Wrestling superstar Dalip Singh Rana, better known with his ring name ‘The Great Khali’, has said that the Indian youths need to be patient for success in the field of wrestling. In an exclusive interview with News Nation, former World Wrestling Entertainment Champion talked about his inspiration, ring name and scope of pro-wrestling in India.
Q1. Your real name is Dalip Rana, from where did you get the name ‘Khali’?
When I joined World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), the management wanted me to have a different ring name. They named me ‘Kaali’. But it may have created a controversy, so it was changed to ‘Khali’ with minor spell changes.
Q2. Why did you join pro-wrestling formats like WWE? You could have had a great future in conventional wrestling formats?
One should opt for an option which at least provides you bread and shelter. A landline phone and a mobile have same feature of voice calling. The latter has added features, former is outdated. However, both mediums have their own negatives and positives. But I am confident enough of what I have done in my life.
Q3. WWE TRPs have always been on top in India. Is there a scope for a sports entertainment show on the pattern of WWE?
Obviously, Indian crowd has always loved WWE. However, the laymen here can’t differentiate between pro and conventional wrestling. I think there is a lot of scope, we are starting a league on the same pattern here. Last month we had organised three matches in Ludhiana. Now, we are looking forward to take the concept to another level.
Q4. Who has been your inspiration throughout your journey?
I can’t take a name in particular, there are many people who have supported and encouraged me. But if I have to take one name, it's DGP(Retd.) MS Bhullar of Punjab police. He gave me a job in Punjab police in my tough times which gave a financial support to me and my family.
Q5. You are also training budding talents these days. Do you think Indian youths will be able to match international standards in pro wrestling?
Indian youth has always been enthusiastic about sports. Currently, there are over 200 budding wrestlers training in my academy. I am training them pro-wrestling moves which are very different from the conventional wrestling.
Q6. What is your message for the aspiring wrestlers?
You have to be very patient to succeed in the field of wrestling, in fact in any field. People join wrestling as they are attracted towards glitz and glamour of the industry. But they are far away from the ground reality, and once they face the challenges, they soon drop out.
I would say there is no substitute for hard work and patience. If you want to achieve your goal, sweat it out as much as you can.
Q7. Who has been your favourite wrestler?
Vince Macmohan, the current chairman of WWE is my favourite. He is a veteran and has been a pioneer in the field of sports entertainment.
Q8. One thing you love the most apart from wrestling?
Apart from wrestling, music has been a hobby. I mostly listen to songs and watch archived wrestling matches in my leisure time.