wrestling / Columns

Evolution Schematic 6.20.13: Kane (Version 2.0) [Part 1]

June 20, 2013 | Posted by Mathew Sforcina

Writer’s Notes

Well here we are then. The last column ever I’ll write for 411mania.


The Evolution Schematic is the column that got me in the door, it won me Smark Superstar, a.k.a I was the lucky forum member back at The Split (TM, C, R) who got a column. I still love the thing, but Ask 411 was and is a bigger deal, and so I traded up. Most people would agree that I didn’t suck at it.

But the ES was still my baby, even though my trips back to the well for WM weren’t unbridled success stories. But then the old ones, the ones I did when I was good at them, they’re still pretty awesome.

And while HHH and JBL won me the spot, Stevie was the first, Victoria I love for obvious reasons, The Playboy column was fun to troll people with, Tully got me the most positive feedback and Hogan and Taker were labours of love… There was a clear high point. When you look back, there was one ES that stood head and shoulders above the rest. After all, the other ones were good reads.

Kane’s one is practically reference material.

And here I am, fulfilling a promise to myself, and updating it. So, for anyone coming in late, here’s the basic idea of the Evolution Schematic…

Pro Wrestling has always been about characters. We wouldn’t care about these people fighting if we didn’t care about the people themselves. But over time, characters have to change in many ways, alignment, teams, drives, desires, ability, sometimes even massive character overhauls. But while in the Territorial days, characters were only known to small areas unless they were wildly successful, these days, in the age of Global TV and exposure, characters have long, involved histories. And in almost any career, a character will change in many ways, at times with no understandable reason. This column will attempt to explain a character’s entire development, from debut to today and beyond, in such a way that the entire run makes sense. This is not to say that this will be the only, correct interpretation, but merely one way to explain the character’s development. This can also be extended to look at a certain type of match, an event, a title, or some other aspect of wrestling that, while not being a character in of itself, has still evolved and thus can be chronicled. The name comes from the technical term for the picture we all know that starts from a frog and leads to current man (or fat guy on the computer, depending on your sense of humor).

5 Second Version: Kayfabe friendly history column.

And now, BANNER! (Hopefully…)


Normally in the Evolution Schematic, I try to explain why this person has acted how they have across their entire career. I point out the driving force, the aspect of their character that shows how inconsistent parts can be made consistent on a higher, grander scale.

But with Kane, you can’t really do that.

For this man defies any such attempts. Given where he began and where he is now, it is frankly stunning to justify this huge change in his mental status.

Instead, it is his past that I will try to explain. So much has been said, so much has been claimed, that it’s at times hard to tell fact from fiction, truth from reality, lies from statistics.

This has been tried before, by someone commissioned by the WWE. And while I have not read what they claimed, I have seen and heard enough to know that they have missed key points. For while Kane has had much pain, much suffering, much strife, he has also had moments in the light that people have forgotten, or never knew.

Isaac Yankem, D.D.S.

Fake Diesel.

The Unabomber.

How can these be explained, together with all that we know of his past, the fires, May 19th, Paul Bearer, The Undertaker.

Katie Vick.

The man, the monster, the being, has lived in the shadows for so long, that a definitive, ‘This is how it is’ is not possible. All we can do is shine a light, and try to sketch the shadows given off. This is possibly true. It’s possibly false. But for all it’s conjecture, all it’s theories, all it’s guesswork, all it’s assuming, it works, somehow. It does make some twisted sort of sense, and works. There is an explanation here, there is a way to explain his career, in the sense that he is, or perhaps was, understandably, insane.

Well, there are actually two ways to explain it, but to understand the second, you must first learn the first…

Origins- Settle in for the long haul here.

To talk about Kane, one must first talk about The Undertaker, for they are (half) brothers.

Mark Callaway (the boy who would later take on the name of The Undertaker) was born to his parents, funnily enough, in Death Valley. The two ran a Funeral Parlor, having migrated at some point from Long Island, New York, possibly for work (finding a good Mortician and Embalmer willing to relocate to Death Valley would be hard) or just because they really liked hot weather. The family was a bit strange perhaps, but they seemed happy enough, the parents working alone, apart from their sole assistant, a strange teenage kid called Paul Bearer, who worked with various wrestling companies across a few states.

Then, a couple of years after Mark was born, Paul and Mrs. Callaway had an affair. Maybe she was sick of being ignored by her workaholic husband, maybe Paul loved the older woman. Regardless, their affair was not without issue, and Mrs. Callaway soon gave birth to a second child. In a somewhat ironic twist, the child was named Kane, an old Gaelic/Welsh name meaning “Warrior, the doubly-accomplished”. Certainly Mr. Callaway did not seem to notice the child was different, he seemed to be similar to his half brother, but then Mrs. Callaway must have been a tall woman.

Regardless, the two boys grew up in the Funeral Home, Kane following his (half-)brother around all the time, while Paul left, joining the US Air Force and gaining experience in various small Wrestling companies. This would be useful, since he knew there would be a couple of big, strong lads that would be perfect for this world in a few years. But then fate intervened.

Part 0b- The Fire

And then things get hazy.

May 19th.

There was a fire at the Callaway Funeral Home. Large quantities of embalming fluid, a crematorium badly maintained, many possible causes. However, there is one main one.

Mark Callaway started the fire.

However, he probably did not do it deliberately, as he later claimed at one point, at the time he claimed this he was playing mind games with Kane, Vince McMahon and others to sell them on the idea that he was remorseless and evil and what have you. He saw Kane playing with a lighter, and then either joined him, or started playing with one himself, a fire began, and then spread, killing Mr. and Mrs. Callaway. As well as Kane, Mark thought.

But he was alive. And surprisingly unharmed, despite being in the worst of the fire. But he was sure that he was horribly burnt, the pain and seeing everything around him melt, Kane was sure he was disfigured.

