The Great Khali returned at WWE Battleground this past Sunday night to help Jinder Mahal retain his WWE Championship at the expense of Randy Orton.
WWE truly is a worldwide brand, yet there are still some corners of the world that remain relatively untouched by Vince McMahon's hands. Annoyingly for WWE, two of those untouched areas—India and China—contain over two billion people, almost a third of the world's population. Both countries are being broken into by WWE right now, but there is a particular focus on India. Jinder Mahal is WWE Champion and now the company is looking to further ride that wave as they have brought The Great Khali back into the fold.
At Battleground on Sunday July 23, 2017 Randy Orton looked to have his match with Jinder Mahal sewn up as he began to scale the outside structure of the unforgiving Punjabi Prison. Then, much to his dismay, he looked up the ramp and saw the colossal Great Khali make his way to the ring. The former World Champion shook the bamboo—sorry steel reinforced bamboo—cage, forcing Randy to fall back inside. Khali then held Orton by the throat so that his countryman could climb out for the win.
There were rumblings earlier in the evening that Great Khali was backstage at Battleground, but nothing confirmed. Well, it turns out the rumors were true and the Indian Superstar was in fact in Philadelphia. Now, it seems that Jinder added the colossus to his entourage along with the already recruited Singh Brothers.
The Great Khali was a part of the WWE roster the last time McMahon tried to crack the Indian market. Unlike Mahal, however, Khali was actually born and raised in India. Mahal has an Indian heritage but is actually Canadian. The Khali experiment didn't exactly take though. All Khali had going for him was his size and that he was Indian. So while he was beloved in his native county, his in ring ability was not great and his heavy accent left his mic and promo skills wanting somewhat.
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Despite the rumors, it came as quite a surprise to most when Khali made his way down the ramp on Sunday night. His previous stint in WWE ended with him becoming a bit of a joke, portraying the "Punjabi Playboy" during his final days with the company. Clearly, WWE would like us to forget that particular chapter in his career and that an addition of another Indian Superstar to the roster will help draw in more of those 1.3 billion potential viewers.