chaotic and enjoyable star-studded triple threat match main event from the blue brand, which never took its foot off the gas from the opening bell.
vs. John Cena - Falls Count Anywhere Match (One Night Stand 2007)
For many, this match with John Cena is the very apex of Khali’s WWE career. Coming off of an unstoppable run - despite a controversial loss to Cena at Judgment Day 2007 - and after he even decisively beat Cena clean at Saturday Night’s Main Event, Khali fit the bill as the big bad monster for “SuperCena” to slay. And indeed he did with a mighty F-U, sorry, Attitude Adjustment off of a crane onto the concrete floor, that kept the giant down for the count. This was an arena brawl and an effective one, and made for a fun main event to 2007’s extreme rules-themed PPV One Night Stand.
vs. The Undertaker - Last Man Standing (Smackdown, 18th August 2006)
Originally scheduled for Summerslam 2006 this Last Man Standing match between Khali and The Deadman (which ended their spring/summer feud) was instead shifted to Smackdown, which was a shame as this deserved the PPV spot. Khali and Taker took it to each other and brawled around the stage, with Khali even sending Taker crashing off a platform on the stage a few feet down to the floor for a seeming victory. However the demon of death valley got his second wind and wore down the giant with steel steps and a few bone-rattling chair shots, even drawing blood from this god among mortal men. It was a chokeslam that ultimately kept Khali down finally for the 10-count and this was a brutal little Last Man Standing match, with both men looking like something out of Greek Mythology as they tore each other apart with clubbing offence, big spots and weaponry. For my money, Khali’s best WWE match.
So that’s our list, is there any of The Great Khali’s WWE bouts you would have chosen over these? Let us know in the comments below.
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