And Paul Bearer, in town, looking as the fire fighters put out the blaze, in that one moment, thought up an entire career path. As he saw the embers die out, he could see two careers, two fighters, two warriors, driven by hate and pain, able to reach the very top of the Professional Wrestling business, perhaps fighting each other, Paul pulling both their strings. He knew tough guys, understood them, and Mark and Kane, they could be that. This was his chance.

He quickly comforted Mark, and then made sure he went off with a social worker, as he was obviously traumatized and sick. But Paul left the scene with Kane, who was screaming that he was on fire. Paul quickly convinced the doctors that he was the boy’s true father (perhaps a quick blood test was performed) and he took custody of Kane, while still keeping in touch with Mark. But, as a key point, he refused to let Mark see Kane, citing the fact that he suspected Mark started the fire to kill Kane, and as his father and legal guardian, he couldn’t allow that. Mark was probably told that his brother was alive but without seeing him, he did not believe them. And of course, once Paul Bearer was able to gain custody of Mark, perhaps with platitudes and reassurances he would work on getting the boys back together, he didn’t have to worry, he could make sure the two were kept apart.

Part 0c- The Foster Homes

The first thing he did was to separate the two across vast distances. Mark, who seemed the most stable, albeit a bit warped after the fire, Paul put in a safe, calm foster home, visiting often and giving him a ‘normal’ upbringing, since Paul knew the fire, and the guilt, would drive him.

Kane, on the other hand, was different. He was still convinced he was a scarred mess (being a somewhat plain child not helping the issue), despite every doctor telling him he was fine, that the burns were superficial and healed. Paul knew he couldn’t heal Kane, so he tried to merely contain him, and try to learn to control him. He went to Spain for a while, came back, bouncing from home to home, Bearer dropping in every once in a while. But things were not progressing, until one foster home, one foster family, worked. Maybe they had a fire victim in their midst, maybe they were both psychologists, whatever the reason, Kane finally found a foster home where he felt, for the first time since the fire, good. He felt free. He especially was close to the mother, who reminded him of his own.

Enter May 19th.

For on that day, the new home Kane had found once again became a nightmare, as on the anniversary of the day his mother and ‘father’ died (he must have known Paul was his real father but he must have had some feelings for the man who raised him), Kane accidentally started a fire, perhaps recreating the scene he blamed for the original fire, and killed this adoptive family. Paul immediately rushed to Kane’s bedside. And while he listened to Kane cry, and listen to him blame himself, Paul kept silent.

While in his head, he was dancing the Charleston.

Part 0d- The Mental ‘Homes’

For now Paul had a hook. Kane knew he was not to blame for his Mother’s death. But he was to blame for his adoptive family’s. Hence, Paul was now able to control Kane. He told him that it was his intervention, and his alone, that prevented Kane going to prison, and instead merely to a mental institution. And how Kane should be grateful.

And so, Kane moved from foster homes to mental institutions, under the direction of Paul Bearer, who encouraged Kane to grow big and strong, and to ignore his medications and therapy and build his hate and rage, to let it simmer, while making Kane more and more under his spell, constantly reminding him of what he owed Paul and such.

So Kane grew up in various asylums, turning from a troubled, scared boy to a troubled, big young man. And once again, death would interject itself.

Part 0e- Katie Vick

When you get right down to trying to understand Katie Vick, what, exactly, do we know? We assume that both HHH and Kane were telling the truth, or at least their versions of it. And certainly, for all his mental anguish as a child, Kane does have an affection for women that some sort of Oedipus complex does not fully explain. So Katie Vick did exist, and she did die. But beyond that, we run into problems.

For starters, HHH claims to be very smart and attentive, and yet plainly fails to see the glaring flaws with Kane’s version of events and what he knows of the Callaway brothers from working against and with them in various points. When Kane tells us about Katie, why doesn’t he say “Excuse me, that’s wrong, you didn’t go to college, you were in mental homes!” to Kane? Calling someone out on a lie is always good to shake their morale. But HHH doesn’t. Why not?

The most logical reason is that HHH wasn’t sure. He didn’t want to claim Kane was lying because he didn’t know he was. Hence his information had to be sketchy. He didn’t find Katie’s parents or brother; he got his information from some other source. And the most logical place he would have got it from, since Paul Bearer wouldn’t have given it to him, was the police report. Every aspect of what HHH specifically claimed (Kane killed Katie Vick, he raped her after she was dead, she was a cheerleader) could have been gained from the police report of the crash, and only that, the incident report only. Any extended report, with information on the girl and man in question would have mention how Kane was in an insane asylum at the time, and hence HHH didn’t see this, since he didn’t call Kane out on it.

So why did Kane lie at the time? Well, remember, back in 2002, Kane was very popular, and was being ‘pushed’ by the match makers and merchandising. Everywhere you looked, Kane’s half face mask was on sale to kids, his face was on t-shirts, he was one half of the tag champs, soon was IC champ. Kane was a hot money maker. And although he was twisted, insane and deranged, he wasn’t an idiot. He wasn’t going to ruin all that with the truth, he was going to tell a feasible, logical and above all normal story to explain the death of Katie Vick, and hope no-one noticed.

Thus, he’s hating this column.

So, with all that logic in place, just what the hell did happen?

Katie Vick and Kane had to meet somehow, and form some sort of relationship. Given that Kane was in a mental asylum, and Katie was a young woman, there are really only two options.

One, Katie was a fellow resident. While this could explain some things, it seems unlikely an ‘innocent young girl’ would be in the same hospital as a killer like Kane, and if they were, that she would be good looking and able to escape with Kane, and be able to drive a car… And if she was insane and that played a part in the accident, why wouldn’t Kane say so?

