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The Great Khali


Kadaveri
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He's one of the most maligned wrestlers in modern times, widely regarded as the worst wrestler ever to win a world title. But I've also heard so many wrestlers be praised for "getting a good match out of The Great Khali", so could he really have been that useless? I do rememeber him having a really good match with John Cena in 2007. So to get to the bottom of this, I'm going to go through his televised singles matches and watch stuff that looks too long to be a squash, or is with wrestlers I recall being praised for doing good work with him.

The Great Khali vs. Rey Mysterio - Smackdown 05/12/06

We start the match with a staredown. That is, Rey Mysterio staring at Khali's nipples. JBL is on commentary celebrating Rey's inevitable defeat boasting that America is the greatest country on Earth because "we invade countries just because we can" unlike useless Mexico. Khali no-sells everything Rey does, include a dropkick off the top rope, then throws him around showing very little mobility. Ok this is just a squash. The best thing he did was a kick to the head that did look quite mean. Alright for a squash I guess.

*

The Great Khali vs. The Undertaker - Judgement Day 05/21/06

Khali's PPV debut. Is there anyone who's had more of these "get something watchable out of a freakshow wrestler" feuds than The Undertaker? He's really got the shortend of the stick for much of his career. Taker's bumping huge in this match as Khali tosses him around. Full on underdog babyface and it's a really good performance from him. Taker's selling is excellent. Khali sells Taker's strikes with more annoyance than pain. Taker does a Foley-style knees bump into the steps when Khali throws him, really committing himself. Khali eventually wins with a chop and kick to the head. This was an alright match actually, better than I was expecting, but the finish wasn't good at all. Actually felt like this match could have done with a few more minutes as Taker seemed to be putting up a worthy fight, then just loses to a not very convincing move.

**

The Great Khali vs. The Undertaker (Last Man Standing) - Smackdown 08/15/06

Blowoff time.  The match starts with Taker going for Khali's leg with kicks trying to chop him down. Khali is actually selling a bit unlike the previous matches. This is better than their previous outing. Daivari tries to interfere hitting Taker with a chair, but Taker just goes straight after him and attacks him near the titantron, only for Khali to save his manager and throw Taker off the stage! Taker takes a big fall onto some tables. That was one hell of a bump, but he beats the 10 count. Khali drags him around the outside tossing him from barrier to barrier, Taker is still selling being thrown off the stage for quite a while. The crowd is really hot for this. They get in the ring and after several failed attempts Taker manages to get together a good comeback with a series of good strikes that wear Khali down, and then clotheslines him  over the rope to the outside. Taker goes out after him but Khali grabs him and throws him straight into the steps. Ouch. Khali throws the steps in the ring above a hurt Undertaker. He has something in mind... but he takes too long to get in the ring and Taker manages to recuperate and whacks Khali in the head with the stairs. Khali is busted open! Taker unloads with the chair Daivari originally brought into the ring and knocks Khali down, but he beats the 10 count. Taker then finishes off Khali with more chairshots and a big chokeslam to the 400 pounder. This was a great match, can't be many like it. First time I think Khali actually added something to the match other than being really big, but Taker was brilliant.

****

The Great Khali vs. John Cena  - Raw 01/08/07

John Cena is just back from defeating Umaga the night before. The match starts with Cena ducking and diving around the ring trying to land a punch on Khali, manages to get him a couple of times but doesn't have much effect. Cena goes for a running punch but Khali shoulder blocks into him. Khali drags Cena up, throws him into the turnbuckle, and as Cena bounces back he hits him with a really impactful looking lariat! Cena later starts a bit of a comeback going when Estrada jumps on the apron with a chair, but Cena yanks it off him and hits Khali with it for a DQ. Khali's lariat looked really good, but otherwise this was nothing.

1/2*

The Great Khali vs. Jeff Hardy  - Raw 01/29/07

We get a staredown. Khali yanks Jeff's Intercontinental Title off him and hoists it above his head like he's declaring himself the new champion. I thought that was pretty funny. Khali throws Jeff to the outside, drags him back up the aprons backwards, ties his arms up in the ropes and hammers on his chest like Sheamus does. Hits him with a decent lariat (not as good as in the previous match) but his chop looked pretty good. Jeff manages to pull off a Whisper In The Wind which Khali sells by looking dazed and wobbling around a bit. I think that's the right idea for his selling, but the execution of it wasn't very good. Jeff shows good fire attempting the comeback after this, but Khali eventually gets himself together and clobbers Jeff over the head and knocks him to the outside. Jeff is counted out. Khali mostly looks bad here, with the odd decent moment.

