What do you do with a guy like Great Khali?
Legitimately one of the tallest men to ever step in a WWE ring, Khali had a lot going for him – international appeal, an impressive physique, and an awe-inspiring stature.
But he wasn’t quite the complete package, lacking a few key abilities that a sports-entertainer needed to get over in the United States.
Namely: the ability to speak English and the ability to bend his knees.
It was clear two-and-a-half years into his WWE run that Khali simply wasn’t main event material.
So WWE did what WCW did with the Shockmaster when the would-be monster flopped – turn him into a comedy character!
To that point, they sent Khali onto Jackass star Johnny Knoxville’s online talk show.
Minutes into the chat, Knoxville asked Khali whether his “tallywacker” was normal-sized or giant.
You tell me.
Khali took offense to such an inappropriate question and stormed off the set.
Hoping to dispel the notion that Khali was a grump or a prude, his translator Ranjin Singh brought him out for the first-ever Khali Kiss-Cam.
Just like in the ball parks, the camera roamed the crowd, finding couples who would then plant one on each other.
The last person to be picked out was ring announcer Lilian García, upon whom Khali forced himself to kick off his babyface turn.
On Smackdown that week, we saw a follow-up to the Khali Kiss-Cam, this time with Ranjin Singh choosing one of the women in the audience picked out by the camera crew.
One was real pretty…
…t’other, sort of plain.
This last one really caught Ranjin Singh’s eye, and as soon as he saw her – that is to say, he seen her – he invited her into the ring to get the full Khali experience.
Khali was reluctant, but Ranjin could not contain himself, celebrating like his favorite team had just scored whatever the equivalent of a touchdown is in cricket.
The following week, Khali took out Johnny Knoxville on Raw…
…then came back to his home brand of Smackdown so Ranjin could do some more PR work. This time, Khali’s spokesperson read out two steamy fan letters picked at random from a giant mail sack.
One letter went into great detail about how much the author loved the big man’s “tiny tush” –
– has anyone else wondered how Khali is even able to sit down? –
– and his many big muscles. The admirer’s name? Bruce, from San Francisco. Hey, but that’s a fella!
Ranjin quickly moved on to the main attraction of the segment, where he would pick one lucky Micronian female out of the crowd to press her lips together with Khali’s.
By now, fans knew the routine. With erotic sax music playing over the speakers, Ranjin would pick out the most… spherical woman in the audience…
…Khali would act all bashful and confused, like he had no idea what was going to happen next…
…Ranjin would hype up the woman’s beauty and Khali’s prowess as a lover…
…before Khali finally leaned down about three feet to deliver a big ol’ smack on the lips.
These segments continued for weeks and weeks, dragging on for ten minutes of TV time apiece. Yet the announcers still found them more entertaining than seeing Khali actually wrestle. Were they wrong?
On Halloween night, Khali kissed a hefty woman dressed as a witch.
When she demanded another, French kiss from the giant, Ranjin obliged, but asked her to remove her mask. But she wasn’t wearing a mask, she was just ugly! Get it?
Another night, Ranjin couldn’t narrow the choice down to just one woman, so he picked two plus-sized ladies out of the audience and announced that the Great Khali would take ‘em both, he’s hardcore!
In England, Singh invited Manchester’s randiest gran to the ring…
…but changed things up by offering the big old bird a snog with an unconscious Montel Vontavious Porter.
Along the way, Khali picked up some new, danceable music and the nickname, “The Punjabi Playboy”, which he had emblazoned on his brand-new red ring gear
(after a spell-check).
Khali earned himself a Slammy Award for “Damn! Moment of the Year”, although I could think of another four-letter word that better described the Kiss-Cam segments.
Always humble, Khali declared through his interpreter that accolades are fleeting, and that we should instead focus on preserving our natural resources.
Khali is a vegetarian, by the way, which might explain his insatiable appetite for audience plants.
That December, Ranjin gave Khali a holiday present in the form of a more conventionally attractive woman, Eve Torres, who gave Khali a big, sexy kiss under the mistletoe. But who wants to see that?
Khali further proved how eclectic his taste in women was by purchasing Vickie Guerrero’s secret nude photos at an auction, which were then posted to WWE’s website.
Just when you thought the interminable Kiss-Cam segments were over, Santina Marella came along.
Remember how funny Santina was?
Khali was absolutely smitten with Santino’s “sister”, and the very thought of kissing her brought a smile to his big moon face.
Even when Ranjin brought Khali a real looker to kiss…
…the seven-footer would not be satisfied until he got a romantic moment with Santina, whom neither he nor Ranjin could figure out was just Santino in drag.
Khali beat Santino for that privilege…
…but “Santina” refused to participate due to a blister.
At last, Khali got his moment at Backlash – yes, an event people at home paid to see. Yet again, “Santina” stalled, saying she couldn’t kiss Khali because she was in love with another man…
…namely, Jim Ross, who was not clued in to the surprise because Vince McMahon liked to demean and humiliate him as often as possible.
When Ranjin implored Santina to prove her love to JR with a kiss, Michael Cole found the whole situation hilarious, which did not amuse Ross. I figure that’s a more polite way of saying that it pissed him the hell off.
Things got pretty personal between the announcers. “Come out of the closet, JR!” said Cole.
“How is it in the closet?” snapped JR.
With no kiss forthcoming, Beth Phoenix interrupted the segment to challenge “Santina” and bring a little sanity…
…telling Khali that if he couldn’t tell Santina was just Santino in women’s clothing, he would have to be the stupidest man on earth.
Offended by this valid point, Khali the ladies’ man went ahead and clubbed her right on the head. What the hell, Khali?
This allowed Santina to pin Phoenix to retain the Miss Wrestlemania crown.
Beth would repay Khali the following year by eliminating him from the Royal Rumble. See? Long-term planning.
Santina’s celebration was short-lived, though, as the newly-abusive Khali would not take no for an answer. Khali, who was still under the impression that Santina was a woman and not just Santino posing as his own fictitious twin sister, ripped off Santina’s bra…
…which he held aloft like a trophy.
After this bizarre and disturbing turn of events, what was next for Khali? Certainly not a title reign, as Khali never got close to WWE gold again.
Instead, he ran out the remaining five years of his WWE career as comic relief.
What’s an even bigger thrill than a kiss from the Punjabi Playboy? How about access to the Wrestlecrap archives and exclusive posts on Patreon?