Hence, the second and most likely explanation, was that Katie was a nurse at the hospital. Young woman often take jobs in hospitals as they start their training for full nursehood or indeed doctorship, or to satisfy volunteer requirements for schools or jail terms. In other words, is it that unlikely that a young Candy Striper might look beyond the muscles and face to see the frightened young child within? Perhaps she herself was a bit of a rebel and couldn’t see Kane’s problem.

Regardless of what it was that brought Katie to Kane, it brought her, and the two formed a bond. And Katie, perhaps seeing Paul Bearer for what he truly was, decided, perhaps, to help Kane escape. She knew a guy who knew a guy, they could go farm somewhere in Canada, who knows. The logical path sees her sneaking or breaking Kane out, and then they drive off.

And then, once again, things get a little hazy.

Admittedly, a woman helping Kane escape from a mental institution is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and she might be silly enough to let Kane drive. But why would he want to? He knows he can’t be trusted.

Perhaps she herself crashed the car all be herself, it being a rainy night, she was excited, scared and distracted, and she crashed the car. But then, for all of Paul Bearer’s manipulations and Kane’s hallucinations, anything vivid and important enough to affect him as badly as Katie Vick, he would remember and realize if she crashed herself. And would have said so, take the burden off him when this was revealed.

So we come to the third, and probable answer. Katie was driving, she was distracted and excited and happy and everything, her wet clothes sticking to her heaving chest. And Kane… forgot himself. Katie gets distracted, perhaps telling Kane off slightly (which would really make a guy feel terrible, his new love being angry with him so soon after an escape) and then crashing the car. Kane, somehow survives.

Katie does not.

And then he…forgets himself again. Perhaps. But he was conflicted, dazed, possibly concussed and injured and not the sanest man to begin with. Hence you can’t really blame him if he did.

As for the “HHH claimed fact” that Katie was a cheerleader, that is actually easy to explain. Take your pick-

* Katie was a cheerleader. She was well rounded young girl enrolled at the local college/university, her high grades and excellent people skills and volunteer work explaining how she was able to get a part time/volunteer job at an insane asylum. She drove from a game/practice to the institution when she picked up Kane as he escaped via the route she planned.

* The first cop on the scene was a bit slow. He saw a blood stained red and while short dress outfit, as a Candy Striper wears, and, being distracted, wrote down she was in a cheerleader outfit. Since that first report is all HHH had, he made the claim, and Kane was in no mood to correct him.

* How exactly would a young woman, still in her late teens early 20’s, obviously not in a position of power, engineer an escape of a near 7 foot tall man? One of the few feasible ways that could happen was if most of the staff were distracted, perhaps by a party. As someone who works in a hospital, I tell you, bring out a plate of chocolate cake or brownies and you have 95% of any medical staff focused solely on inhaling chocolate and complaining about doctors, patients and/or pay. And given how stressful and hard working at such a high risk place as Kane would have been in would be, a costume party does sound like something a new, inexperienced director would put on. Katie would wear an old cheerleader outfit to distract the guards while Kane sneaked out in some sort of costume.

* Remove the costume party, add in more direct distraction of the guards (think ‘services rendered’), and you also give Kane the benefit of the doubt as to if he did indeed…take liberties.

But regardless if it was one of these options or some completely different one, the fact remained that the first non-family member Kane liked, hell, loved, that reciprocated, was dead. And it was all his fault, as Paul was so eager to remind him. And at that point, Kane was putty in Paul’s hands.

Over the following years, he molded Kane, training him to fight, as Paul had done with his brother Mark, who by this time had already debuted in Pro Wrestling and was slowly learning his craft, developing his ability with withstand pain, and seeing how mind games worked on an opponent. Paul helped The Undertaker (the name Mark took as his own when he came into the big time, the WWF. Originally he was “Kane The Undertaker” as a tribute to his dead brother but Paul Bearer quickly convinced him to drop it, not because he felt is was in bad taste, but rather to avoid confusion later on) train, and then used the same techniques on Kane, thus bringing Kane to a point where, in 1992, 2 years after Undertaker debuted in the WWF, with his trusty confidant and manager Paul Bearer at his side, Kane was just as good as his brother, despite his brother’s 8 year head start. But Paul Bearer was no fool. He knew that, the moment you stepped inside the ring, everything changed. He wanted to bring Kane in at the point he could get the most out of it, make the most money. Hence, not only did The Undertaker need to develop more, but Kane needed experience in the ring, needed to wrestle in front of people. Anyone can beat up dummies and such in a darkened basement, doing the same in front of screaming fans is a whole other matter. So while publicly Paul Bearer managed The Undertaker, he also secretly managed Kane. And hence, Kane’s professional wrestling career started in an unlikely place…

Debut- Angus King, in St. Louis?

Indeed, Kane’s career, as dictated by Paul Bearer, began in a very unlikely place, St. Louis, Missouri, and under a totally unrelated name to his past or background, Angus King. This was probably deliberate on Paul Bearer’s part, since he wanted to avoid Undertaker finding out about Kane for as long as possible. Or it could have actually meant someone, it might have been on of Kane’s doctors, or “A King’s Gun” is a phrase that means something to the Callaway family.

Regardless, the name did not last long, as shortly after ‘Angus’ debuted in St. Louis, and got his first taste of Professional Wrestling, Paul Bearer moved him again, in order for Kane to gain more experience against newer opponents.

Phase 2- The Christmas Creature. THE CHRISTMAS CREATURE?

Paul Bearer sent Kane to the United States Wrestling Association, better known as Jerry Lawler’s Promotion, in Memphis. Bearer knew that there was a high level of talent there, as well as being a former stomping ground of The Undertaker, and given that he had entrusted Kane’s wellbeing, contract and probably soul to Brian Christopher, Jerry Lawler’s son, he knew that he could rely on Brian to take care of him.