*1/4

The Great Khali vs. Kane - Wrestlemania 04/01/07

They get a 6 minute match at Mania, and this just crap. I'm not sure if we're supposed to be rooting for Kane or not. He's getting beaten badly with some very boring offense from Khali, who spends a good minute or so giving Kane a seated neck massage, which Kane barely bothers to sell. Kane then leaves the ring and pulls out a giant J Hook and chain, presumably to hit Khali with (again, are we supposed to be rooting for him here?) but is too incompetent to do it and gets knocked down. Kane gets up and bodyslams Khali to a big pop, JR screams shades of WM3! That might have been a good moment if it'd been built to in the slightest way. Khali eventually just chops Kane's head off and gets the win by standing on his chest.

DUD

The Great Khali vs. Shawn Michaels  - Raw 05/07/07

We start this match with Shawn immediately jumping Khali as he's stepping over the ropes into the ring, just unloading on him with punches while Khali can't move (not that he ever moves much anyway). Khali sells being taken aback. For some reason Shawn stops walloping him to walk off and pander the crowd, only to turn around to Khali booting him in the head. Could have thought of smarter way to get Khali out of that situation, just made Shawn look stupid. Shawn is working really hard to make this match work, which is all about how desperate Shawn is to get another title shot against Cena. But it's not very good. Khali is being really slow and Shawn's way of working the match just exposes that more because everything he does is so fast and over the top. They fight to the outside and Khali hits Shawn with a big powerbomb through the announce table. Match is stopped by the referee. Eh. This looked like it might be good at first, the crowd being loud helps, but it wasn't smartly worked.

*1/4

I'll be doing the series with Cena next time.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I had intended to follow this up a bit earlier had real life not got in the way of watching wrestling, but I am back and up to the end of 2007!

The Great Khali vs. John Cena - Judgement Day 05/20/07

The Great Khali marches to the ring holding the WWE Championship aloft, despite not being champion. I suppose he stole it. Or maybe he really thinks he's the champ. Cena opens by staring down Khali looking fearless and unleashing some pretty ineffective looking punches at Khali's chest before he gets clobbered with a big lariat. I don't have much of a problem with Cena's weak punches. It's not like he's ever billed as a great striker, and Khali was barely selling them anyway. There's a lot of good transitions in this match, very smartly laid out. Khali hits Cena with a bodyslam and then a decent looking legdrop for a two count. Cena gets out of the way at the second legdrop and counters with a blockbuster. Crowd is really behind him, but unfortunately his comeback is cut off by a Great Bicycle Kick. JR says he's "shocked at the flexibility and athleticism of the Great KhalI" alright don't overdo it Jim. We then get a long headlock which probably goes on a little too long until it turns into a test of strength and Cena breaks out, hits Khali with multiple shoulder tackles and knocks him into getting tangled in the ropes. The crowd genuinely leaps to their feet cheering this. The finishing stretch is also good as Khali goes to pick up the stairs but takes too long coz he's slow and Cena dropkicks them into his head, then hits him with the flying legdrop and taps him out with the STFU. Good match.

***1/4

The Great Khali vs. John Cena - Saturday Night's Main Event 06/02/07
Commentary says Cena will be defending the title against Khali in 24 hours on PPV, so a bit bizarre to me they're doing this match now...? Khali is on offence for the first few minutes of the match and it's incredibly boring. So slow. No neat transitions like the last match. This would be a lot more watchable if Khali would actually DO SOMETHING while Cena is selling whatever move he was just hit with, but instead Khali just blankly stands there waitin for Cena to get back up. Khali slams Cena, pins him with a foot on his chest and wins completely clean! That was a squash, didn't protect their champ at all. This was also very bad, can't help but feel a bit disappointed after seeing their previous match.
1/2*


The Great Khali vs. John Cena - One Night Stand 06/03/07

This is a Last Man Standing Man. Starts off worrying similar to the previous match with Khali just dominating with incredibly slow offence, but Cena dodges a legdrop and hits a blockbuster off the ropes. Ok things are a bit more competitive now. Cena goes to the top rope but Khali is up and chops him off the turnbuckle straight to the floor. Quite a fall. Khali seems to be moving a bit faster than usual. This leads to a brawl through the crowd, and now things are getting quite fun. Cena keeps going for the FU putting all his might into it, but just can't do it. This match is like an internal battle of willpower for him.

