April 9, 2006’s Smackdown main event was a match between the Undertaker and Mark Henry. It would turn out to be something very different.
As Undertaker was fighting Henry, Daivari (Muhammad Hassan’s former manager) headed down to the ring with a new client. This man was even taller than the Undertaker and had a mean look about him. Longtime wrestling fans recognized him as Dalip Singh from UPW, while movie fans recognized him from the Longest Yard. Singh destroyed Undertaker and then posed over him to close the show.
The next week we got a video recap of the Undertaker’s encounter with the newly-named Great Khali. That was followed by Daivari bringing Khali out to talk about how great Khali was.
A week later, Khali made his wrestling debut by fighting Funaki. It was a complete squash.
The following episode of Smackdown showed a Khali interview where Daivari talked about how Khali had destroyed Undertaker’s spirit.
Teddy Long tracked down Khali on the next week’s episode and told him that Undertaker had challenged him to a match at Judgment Day. Khali quickly signed the contract.
Later in the night, Kid Kash, Nunzio, and Super Crazy were in a match to determine the number one contender for the Cruiserweight title. Super Crazy had just gained control of the match when Khali came out and destroyed all three men (well, four, counting Nunzio’s manager Vito). At the end of the show, JBL informed Rey Misterio that he would be facing Khali the next week.
The match happened the next week as Khali easily destroyed the WWE world champion.
Daivari brought out Khali the next week for an interview. Unfortunately, whatever Khali yelled into the microphone was completely unintelligible (a recurring theme in this feud).
That brought us to Judgment Day. Khali wound up defeating the Undertaker after hitting him with a big chop.
Khali vanished for a week but returned on the following episode as a guest on Piper’s Pit. Needless to say, the segment soon deteriorated as Piper slapped Khali. Khali headbutted Piper and stood over him as the show went to a commercial.
The next week’s show opened with Super Crazy taking on Brian Kendrick. After Super Crazy won, Khali hit the ring and destroyed Crazy, Kendrick, Psicosis, and Paul London.
Khali faced off against the Mexicools (Super Crazy and Psicosis) in a handicap match the next week. It didn’t take long for Psicosis to decide he’d had enough and clear out, leaving Super Crazy to take the pin.
The next episode saw Simon Dean facing off against Tatanka. Khali didn’t care, as he headed to the ring and destroyed them both. He rubbed it in the Undertaker’s face by performing Undertaker’s signature pin on Simon Dean.
Khali had a week off but returned to face Tatanka. He quickly booted Tatanka off the apron and then he and Daivari started putting Tatanka in a handy nearby casket. They were stopped as the lights started flashing and the Undertaker’s voice came out of nowhere to accept a Punjabi Prison Match at the Great American Bash.
The next week Daivari and Khali headed to the ring to continue challenging the Undertaker. They were answered as the Undertaker appeared in the middle of the ring and got into a staredown with Khali.
That brought us to the July Saturday Night’s Main Event. Khali and Daivari were in the ring when the Big Show headed down with Paul Heyman by his side. The Show verbally put Khali over, and then the lovefest was interrupted as the Undertaker headed to the ring. As Undertaker prepared to chokeslam Khali, Khali and Show grabbed him and chokeslammed him instead.
The next episode of ECW saw Undertaker challenging ECW champion Big Show. As Undertaker took control, Khali came out and started brawling with Undertaker in the aisle. It didn’t take long for Big Show to join in the fun. In the end, Khali and Show put Undertaker through the announce table.
Daivari and Khali came out on Smackdown to continue verbally assaulting the Undertaker.
That brought us to the Great American Bash where the Undertaker entered the Punjabi Prison match against
The Big Show.
No, that is not a typo. The problem was that days before this show, several Smackdown wrestlers (including Super Crazy, Lashley, and Khali) were found to have elevated liver enzymes and were not allowed to compete. Storyline wise, Big Show attacked Undertaker backstage and Teddy switched him into the match instead of Khali.
The story on the match was that it was patterned after a prison that Khali had worked at and consisted of a bamboo cage surrounding the ring. There were four doors which would be opened for sixty seconds only. The match tanked and Undertaker wound up winning.
The main event of the August 8th show was the Undertaker vs. King Booker. Undertaker had just hit a chokeslam when Khali appeared and attacked him. Khali posed over the downed Undertaker, but a livid Undertaker rose to his feet and fought Khali out of the ring. Afterward, Undertaker challenged Khali to a last man standing match at Summerslam.
The next show opened with Khali and Daivari talking about how Undertaker wouldn’t even show up for the last man standing match. Undertaker appeared and attacked. After chokeslamming Khali, he disappeared again.
Later Daivari complained to Smackdown GM Teddy Long about the attack. Long canceled the Summerslam match, instead moving it to the next week’s show.
The match happened the next week as promised. With the help of a chair, Undertaker put Khali away.
And that was the end of our long national nightmare. Well, for two months anyway, when Khali showed back up again on ECW.
This is a perfect example of what happens when the WWE decides to cram something down the fans’ respective throats. Khali was never a great wrestler and was only brought up because of his size. This may explain why the last man standing match was moved from Summerslam to a regular broadcast.
The Punjabi Prison match was another ridiculous turn. The WWE spends weeks hyping it as Khali’s specialty, and then he can’t even participate in it for medical reasons. Rather than push that match back to a time when he would be able to participate, they rushed Big Show into it.
Overall, the entire feud was a waste of time and the viewers didn’t care. From what I’ve seen of fans’ reactions to the Great Khali, the WWE viewing audience would be happy if he never showed up again.
The Undertaker remains with the WWE today. He is on the Smackdown brand, and is currently the WWE World Heavyweight champion.
Khali resurfaced in ECW at the end of October. His stay wasn’t long, as he made his way to Raw by early January where he remains today, despite a recent inter-brand feud with Kane.