The Great Khali has become the latest in an ever-growing line of former wrestlers to transition into the world of politics.
Former WWE Superstars becoming involved with politics is nothing new, think Jesse Ventura becoming Governor of Minnesota in 1999, although some of these switches are more expected than others.
One more to add to the surprise list is The Great Khali. On February 10th, the former World Champion joined India’s largest political party the Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP. India’s current Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a member of the party which was formally established in 1980.
Modi was elected into office in 2014, before being re-elected in 2019. However, he has recently come in for significant criticism for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regarding his move into politics, Khali was quoted by Asian News International as saying he was glad to join the BJP, while expressing his support for the Prime Minister.
“I’m glad to have joined BJP… I feel that PM Modi’s work for the nation makes him the right Prime Minister. So, I thought why not be a part of his governance for the nation’s development. I joined BJP after being influenced by BJP’s national policy”
— ANI (@ANI) February 10, 2022
After stints in New Japan Pro Wrestling, All Japan and CMLL, The Great Khali signed with WWE in January 2006. After spending a handful of months in developmental territory, Deep South Wrestling, Khali arrived on SmackDown in April. The giant star attacked The Undertaker on debut leaving him laying. This set up a rivalry between the pair which would run all the way to SummerSlam.
After a switch to ECW, Khali eventually made his way back to SmackDown as part of the 2007 Draft. After Edge was forced to relinquish the World Championship due to injury, Khali won a Battle Royal on the July 20th edition of SmackDown to claim the World Heavyweight Championship.
However, Khali would lose the championship to Batista at Unforgiven that September.
Through late 2008 and into 2009, Khali adopted a more fun-loving persona, (Something he’s continued onto his social media) being dubbed The Punjabi Playboy.
The Great Khali left WWE in November 2017 with the expiry of his contract, although he has sporadically appeared since. The former World Champion was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2021.