WWE Role Reversal Vol.4: the Great Khali, a Monster Is a Monster Is a Monster?

Marc MattalianoCorrespondent IIIMay 2, 2011


See below for past installments in my Role Reversal series of articles, a history of where this series has gone and where else this series could go. Thanks, enjoy and feel absolutely free to debate to your heart's content.

"What could this writer possibly have to say about this big goof?"

To that, I would have to reply, which big goof?  The Punjabi Playboy or The Great Khali?  After all, those are two very different individuals.

When The Great Khali arrived, he was a heel monster and a halfway decent one.  He feuded with Undertaker and Batista and put established big men in WWE on notice.  Even Big Show was suddenly not so big next to the mammoth Indian.

However, for some reason, Khali was brought back and repackaged as some kind of non-English-speaking ladies man.  Granted, non-English speakers can be really sexy.  Actually, I'm kind of a closet fan of Maryse myself, I won't lie, but Khali is no ladies man.  

Thus, I think it's safe to say that Khali's face run has gone seriously gross, disgusting and is running aground as a major failure.  There are only two instances when Khali appears nowadays:

1. Dance contests, musical numbers and comedy bits that WWE fans can do very well without.

2. Moments when wrestlers with big mouths are in a position to get punished by someone with enough power to make matches.  Anyone remember the Edge vs Khali Over-the-Top-Rope Challenge last year?  Or perhaps Miz vs Khali last month?

Thing is, though, Khali is not entirely useless.

For one thing, he can speak a bit of English.  When he's needed to, Khali takes a moment to think, then speaks very slowly and gets it right for everyone to understand.  Monsters in wrestling are great for that, speaking very little at first but getting more prolific as circumstances allow.

In fact, Khali would benefit greatly by "pulling a Kane."

For those that don't remember, before Kane was the type to wax poetic about the darkness and fires of hell, and the deep relationship between he and his legendary brother, Kane was relegated to speaking with the aid of a little voice box similar to the ones used by long-time smokers.

At first, it was a really cool and extraordinarily believable aspect of Kane's gimmick.  He debuted as a silent monster, and it was later revealed that he was burned severely as a child.  For his vocal cords to be harmed in the process, and for him to need an electronic device to speak, really made sense and added a lot to how scary his approach was as a whole.

During Kane's travels, he occasionally encountered individuals who wanted to bring the Big Red Monster out of his shell.  If you checked out the link, you saw X-Pac and Road Dogg do just that.

The guy wore a mask to hide what he believed to be the shame of his appearance, and athletes are typically in good enough shape to heal fairly quickly.  For Kane's fear to cause him to believe he couldn't speak without a voice box, and later discover that, not only had he healed enough to actually speak, but that it was only his fear that had been holding him back?

Also, this story was extraordinarily believable and gave him tons of character from then on. Confidence that destroys fear, and it makes perfect sense that Kane would reignite the rivalry with his brother the way he did last year.

If Khali is to have any success in WWE beyond the mediocre pity responses he gets from girls in the crowd who think it's sweet and charming to see a huge monster of a man wiggling around stage with absolutely no rhythm, he needs to do a few things right up front.

To start with, he needs to ditch Ranjin Singh.  By that, I don't mean that WWE should write him away.  I mean, Khali should turn on Ranjin and destroy him.

As a parallel, look at how Undertaker's progress has gone over the years.  He started as a mindless zombie, following the urn.  Eventually, when his ties to the urn broke and he was able to think for himself, he accomplished great things as an independent, free thinker.  It showed courage and control for him to take the power of the darkside by the reigns and not let power lead him around anymore.

Khali needs to do the same thing.  He needs to make choices for himself and not be led around by his handler like he's an animal in a zoo.  Hell, even making the decision to join a stable with a distinct leader is still a choice he'd be making for himself.

Look where Paul Wight was in WCW before he joined the New World Order.  The biggest athlete in the world was so even back then, but he was in the same exact rut he is now.  Huge man, nearly invincible, can't really mat wrestle him, massive powerhouse, but he had no real charisma as just The Giant.  He was nothing more than an attraction.

Khali, even being in WWE for some years now, has yet to make any significant decisions without his much smaller associate deciding for him.

The other thing Khali could afford to do is to get rid of "The Great."  Just his name makes him sound like a sideshow's coming to the ring.

Calling him just Khali, as I've predominantly done here?  Much more succinct, much more unique, much less silly.

Paul Wight used to be called "The Giant" in WCW.  Boring, makes him sound like a circus freak.  When he got to WWE, he briefly went by his own name, but soon after, gained the moniker "Big Show."  Just like "Khali," two syllables and has a unique ring to it.

It'd be a shame for them to have to get rid of a potential draw like Khali just because he's not being used properly.  I've heard it over and over that he has no coordination, he's a terrible wrestler, he has no talent.

First of all, he doesn't need to be the next Sin Cara or Seth Rollins.  He just needs to have his strengths applied in the right ways.  Second of all, he's a gigantic human being!  He doesn't have to wrestle all that much, he's incredibly powerful.  You fine tune some of his moves a little, get him to remember some short, scripted run-ins and events, he could make big things happen.

Brock Lesnar's introduction to our screens, how'd that go?  Paul Heyman followed him to the ring, watched him obliterate a few guys, Paul said a few words, and they left.  Simple, quick, easy and offered some powerful imagery to take away from the moment.

Maybe Khali's chance to give us that kind of a first impression is long gone, but the point is, our impressions of superstars can change if those superstars help our impressions change.

It's all in the hands of the powers backstage.  They put money into keeping the guy on staff, keeping his face on their website, keeping his slot on their roster filled.  They should ask themselves:  how much do we really want to invest in this man?

Big Show's been around the block and although he's done his share of jobbing in the past.  He's also won his share of titles.  People know how great Big Show is and despite how great he is, CM Punk, the SES, Wade Barrett, Big Zeke and Corre should all have been put over by Big Show in the past year and a half and received absolutely nothing from their fighting with Show aside from shame and a drop in credibility.

Khali is considered a joke right now.  With a makeover, re-repackage and new attitude, that all could change.  This past Friday on Smackdown, we saw a cameo appearance by one Jinder Mahal, who has been working on his skills in FCW.  Maybe a pairing between Mahal and Khali can make Khali more relevant in the eyes of the WWE Universe.  We'll have to see.

Earlier I suggested Khali get rid of Ranjin Singh and join up with a group, however if they went that route, it would need to be a heel stable in order for the change to be significant enough to keep him on everyone's radar.

Even if face stables were prominent in WWE still, Khali couldn't join one without staying in his Punjabi Playboy role...

Past Installments of Role Reversal:

WWE Character Psychology 101:  Case Study:  John Cena, the Quelled Beast Inside

WWE Role Reversal Vol.1:  Can CM Punk's Humanity Make Him See the Light?

WWE Role Reversal Vol.2:  Dolph Ziggler Would Be a Face if He Wasn't So Whipped

WWE Role Reversal Vol.3:  How the Y2J Bug Has Affected the IWC's Health