Gah Gah Gah Gooooooooo – How you say? I will eat you...
...were allegedly the first words spoken by Great Khali, Dalip Singh in WWE. Sad that the first real Indian wrestler in WWE is made to spew nonsense like "I stalked the jungles of India, killing and eating tigers". (check update)
For those of you not in the know, WWE is all scripted sports entertainment (and not really sports). I have been watching it since I was twelve or thirteen, and can't seem to stop. Nor do I want to. I have waited for an Indian wrestler to make his entry, but have seen nobodies like Tiger Ali Singh who was a son of the far more accomplished Tiger Jeet Singh, instead. He was a joker who didn't even move beyond dark matches (matches which are not publicised or televised but are held to warm up the crowd for the real show).
As far as I can see, Dalip is far larger than the other Indian wrestlers so far and thus, probably stands a better chance to make a mark. However, what might go against him are his mike skills. The ability to get people to root for him or get incensed against him during a promo, is an essential part of what makes or breaks a wrestler. Dalip, as of now, doesn't have good control over English. Also, he doesn't have the in-ring experience and expertise to become a solid performer (which is a bane of most really big men). However, he has time on his side and should be able to work on that.
Dalip Singh himself is starting with a feud with the Undertaker, and thus should be getting a Pay-per-view event soon. However, I am not happy that he's getting a savage tribal gimmick (it's been done to death and looks dated, going back to pre-Attitude era of comic book wrestlers). How about a call-centre worker instead? I guess Dalip doesn't have the English skills. How about his 'real' story packaged into an Indian-pahalwan-trying-to-make-big-in-world gimmick? He can be positioned as the descendant of Dara Singh or Great Gama, no? Let's wait and watch.
I will be watching this with interest. India and China are going to be extremely important in the future as every entertainment firm, including the rival TNA (Ritesh Bhalla), has already recognised. John Cena, the wrestling champion himself, had come down to India to promote WWE. In this light, he does stand a better chance than his predecessors. My sense is that Dalip Singh will end up being the first amongst many Indian and Chinese wrestlers who will wrestle in the WWE. That is not a bad legacy in itself.
Read about his first appearance here and here . And biography here, here and here. IMDB also has some bio here, since he acted as Turley, all brawn, small brain Turley, in an execrable movie called Longest Yard. Everywhere, it is mentioned that he won the Mr. India title in 1997 and 1998, which I couldn't verify elsewhere. However, I also found that one Vitender Singh Pawar had retained the Mr. India title in 1997. It is possible that the Dalip Singh story is a made-up one, like for other wrestlers.
Incidentally, check out the hilarious comments here and in Sepia Mutiny (1, 2).
"..As i see everybuddy taling about Wrestling. And i want to tell everybuddy that wrestling is not fake at all. If you don't beleive then go inside the ring & wrestler on time with any wrestler & then u will find what the truth is. Well it's my dream to become a wrestler & this year my study will be finish & then i will move to USA soon (for getting wrestling trainig). But now i m looking for sponsorship. For more info about sponsorship ple visit at: http://blog.myspace.com/6341821 ..."
"i met dalip twice as i was working at walmart supercenter in mcdounough georgia in feb of 2006 he was shopping with his wife and two other people buying groc.he was he staying in locust grove ga,for a week for a wrestling match he was very kind but his wife was a little rude she didnt like people talking to him"
"he is only a man and in the black neighbour hood every 2 man is like him and there is only 1 like him in hole india soo forget it... he is not wise and we need wise people and not people that think its smart to have a big arm.."
"He's a terrorist just like all you towel heads. Go hump a camel."
Update: Abhi's comment made me look for the video/ transcript of Great Khali's introduction. It's here. While he or Daivari don't actually say that they eat tigers as Pro Wrestling Insider claims, Daivari does mention jungles of India with pythons and Royal Bengal tigers. Great Khali says a lot of stuff which I can't comprehend. The only thing I heard was "Main Hoon Khaali."
Update 2: I noticed that some booker in WWE has bad punning skills. Also, Gaurav has blogged about it. He, like me, remains hopeful of success.
Update 3: Success...