Former WWE Heavyweight Champion The Great Khali was seriously injured on Wednesday during a wrestling bout in his homeland of India.
A large crowd, including Harish Rabat – Uttarakhand chief minister – and finance minister Indira Hridayesh were watching as the seven foot one champion was left prone after being attacked with chairs.
The events unfolded during the pro wrestling show at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Haldwani. Branded “The Great Khali Wrestling Show”, the line-up saw the former WWE great take on three Canadian wrestlers – Mike Knox, Brody Steel and Apollo.
The trio clashed with The Great Khali in-ring, leaving the Indian star visibly shaken, and with a visible bleeding wound to the head. Help was quickly called for, and he was taken from the ring.
The 44-year old’s head wound was later diagnosed as a fracture. The star was taken to intensive care at Haldwani though facilities were deemed inadequate for care.
He was subsequently airlifted to Dehradun for specialised treatment, although reports suggest the wrestler may be taken to Delhi later in the week – depending on the progress of his recovery.
The Great Khali – real name Dalip Singh Rana – clinched a WWE heavyweight championship in 2007 and featured weekly for Vince McMahon’s record-breaking TV wrestling promotion. The only Indian-born wrestler to ever claim the title, The Great Khali was known for his enormous size, tough persona and signature power slap to the chest of opponents.
A sufferer of acromegaly, Rana’s gigantism results in the wrestler’s famous massive brow, chin and facial features. Before becoming involved in pro wrestling, he was a police officer with the Punjab State Police. Since retiring from the WWE, he has featured in some four Hollywood films and various Bollywood releases.
The Indian Express reports that Rana’s brother, Surender Rana, told them the general prognosis was upbeat. Surender said the situation was “not bad” and that “he is fine now.”