May 19, 2006
The Great Khali
REAL NAME: Dalip Singh
Born in India, Dalip Singh worked as a road laborer and police officer for the Punjab Police Department before turning to bodybuilding, winning the title of Mr. India in 1997-98. Immigrating to the United States in 1999, Singh trained to become a pro wrestler at the All Pro Wrestling Boot Camp. Known as the Giant Singh, he made his debut on October 7, 2000, teaming with Tony Jones against the West Side Playaz 2000.
In May 2001, Singh was training with another All Pro wrestler Brian Ong, who took a flapjack move from Singh. Somehow, the move went wrong, leading to a severe injury to Ong; compounded with previous injuries and concussions, Ong died a few days later. A lawsuit against APW and Singh resulted in a $1.3 award of damages.
In August 2001, Singh headed to Japan to compete in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Masahiro Chono led Singh and Giant Silva into battle as Club 7. The tallest tag team in wrestling history, Club 7 gained some early victories, including defeating Yutaka Yoshie, Kenzo Suzuki, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Wataru Inoue in their debut at the Tokyo Dome on October 8, 2991 but soon began to suffer several key defeats, including in the semi-final round of the IWGP Tag Team tournament on March 17, 2002. Silva eventually turned on Singh and defeated him at Tokyo Nippon Budokan in August 2002.
Singh also gained famed outside of the wrestling ring, appearing in the 2005 Adam Sandler film The Longest Yard which featured other pro wrestling stars including Steve Austin, Goldberg and Kevin Nash.
Signed to a WWE developmental contract on January 2, 2006, Singh spent some time in Deep South Wrestling. He initially came to the aid of Tommy Dreamer who was being attacked by Freakin' Deacon and Palmer Cannon, but would just weeks later join forced with former foes Deacon and Cannon.
Singh would only stay in DSW a few months before exploding on to the WWE scene, attacking the Undertaker during a Smackdown match against Mark Henry on April 7th. With Daivari at his side and known as the Great Khali, he made his WWE wrestling debut on April 21st, defeating Funaki on Smackdown.
Already signed to meet the Undertaker at Judgment Day, Khali defeated Rey Mysterio on Smackdown on May 12th in a non-title challenge match set up by JBL.
Khali defeated the Undertaker at Judgment Day and sent the Undertaker reeling as the Phenom disappeared for several weeks. With the Undertaker out of action, the Great Khali cut a path of destruction throughout the Smackdown ranks.
However, when it was time to face the Undertaker at the Great American Bash in a Punjabi Prison match, it was the Great Khali who was out of action, downed when tests detected a diseased liver.
Khali would return and eventually face the Undertaker, losing a Last Man Standing match on Smackdown in August.
Khali bounced around all three WWE brands, destroying Tommy Dreamer on ECW, and squashing his opponents alternately on Smackdown and RAW.
Khali soon got drafted to Smackdown, where he began feuding with Batista. Khali would capture the World Heavyweight Championship by winning a battle royal on Smackdown and successfully defended it against Batista and Kane in a three-way at the Great American Bash. Both Batista and Kane would continue feuding with Khali, but it would be Batista who would take the belt, beating Khali at Unforgiven. Batista would retain his belt against Khali at No Mercy in a Punjabi Prison match.