In 2006, WWE introduced a giant of a man who would be an imposing figure in the company for the better part of a decade. The Great Khali, billed at 7-foot-1 and weighing in at over 340 pounds, has left a lasting impression on everyone who has ever known him.
Once a police officer in India, The Great Khali has been one of WWE’s most iconic wrestlers for the past 15 years. Brought in originally to feud with heavy-hitters like The Undertaker, John Cena and Batista, he would win the World Heavyweight Champion within two years.
Between his imposing size, his signature moves such as the chokebomb, the head chop and the vicegrip, he laid waste to some of wrestling’s biggest stars during his career. It was no great shock that WWE chose to make him one of the inductees into their Hall of Fame in 2021.
A multitude of factors limited his career afterwards until his departure in 2017. While his career in the company has long since been over, The Great Khali has found no shortage of ways to keep himself employed.
Let’s take a look into one of WWE’s biggest stars – in more ways than one:
Who is The Great Khali?
Dalip Singh Rana was born in Dhiraina, Himachal Pradesh, India in 1972 and was one of seven children. Unfortunately, he was born with a condition known as acromegaly, which caused him to develop gigantism at a young age. Coming from a poor family, he worked odd jobs to make ends meet before finding work as a security guard in the early 1990s.
Rana became a police officer in 1993 and was later convinced to start training in local gyms to become a wrestler. It wouldn’t be too long before his incredible size caught the attention of some very interested parties in the United States.
How did The Great Khali rise to prominence?
From 2000 to 2006, Rana worked under the name “Giant Singh” in wrestling promotions all over the world. He worked with WCW, NJPW, APW, CMLL and AJPW for years before getting his big break in 2006.
Rana signed a developmental contract in January of that year – the first person of Indian descent to receive such a deal with the company – and was making his debut on national television within three months. With Daivari as his manager, “The Great Khali” debuted on April 7, 2006, attacking The Undertaker to begin the first of several feuds with the WWE legend.
The Great Khali defeated The Undertaker several times before losing to him in a Last Man Standing match in August, his first loss with the company. He would spend the rest of the year growing his profile by destroying opponents everywhere.
2006 was the year he made his presence known. 2007 was where he would finally claim championship gold.
How did The Great Khali win his first world championship?
Khali started the year 2007 by feuding with WWE star Kane, culminating in a match between the two at WrestleMania 23. After beating Kane, Khali set his sights on then-WWE champion John Cena.
Despite beating Cena in several non-title bouts, Khali couldn’t wrest the title away. After suffering his first-ever pinfall loss to Cena at One Night Stand in 2007, he was moved to the Smackdown brand, and began to feud with Batista.
But an injury to Edge, the World Heavyweight Champion at the time, forced the champion to vacate the title, resulting in a Battle Royal to determine the new champion. Despite going up against 19 other opponents, Khali eliminated Kane and Batista at the same time, winning the match to become the World Heavyweight Champion.
With his win, The Great Khali would become the first person of Indian descent to win a world title in WWE.
He would hold the belt for 61 days before losing it to Batista at the Unforgiven pay-per-view event. Khali would spend the next year feuding with top stars and challenging for various world titles, but he would never win another title in WWE.
How did The Great Khali’s WWE career end?
Late in 2008 and starting in 2009, WWE rebranded Khali with a more fun persona, “The Punjabi Playboy,” who would kiss female audience members and WWE superstars alike before and after matches.
Between 2009 and 2014, Khali would engage in some short-lived feuds and did not compete quite as much. Injuries mounted due to his enormous frame, and he desired more time off to spend with his family.
His final match in WWE came on October 31, 2014. He lost to Rusev on an episode of Smackdown! and his contract expired a few weeks later.
The Great Khali would return to make a few appearances in 2017, and even competed in The Greatest Royal Rumble in 2018. But he has not wrestled for WWE since.
What else has The Great Khali done besides wrestling?
Believe it or not, Dalip Singh Rana actually has a few respectable Hollywood movie credits. And prominent ones too.
Rana made his cinematic debut as Turley in Adam Sandler’s remake of The Longest Yard in 2005. He also had brief roles in Get Smart and MacGruber, along with a few television roles, before setting his sights on Bollywood.
Between 2010 and 2012, Rana appeared in the movies Kushti and Ramaa: The Survivor.
Who are The Great Khali’s wife and daughter?
WWE spent several years billing The Great Khali as “The Punjabi Playboy,” but he had been off the market for nearly a decade by then.
He married actress Harminder Kaur all the way back in 2002. The two had their first child – daughter Alveen Rana – in 2014. And it’s clear from Rana’s Instagram that he loves spending time with them.
What is The Great Khali’s net worth?
Between his success in WWE, the movies, and his other current ventures, Rana is living a very comfortable lifestyle these days. He has an estimated net worth of $6 million and seems to spend it well.
His frequent posts on Instagram show off a modest house with all the amenities a former professional wrestler needs. A gym, some comically small motorcycles and a very classy wardrobe.
Where is The Great Khali now?
Despite leaving WWE in 2014, Rana wasn’t quite done wrestling. He returned to India and opened his own wrestling school in Punjab called Continental Wrestling Entertainment. The brand held its first event in December 2015 and had Khali win the CWE World Heavyweight Championship in February 2016.
On March 24, 2021, WWE announced that The Great Khali will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2021.
Few figures in sports entertainment are as recognizable as Dalip Singh Rana, aka The Great Khali. He will go down in history a trailblazer for Indian professional wrestlers, one of the all-time great “giants” in professional wrestling, and perhaps one of the all-time great people to have worked for the company.
We wish him luck in all of his future endeavors.
The post The Great Khali: What Is The Former WWE Star Up To Now? appeared first on The Spun.