The Great Khali: Words from an Indian fan September 5, 2007Posted by skribbel24 in WWE.
The Great Khali is the WWE World heavyweight champion.
This is the same title that was held by guys like Triple H, Kurt Angle, Rey Mysterio, Undertaker, and Edge–superstars who have electrified fans around the world not only because of their comic book hero looks, but also their in-ring abilities.
Enter the Great Khali. An intimidating 7-foot monster, probably the meanest-looking giant of all. In a sport that saw its share of giants (Andre, Big Show, Giant Gonzales, etc.), no one has ever seen a man whose height is matched by the muscles in his body. Andre and Big Show weren’t exactly bodybuilding candidates, and Giant Gonzales’ physique was laughable. But Khali? Man, that’s the kind of guy you don’t want to face in a dark alley.
Unfortunately, for many critics, the attraction for Khali ends there. Lackluster match after lackluster match, it became evident especially to Internet fans that Khali had quite a presence but, unlike the former World champions, couldn’t perform in the ring.
Granted, Khali is slowly gaining fans. I like watching Khali in the ring, although I must admit as a wrestler he is definitely no Shawn Michaels. Unfortunately, he is still criticized by many.
We turn to India, the birthplace of Dalip Singh, where wrestling is as big as anywhere else. After I posted that Khali had just won the World title, the reactions took me by surprise. That post became the most viewed article on my blog and generated several comments from the fans of India, voicing out their pride and support for the Great Khali. And why not? They know Khali’s story better than we do. Here are words from amitdoc2b, a WrestlingFigs.com forums member and a wrestling fan:
I’m Indian. The Great Khali isn’t like a superstar in India like some of their big named Bollywood actors (i.e. Aishwarya Rai, Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Akshay Kumar) – but he certainly is known by the wrestling population [as much as an American would know their wrestlers].Watching WWE is pretty big in India just like it is here. They did a segment on an Indian news channel (Aaj Taak, the CNN equivalent to India) showing Khali winning the championship. After all, its the first time an Indian has been a champ in the WWE after all those years of watching – it is inspirational, wouldn’t it be to you if you were from a foreign country and never saw someone from your homeland in the show?
Also, Khali was dirt poor.. completely homeless. He was eventually given a job as a police officer because of his size. But he was like the lowest rank of them, and the money is still like 10X less than the minimum wage here.
To see him make it this far as an Indian is inspirational for others who are in the same situation there. He also plans to open some sort of wrestling camp there (yea yea I know the jokes are coming about him teaching wrestling, but its the thought that counts). He also donates a lot of money and time to the unfortunate.
So yea, he does deserve to be a hero. But if you’re asking if he’s one of the big stars of India – not even close. Kinda like here, if you ask 10 random people who Triple H is – nobody the heck will know who he is unless they watch wrestling.
Khali’s background, from his early beginnings to how he became a champion, is an eye-opening story and makes me appreciate him. I also relate to what was said about the news channel showing Khali being the first Indian champion. I’m Filipino, and Batista is half-Filipino, so when he won the World title, tattooed our flag on his arm, and visited the Philippines, he was treated like a national hero.
Sometimes what a wrestler does outside of the ring is more important than what he does inside the ring. I’ve become more of a Khali fan now than I ever was before I posted that blog about the title win.