But boy, was he wrong.

Because Brian, for all his talents and positive traits, seems to, at times, not be a particularly bright or imaginative guy. Hence, when he got his hands on Kane, who had been ordered by his father to listen and learn and do whatever Brian said, he looked at the calendar, and knew how to make Kane look and sound even more menacing.

Dress him in green and tinsel and call him the Christmas Creature.

This did not impress anyone, especially Paul, who came down, told Brian off, and redressed Kane in a much more fitting ‘persona’.

Phase 3- Unabomb. Better.

Wearing a hockey mask and dressed in red and black and generally looking a lot like a cheap version of his eventual debut in WWF as Kane look, which makes sense really, Unabomb burst onto the USWA scene.


But all too soon, Unabomb blew all his chances in the company, and Bearer felt he needed to explode on a brand new battlefield.

I’ll stop before the NSA break down my doors, shall I?

So, Paul once again shipped him to a different company.

Phase 3b- I’m a Mountain Man, and I like mountain women.

This time to Smoky Mountain Wrestling, where several USWA guys were already making a name for themselves. Although Paul did make sure to expose Kane to the Japanese style of wrestling, sending Kane on trips with the hard hitting Japanese company Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi.

But in Smoky Mountain, Kane found his first taste of gold. Having ditched the mask (temporarily, since he didn’t care about how ugly he looked, mistaking the boos for his actions as hatred of his burnt, disfigured face), Kane was ordered to team with Al Snow, so that Kane could learn tag team wrestling (Paul Bearer somehow foreseeing an eventual reuniting and dominant tag run for the brothers) and more importantly, how to co-exist with someone outside of Paul Bearer and his designated controller. Paul wanted to shape and focus Kane on targets, and knew that eventually he would need help, given that The Undertaker was a popular guy, at times, and would have back up.

So Kane, sorry, Unabomb and Snow fought with the legendary Rock N Roll Express across the start of 1995, eventually winning a Coal Miner’s Glove On A Pole Match to win the tag titles in April, 95. They would hold the belts for 3 months, losing them in early July to the unlikely team of Tracy Smothers & Tony Anthony.

But Unabomb would continue to wrestle in the company. But then came a very important day.

Phase 3c- August 4th, 1995. Kane vs. The Undertaker. Sorta.

For on that day, The Undertaker, as part of a crossover deal with SMW and the WWF, came into town for SMW’s big SuperBowl of Wrestling card. And, naturally, he was given the resident monster/nutter of the company.

Thus, Paul Bearer was put in a terrible spot of being Undertaker’s manager, and yet having Kane on the other side. So Paul did what he had to, and helped Taker win.

Oh, how this must have eaten Kane up. Sure, on one level he sort of understood, Paul Bearer’s grand plan to get back at his brother made sense. On another, it must have further damaged his already weak link on sanity. He had to fight his half brother, without letting him know he was his half brother, and have his father, the one man in the world who cared for him, help the bastard who set the fire!

It’s no surprise that Kane made demands on Paul to hurry up and get him into the WWF, let him fight his half brother. But Paul was worried. After all, he had seen how Taker had handled Kane fairly easily. Sure, he had not known it was his brother, and thus the psychological edge wasn’t there, but still, Kane wasn’t ready. So, how to accommodate Kane’s demands, but not really do so, and get Kane more experience? He only had a week or so, as Kane was booked (along with Al Snow) in a Loser Leaves Town match, and Kane was set to throw the match, thus, while screwing over Snow, got him out of his contract and able to go to WWF to fight Taker. Thankfully, Jerry Lawler came to the rescue of Paul.

Phase 4- Isaac Yankem, DDS. Yip-pee.

For Jerry was in the middle of a heated feud with Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart. And he needed back up, and fast. And he knew that Paul Bearer had control over this big bastard of a guy, Unabomb. So Jerry made a call, and Paul and he hammered out a deal, and Jerry brought Kane in as his new bodyguard/lackey/big scary dude.

But Jerry knew that ‘Unabomb’, having been named after the Unabomber, was not going to be accepted by the then Family conscious WWF. They wouldn’t give him a contract. So Jerry, with some intense negotiation, managed to convince Paul that having Kane come in as ‘his personal dentist’, would make sure that-

A) The WWF would give him a contract.
B) Make sure no-one asked too many questions of just where the guy came from.
C) People would underestimate Kane.
D) Bret Hart would pay, since he knew Bret would not be able to resist trying to get rid of such a cartoonish, obviously not real persona.
E) Kane would get to torture kids and people in the name of filming ‘vignettes’.
F) Paul could convince Kane that they would put on loads of make up to ensure that The Undertaker didn’t recognize him (Paul convincing him that he had convinced Taker after their match that he didn’t know him, but if he saw Kane every day, he’s get suspicious), under the idea of making him look like ‘a dentist’. Of course no make up was needed, but to fill in the time needed to convince Kane that he had lots of make up on, and thus explained why he now looked normal, Paul just worked on making his teeth look horrible.

And thus, Isaac’s career began with his first major match being against Bret Hart, which is a heck of a start, at Summerslam 1995. Plus he had Jerry Lawler in his corner, which also helps. But it didn’t matter, since he ended up taking Lawler’s orders too literally and ended up getting DQed for attacking Bret too much while he was tied up in the ropes.

Isaac continued to fight Bret Hart, alongside his ‘client’ Lawler, but never really getting the better of him, be it in a cage or anywhere else. By the time the next major WWF PPV rolled around, Survivor Series, Kane was in the position he had wanted to be from the start, as Taker wanted revenge on Mabel for Mabel breaking his face. Mabel responded by assembling a Survivor Series team, The Royals. Himself, Hunter Hearse Helmsley, Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler and Isaac Yankem, DDS.

