The Great Khali has named The Undertaker as the reason why he started wrestling, calling him an inspiration after viewing a ‘Taker match made him begin training.
Debuting on the 7 April 2006 episode of SmackDown by assaulting The Undertaker, The Great Khali was immediately positioned favourably by WWE officials. Their feud was one of Khali’s best and most memorable, with the former ‘Punjabi Playboy’ specifically naming the recent WWE Hall of Fame inductee as his inspiration for beginning a wrestling career.
Speaking to WWE Now India, the former World Heavyweight Champion spoke openly about his admiration for The Undertaker, who he faced a total of four times in singles matches throughout his WWE career (h/t ITN WWE):
“I started wrestling after watching The Undertaker. He was my inspiration to get into the business. It was such a memorable moment for me (getting a win over The Undertaker). It was a challenging match for me but it was equally momentous. It’s very close to my heart.”
The Great Khali ultimately defeated ‘The Deadman’ in his first pay-per-view outing in WWE, pinning him at the 2006 Judgement Day event. The 2021 WWE Hall of Fame inductee would subsequently lose the other three singles contests with ‘Taker, with their most recent clash coming on a SmackDown episode in October 2008.
In total, The Great Khali spent eight years under WWE contract, being a former World Heavyweight Champion, one-time Slammy Award recipient, and now Hall of Fame inductee. He left the company in November 2014 following a loss to Rusev, though he’s made a handful of appearances since, including entering 2018’s Greatest Royal Rumble match.
Although he wrestled a couple of matches on the independent circuit following his official WWE departure, Khali hasn’t wrestled since this event, though he currently operates his own wrestling academy and promotion, Continental Wrestling Entertainment, where he’s a former World Heavyweight Champion.