Khali charges at Cena but misses, Cena then grabs the camera crane thing and launches it at him and knocks Khali down. Khali takes a back bump! To the floor! Khali has actually been showing some personality here, antagonising the crowd rather than his previous blank standing around. They then fight up the side of a tractor or something!? Remember when WWE PPVs had unique sets. All leading to Cena finally mustering the strength to hit Khali with the FU, this time off the tractor to the floor. Khali either takes a big bump here, or this was gimmicked and I can't see how. Cena pins him the for 3 count. This might have been a carryjob, but was still really good.

***1/2


The Great Khali vs. John Cena vs. Umaga - Raw 06/04/07

3 straight days of Great Khali vs. John Cena matches. Bold. Now Umaga has been added.

We start with the two monsters double-teaming Cena. How can he possibly overcome these odds!? Doesn't last long as Umaga soon throws the ring steps at Cena's head, only for Cena to duck so Khali gets clobbering with them instead. Cena and Umaga fight it out in the ring for a good few minutes, which is unsurprisingly the best part of the match. Cena is smashed to the outside but just as Umaga goes after him Khali is back, and he's pissed with Umaga! They have a staredown before unloading on each other. The monsters fighting is actually quite fun as they don't need to bump much, just hoss-stiffing each other. Khali seems to win these exchanges but soon Cena is back, hits him with the FU and gets another pinfall on him. Good triple threat.

***

The Great Khali vs. Batista vs. Kane - Great American Bash 07/22/07

This is for the World Heavyweight Championship. Khali won the title from Batista apparently. Boy does Batista take one hell of a bump for Khali's chokeslam. Proper leaps into the air for it. I was debating whether to bother with this match, don't usually associate any of these three with good matches nevermind together, but it was 10 minutes so I wanna see what Khali does. Khali takes a decent bump getting double slammed into the announce table to take him out for a bit while Kane and Batista have a hossfight. I will give Khali a bit of a credit for very just on time to break up Batista's pin on Kane to return to the mix. Better than I expected and Khali was fine here.

**

The Great Khali vs. Batista - No Mercy 10/07/07

This is the infamous Punjabi Prison Match. Never actually seen this. Yes, it is incredibly annoying trying to watch a wrestling match where they'd in this double layed bamboo structure so you can't see what's going on properly. This is a bad gimmick match to associate with Khali since the rules depend on climbing out of the structure quickly to escape, but Khali can't do anything quickly to safe his life. Most of this is pretty boring, Khali's back to doing those God damn nerveholds. Batista's working hard here to make this watchable, I've came out of this liking him a bit more. He takes a huge 10 foot bump off the bamboo as Khali knocks him down, then takes forever to climb across it and go for the other structure. Enough time for Batista to get up and LEAP FROM ONE BAMBOO STRUCTURE TO THE NEXT ABOUT 15 FEET HIGH IN THE AIR. The could have went so badly wrong! Batista wins due to Khali being slow af.

*1/2

The Great Khali vs. Fit Finlay - Raw 12/16/07

Of course Finlay shows zero fear and goes straight at Khali just walloping him with chops. He does well to throw the monster off his game for a while and gets him battling on the outside. Good start to the match. Khali chops Finlay across the chest from the floor while Finlay's on the apron. Don't think I've ever seen that done before. Then the match goes downhill when Khali brings out that damn nervehold again. Surely some producer has noticed by now that it's boring as hell and just kills matches, even here when Finlay's selling it better than anyone I've seen so far. Finaly very gradually gets to the ropes. Match starts to pick up a bit more until Hornswoggle runs a distraction for Finlay to whack Khali with the shillelagh for the pin. This was alright for a 5 minute TV match.

*3/4

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