Well, 3 out of 4…

Taker responded by grabbing 3 warm bodies (Savio Vega, Fatu and Henry Godwinn, not that it mattered) and that match went down. Kane was ready, he could taste it, it would finally get his hands on the son of a bitch who called himself his half brother, who burnt him, he killed his family, who-

Kane was, for some reason, unprepared for the Tombstone, and was pinned. It was probably the first time he had suffered it on the big stage, and hence was unprepared, although that would change soon enough.

Although not immediately, given that Kane’s next shot at The Undertaker on a Raw in January 96 ended the same way, Taker winning. Kane was at a loss. He had had several chances at Taker, and sure, while Taker seemed blissfully unaware of who he really was, thanks to Paul Bearer, he still wasn’t anywhere near getting his revenge. Paul forced to act like he was 100% behind Taker didn’t help matters. So, he knew he’d have to do things on his own.

Getting a dream number in the Royal Rumble, #27, helped.

Getting tossed by HBK after eliminating only one guy yourself did not help.

And this set off a horrible period for Kane. His self belief was slipping, Paul’s influence seemed to be waning, especially after Lawler washing his hands of him. For several months, Kane lost seemingly every match he wrestled, rarely getting on TV, the Isaac character by now a handicap, not a help. By around May of 96, Kane was sick and tired of this, and was set to leave the company.

Phase 5- The missing months

There are a couple of months in which we have no idea what happened. That may be for the best. But soon enough, Paul would find his son, and convince him to join the WWF again, as there was another announcer who needed a big guy…

Phase 6- Diesel Mark 2

It helped that by the time Paul called him back, he was set to turn against The Undertaker at Summerslam to join forces with Mankind, and thus could take a better interest in Kane’s welfare.

But it was not Paul who needed him, but Jim Ross. JR was sick and tired of the BS he had to put up with, most of his anger directed at Vince McMahon. So he wanted to make Vince’s life a living hell and make him look ridiculous. So, he needed a couple of guys to play ‘Diesel’ and ‘Razor Ramon’, to prove that Vince was an idiot.

No, I’m not sure how that works exactly, and since this is not the JR ES, I’m not going to try.

Suffice to say, Jerry was more than happy to help his on again/off against good buddy JR out, and they worked out the deal. And so, Kane came back, again in lots of make up he was told, as Diesel.

And…it didn’t really work. JR not taking any interest in them outside their debut hurt Kane from the get go, although his partner, ‘Razor’, seemed to like him, or rather, liked tagging with a big bastard enough to make a go of it. But it just never…clicked. Kane was DQed (as well as 5 other guys) at Survivor Series to give the match to…no-one. The two fakes managed to rise up the tag ranks only to lose their title shot at the ‘It’s Time!’ In Your House PPV, thanks to Steve Austin not distracting Bulldog enough and Owen Hart’s beautiful leg lariat.

And then Kane got another shot at winning the Rumble, drew another good number, 23, this time round eliminating no-one, and getting tossed second to last, and yet got screwed over in the Final Four match at the next PPV…IYH: Final Four, since Austin didn’t toss him, Bret did, which was legal, as opposed to Taker, Vader and Bret’s eliminations, which weren’t.

At this point, Paul Bearer had to take stock of his son. Kane was just…pathetic seems too strong a word, but certainly he was not living up to his potential. He needed a bit more seasoning. So Paul pulled some strings.

Phase 6b- The ‘Outsiders’ tour Mexico and Memphis!

Kane, along with his Razor buddy, got their WWF contracts annulled for a bit, and they toured Mexico and worked in USWA for a bit, in order for Kane to get some more experience and ‘Razor’…out of everyone’s hair. But soon, the two had a falling out, and in mid 1997, the two fought in a ‘Loser Leaves USWA’ match, Kane now focused mostly on USWA.

Or at least he was, as he lost the match. But Paul, while preparing to finally reveal his plan, wasn’t ready yet. So he needed to keep Kane away for a few more months. Hence…

Phase 7- Doomsday! Run!

Kane once again donned a mask, at Paul’s request since he didn’t want to go through the charade of make up again, and also because he knew he had to bring Kane in as masked due to all the horrible burns he had *wink* when he came into the WWF. This time, he was dubbed Doomsday, and began to once again show the fire that Paul knew he had, no pun intended. He managed to destroy Spellbinder to win the USWA Southern Heavyweight Title a day after Spellbinder won it. He held it for a couple of months, eventually losing it to Steven Dunn in early September. Just in time really…

Phase 8- He’s Alive! ALIVE!

For in the WWF, Paul Bearer was beginning his mind games. He finally revealed Undertaker’s darkest secret (that he, Taker, not Kane, started the fire), and, much more importantly, that Kane was alive.

Taker, at first, refused to believe it. After all, Kane had to have died in the fire, right? I mean, he had to…

Paul Bearer just laughed, while Taker, sensing they were mind games, and assuming they were only that, focused on Shawn Michaels and the Hell In A Cell devised especially for them.

And thus, on October 5th, 1997, Kane finally got his hands on his Half-Brother. No gimmicks, handicapping identities, just him, his half-brother and 25 or so years of hate and anger, and a smidge of pyro and organ music.

On that night, Kane tore through the cell door, took out his half-brother, and left, leaving Shawn Michaels to pick up the win, Taker to pick up his jaw and Paul Bearer to pick up the check. For the fire had been lit.

But no-one would have predicted how it would burn…

Phase 8b- As I said, He’s Alive. And kicking much ass.

As Taker tried to come to terms with what he had just learned, that Kane was alive, powerful and really very angry, Kane waited. As Paul Bearer taunted Taker, and demanded that Taker fight Kane, Kane beat up anyone he came across, be it The Hardy Boyz, the British Bulldog, Ahmed Johnson in his first official match, anyone.

