The Great Khali is the stage name of Dalip Singh Rana, a World Wrestling star performer. A mountain of a man, Rana, who stands a reported 7 foot 3 inches and weighs 420 lbs., was the first World Wrestling Entertainment star from India. The winner of one WWE Heavyweight Championship, Rana has carved out an excellent career as one of the bad guys and later as one of the good guys on the pro wrestling circuit. He has starred in several movies, including "Get Smart" and "The Longest Yard."
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Born in India in 1972, Rana is one of seven children. He comes by his size naturally -- one of his grandfathers was over 6 foot 6 inches. Rana worked as a laborer and as a policeman in Punjab. Known as "The Strongest Man in India," Rana won the Mr. India competition in 1995 and 1996 before he was discovered by wrestling promoters in America.
Early Wrestling Career
Rana entered the pro wrestling scene in 2000. Dubbed as one of the bad guys, Rana made his mark with his size and a variety of holds, including the Khali Bomb, a two-handed chokeslam, and an overhead chop to the skull. Rana wrestled in Japan for two years before he was signed by the WWE. True to the theatrical showmanship of the WWE, Rana was involved in challenging such established characters as the Undertaker, becoming a pay-per-view star in the process. The over-the-top nature of WWE is exemplified by the following line from the Monster and Critics website, "Khali then challenged The Undertaker to a Punjabi Prison Match."
After winning a World Heavyweight Championship belt in 2007, Rana became a hero or villain, as the promoters saw fit. Surgery to both knees slowed The Great Khali for a time. In a typical WWE turnabout, Rana became one of the good guys, hosting activities for "SmackDown" TV broadcasts such as the Khali Kiss Cam, where Rana chose random women from the crowd to smooch. In another typical turnabout, The Great Khali once again became a bad guy, leaving his own brother "incapacitated" after placing his sibling in the Vice Grip in May 2011.
Entertainment and Danger
Although professional wrestling is largely staged entertainment with predetermined outcomes, the performers are athletes with a high degrees of skill. Even staged wrestling can be extremely dangerous. In 2001, Rana was involved in a match that resulted in the death of wrestler Brian Ong. Intending to execute a "flapjack" toss, the maneuver went awry and Ong suffered a fatal injury. The Ong family sued the WWE and was awarded $1.3 million by a jury after testimony revealed that Ong had previously suffered a concussion and was allowed to keep training and entering the ring. Other professional wrestlers have been injured, killed or died young after problems with steroids and other drugs.