The first true/major/important/on PPV test of Kane’s prowess came at the 1997 Survivor Series, where Kane was set to fight the first man to take it to Kane and knock him off his feet, Mankind, who had come back after Kane destroyed Dude Love, Mick reverting in order to deal with the Monster.

Didn’t do him much good, as Kane beat Mankind with a Tombstone, under a red light, Roxanne.

A brief word about Kane’s “Mystical Powers”. Kane, and Undertaker, are not gods. They are not mystical beings. They are merely one very screwed up and one very well trained athletes, respectively. Their ‘abilities’ to control fire is merely mind games. Very, very good mind games, but mind games nevertheless. Of course, knowing that it’s not real, knowing that Taker isn’t really dead and that Kane couldn’t make your pants burst into flames, despite knowledge being half the battle, doesn’t help much, since if you try to ignore the mind games, you end up missing out on important chances at taking them down while they be all mind gamey. So people tend to accept the mind games, and hope for the best. Hence, Kane’s first PPV match being under a red light, while technically possibly some strange, unusual display of his powers, was merely Kane demanding and getting it from the production team. Simple.

Kane continued his path of destruction, while Paul Bearer continued his path of yelling at Taker to accept the challenge. They tried the direct approach, Kane coming in at the next In Your House PPV during the Jeff Jarrett/Taker match, Kane ending up giving the match to Jarrett via DQ when he chokeslammed him in an effort to remove him so he could get to Taker. But that didn’t work, since Taker refused to fight Kane, since he was focused more on WWF Champ Shawn Michaels and the WWF Title. So, Kane and Paul tried a subtler approach.

Phase 8c- The brothers…reunited?

A week before Taker was set to fight Shawn for the WWF Title at the Royal Rumble PPV in a Casket match, Kane seemed to have a change of heart. He threw off the yoke of Paul Bearer, and saved Taker from a DX beat down, and the two shared a gesture. Then, at the show itself, as Taker was being attacked by DX, The New Age Outlaws, Los Boricuas and the casket, the fans demanded Kane show himself.

He obliged. He came down, took out everyone, did his arms pose, failed to get any pyro (which may well have been a very, very subtle nod as to how being a ‘good guy’ makes you weak), then turned on his Brother, destroying him, letting Shawn Michaels win the match and then, along with Paul Bearer, set fire to the casket, although Taker wasn’t in it…

Phase 8d- Fooled you!

So, while Paul yet again began to call out the Undertaker, Kane went after, according to Paul, “the only man big and tough enough to stop Kane”, Vader. After destroying a Vader clock with fire to prove a point, Kane, following his daddy’s orders since, for the first time in his life things were going well, beat Vader at No Way Out Of Texas, then beating in Vader’s head with a wrench for shits and giggles.

But eventually, Undertaker relented, agreed to fight Kane, and the match was set for Wrestlemania.

After Tombstoning Pete Rose who was annoying and such, Kane came face to face with his half-brother, both men playing mind games hard. The match was hard hitting, if not technically crafted, with several key moments, including one where Kane, obviously enjoying the fact that he was getting the upper hand on his bastard brother who burnt him, pulling Taker up at 2. This was the true mistake, as despite Taker’s plancha missing Kane and hitting the Spanish Announce Table, Kane couldn’t keep Undertaker down long enough, and 3 Tombstones later, Kane was pinned for a bare 3 count.

To say Kane was happy would be, well, such a bald faced lie as to be silly. He did get some revenge after the match, beating down Taker and Tombstoning him on a steel chair

Phase 8e- Do over! DO OVER!

Despite losing, Kane, or rather Paul Bearer, demanded another match, since Undertaker only just got the pin and couldn’t do it again and was a coward and got beat down and that Tombstone on the chair must have hurt and so on and so forth. Taker, his queasiness against fighting his own flesh and blood dissipated since it felt good and he won the match, agreed. A week after Kane losing to Taker at Wrestlemania, he lost to Taker again at a UK PPV event, Mayhem in Manchester. So Paul Bearer, knowing his power and control and Kane’s momentum was slipping, challenged Undertaker to an Inferno Match, where he who sets his opponent on fire is the winner, with fire all around the ring. While this was a logical match to create given the wrestlers’ pasts and powers, it still threw both men to some degree. But they went at it regardless.

Kane was lucky when he fell out of the ring in such a way that he didn’t get set on fire, thus meaning Undertaker was trapped in the ring.

Kane was then unlucky when Vader returned and began to brawl with him.

Kane was then really unlucky when Taker hit his trademark “Goodbye Cruel World” tope on both men.

Kane was then black cat under a ladder over a broken mirror in the shape of an upside down horseshoe unlucky when Taker knocked him out.

He then woke up to find his arm was on fire. And while this meant he lost the match, he was more concerned with his arm being on fire.

Eventually Kane got it put out, and no serious damage was done, beyond minor burns. But Paul Bearer, knowing that Kane at this point wasn’t a match for The Undertaker just yet, convinced Kane that the loss in the Inferno Match was Vader’s fault. So a Mask vs. Mask match was signed. And despite Vader trying to extract pay back with a wrench, at Over The Edge 98, Kane pinned Vader with the Tombstone to win Vader’s mask, this loss setting Vader down his “fat piece of shit” path that led to his leaving the company and the business in a major way.

But for Kane, it was onwards and upwards. A week or two prior to taking Vader’s mask, Paul Bearer had told the world of how he had bedded Mrs. Calloway and how Kane was his son. This only reinforced Kane’s loyalty, and Paul rewarded this greatly, with an ally.

Phase 9- Kane & Mankind, The Masked Mutilators.

After Over The Edge, Dude Love had been fired for not beating Austin by Vince. Cactus Jack wanted nothing to do with the WWF at the time. So Mankind returned, screwed over Austin and Undertaker by helping Kane out, thus getting Mick rehired, since Taker was now also in Vince’s bad books since he helped Austin retain the WWF Title at Over The Edge. Since Mick had reverted to the Mankind persona, Paul saw an opening, took it, and convinced Mick to join forces with Kane, once again be under his management. Kane and Mankind formed an odd bond, but what it lacked in niceness it made up for with success. Kane got his first major legit win over The Undertaker thanks to Mankind, thus also earning Kane a title shot at King Of The Ring. The two also rose in the Tag Title Ranks, but Kane became focused on Austin, wanting the WWF title, going so far as to talk (with the help of an electrolarynx) to Austin, and vowing to set himself on fire should he fail to beat Austin, in what had been booked as a First Blood match.

The obvious unfairness of this (A guy who wrestles in a mask and full body outfit vs. a guy who wears blank trunks only) being allowed can be, of course, attributed to Vince McMahon being a dick. The mysterious lowering of the Hell In A Cell Cell (used earlier in the Undertaker/Mick match) can also be attributed to this.

Undertaker ‘missing’ Kane, and blasting Austin with a steel chair to bust him open however, is debatable. But it did mean one thing.

Phase 10- Kane, YOUR WWF Champion.

Kane entered Raw the following night as WWF Champion. He then accepted Austin’s challenge for a rematch, promptly ate a Stunner during it and lost the title 24 hours after winning it.

Phase 11- Kane, OUR Former WWF Champion.

Kane was surprisingly calm about this, Paul Bearer obviously working overtime to keep him in line. Or was he? For while Paul may have thought he still had Kane under his control, Kane had been got to by someone else.

The Undertaker.

It’s hard to say how Taker managed to get to Kane, but probably he made arguments based on their common Mother and how she wouldn’t have wanted them to fight, and how Paul was just using him, and how his Big Brother wanted to help him, and how he got him the WWF title but Paul let him lose it. And so on, in those periods where Paul was unable to be with Kane, be it in the dressing room, in the hotel room, in the bathroom, wherever. So while the two were not instantly working together, the two were slowly but surely getting there, the loss of the World Title annoying but not that bad.

After all, he would have gold back around his, uh, shoulder soon enough, as a couple of weeks later he and Mankind defeated the New Age Outlaws to win the WWF Tag Titles. This immediately led to the tag match that had been signed for Fully Loaded, Austin and Taker (who weren’t really getting along, since Austin suspected Taker and Kane of being in bed together [ewww], rightly with hindsight, and the two were set to fight at Summerslam for the belt) vs. Kane and Mankind was turned into a Tag Title Match. Austin and Taker, despite not getting on, did manage to win the tag belts, Kane falling to Taker rather easily, given his past ability to withstand pain like his half-brother.

But a couple of weeks later, in a historically unique fatal 4 way match on Raw (unique given that in the match were the WWF Champion (Austin), the IC champ (The Rock), the European Champ (D’Lo, subbing for an injured Owen) and the tag champs (Austin and Taker)), Austin & Undertaker defending against Rock & D’Lo, The New Age Outlaws and Kane & Mankind, Kane and Mankind regained the tag titles when Kane pinned The Undertaker very easily, with a single chokeslam.

However, the duo was short lived, as Kane grew increasingly distant from Paul Bearer (who had not been seen recently) and Mankind, who asked what was up and got beat down in reply. Thus, after the two fought in a Hell In A Cell match on Raw that solved nothing, Mankind was forced to defend the tag belts against the New Age Outlaws at Summerslam by himself, lost, got thrown in a dumpster…and was then attacked by Kane.

But the end of the show was the key, as Kane watched the Taker/Austin main event, and after Austin retained, he and Taker stood side by side and watched Austin. The Brothers had officially reunited.

Phase 12- B.O.D, Take One.

Vince, seeing the obvious plan, used it, forcing Austin to defend his WWF title against both The Undertaker and Kane at Breakdown in a Triangle match, although to create an air of “The Deck Isn’t Stacked, Really”, the rules stated that the Champion had to be pinned or pin someone, i.e. Undertaker and Kane had to pin Austin to win, Austin could pin anyone. In theory, this meant Austin had an easier time, since he had 2 chances to win vs. the Brother’s one. In reality, it meant Kane and Taker teamed up to beat down Austin, thus ensuring his defeat.

Except that their alliance and brotherly love didn’t extend to being happy for the other to be champ and have the right to beat Austin. Both wanted the belt, both of them wanted to beat Austin, and hence when one had a pin, the other broke it up. Eventually, after Austin almost had the match won, the two brothers made up, then hit a double chokeslam.

Made a double pin.

And therefore…there was no champion.

Vince didn’t care since Austin wasn’t the champ. But, in order to prevent Taker and Kane (whose desire to please Taker was becoming less and less powerful) from destroying him and the WWF, he made the match for Judgment Day, Kane vs. Taker, for the vacant belt. And to really piss off Steve Austin, he was the guest ref and would have to declare a winner or be fired. Taker and Kane didn’t care and beat him up anyway, but the match still went on.

Kane wanted that belt. And since Taker was now in his way, he went back to the guy who last managed him, and asked Paul for help. He agreed, and during the match, Paul came out.

And promptly tried to screw over Kane.

Kane had none of that and went after Paul, but Taker took him out, then Austin took HIM out, and the match ended with no new champ and a fired Austin. But for the main purposes of this story, Kane had been turned upon, and for the very first time in a long time was alone. And… popular?

Phase 13- The Big Red (Corporate) Machine

The alone part was soon to be changed however. For while Paul Bearer and Undertaker had reunited under the banner of cool demonic evil, Paul was still Kane’s legal guardian, or at least was until he signed this power over to Vince McMahon, who then began to force Kane to do his bidding or else, thus Kane was forced to technically join the Corporation, although it hadn’t really fully formed yet by the time Survivor Series came around. Kane, probably under orders, lost the second round match to The Undertaker (both men getting a bye) then cost Taker the semi-finals match by chokeslamming Rocky, thus allowing The Rock, the secretly chosen one, to advance and end up winning the tourney and title.

However, Kane was still a bit of a loose cannon, and hence at Rock Bottom he cost Taker a shot at the title again, this time helping Austin win his match against Taker. Of course, neither man was in Vince’s good books so he didn’t mind who won. But pretty soon he got Kane back under his thumb, with threats of back to the mental wards if he didn’t tow the line.

Kane’s run in the Corporation was…mixed at best, as while he did help out on occasion, his anger would often lead to hindering the Corporation’s plans. Although sometimes the Corporation screwed him over, like in the 99 Rumble, where after he was able to clear the ring the Mental Ward Workers came out and Kane eliminated himself to deal with them.

But then came a new development.

Phase 14- Kane’s in Love!

Chyna joined the Corporation, after she got tired of being the silent eye candy (… Well compared to the rest of them…) of DX. Almost immediately, Kane was to be thrown out and sent back to the mental home. But Chyna intervened, convinced the guys to give Kane one more chance, a chance he would be successful at. The two had a relationship of sorts, Kane willing to follow anyone who told him what to do, and Chyna needing serious back up to help fight DX, given that they were pissed off at her.

She chose wisely it seemed, as at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Chyna and Kane defeated HHH and X-Pac in a tag match. Although it also seemed a mistake when in an attempt to burn HHH in the lead up to the HHH/Kane match at Wrestlemania, Kane burned Chyna by accident, although the concern and feelings Kane felt afterwards was obvious, as he nursed Chyna.

But at Wrestlemania, everything came to a head, although first the San Diego Chicken attacked Kane, or rather, Pete Rose dressed up like the San Diego Chicken attacked Kane. After a Tombstone to remove that problem, HHH and Kane fought, with Chyna nowhere to be seen at first, although she ended up coming out later, and helping Kane win. By DQ, when she hit him with a chair, seemingly rejoining DX.

By the end of the night, however, Chyna and HHH were in the Corporation, and Kane was out, alone, and lost. But one small, greasy-haired punk would very quickly change that…

Phase 15- A fire obsessed maniac and a greasy middle aged punk. What could possibly go wrong?

A week after HHH had abandoned DX, while the Outlaws were still coming to terms with the loss, X-Pac knew he had to move forward, and so he wrangled himself a tag title shot against Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett. Not that they minded, since they were on a roll, they were unstoppable, even the cream of 20 guys couldn’t beat them at Wrestlemania…

Of course, you should know who X-Pac got as his partner, given the subject matter at hand.

The two formed a fairly strong double team, their contrasting styles working well. True, the initial idea behind them getting together (making HHH and Chyna pay) didn’t quite work out, as HHH pinned X-Pac at Backlash, but they had the tag titles and held them, fighting off several teams, including the New Age Outlaws on the first SD, and Mark Henry and D’Lo Brown at Over The Edge. However, eventually their title defences caught up to them, and they lost the tag titles a week after Over The Edge to the Acolytes, and Billy Gunn also turned his back on DX, effectively ending the group, and leaving X-Pac, Road Dogg and Kane as a loose team.

Phase 15b- Well, forget HHH, let’s focus on Taker. And Holly. And Show. And Gunn. And…

Kane and X-Pac then focused on the King Of The Ring Tournament, Kane beating Test in the first round, then on the night itself beating Big Show in the second round thanks to Hardcore “Big Shot” Holly and a 3 minute chokehold. But then, thanks to Big Show being a sore loser, Kane failed to beat Gunn.

This then led, after a few weeks of back and forth arguing, to a match at Fully Loaded between the two big guys, with Hardcore as the ref. This was important, as he ended up costing Kane the match with a clip to the knee into the Chokeslam into a fast count. This led to X-Pac coming out. Which led to him being chokeslammed, and that brought Undertaker out, and the official forming of the Taker/Show duo, with continued beat down of Kane and X-Pac.

However, this beat down drove the two to regain their Tag Titles off the Acolytes, and then challenge Taker and Show to a title match at Summerslam, with Kane slowly gaining confidence in himself. X-Pac’s friendship began to weaken Paul Bearer’s control over him, and hence he began to realize that he wasn’t a monster, nor a burnt freak. Hence, he spoke without his voice box (his first words? ‘Suck it!’), and generally seem slightly more normal.

This was 100% useless as Show and Taker destroyed X-Pac at Summerslam winning the titles in fairly decisive fashion, even if Show’s Chokeslam only got two thanks to a sloppy cover.

Kane then briefly came back into the main event scene, thanks to his wars with Big Show and Taker, and since they got dragged into the World Title picture thanks to Vince winning the WWF Title, Kane got dragged in too. After losing ‘his’ match, the Inferno Match, to HHH (although to be fair HHH had to fight everyone else in the challenge match and win a majority to get in, and he had help to do it, and Kane’s spot in the match was not on the line, just his health), he still got a spot in the main event 6 pack challenge at Unforgiven for the vacant World Title, a match he would neither win nor lose, as HHH regained his belt by pinning the British Bulldog.

So Kane went back to the tag division with his bestest buddy X-Pac. And while X-Pac’s friendship was chipping away at Bearer’s years of mental conditioning, it wasn’t intentional. Hence Kane was still…confusable. Or at the very least, unsure as to how to deal with a friend. Hence X-Pac began to feel a little mistreated, began to think that everyone saw Kane as the power behind the team; he was just filling out the numbers. Hence, he demanded a match to prove himself to Kane. Kane, slightly confused, didn’t want to hurt his friend, but at No Mercy, a 4 way elimination match was signed due to X-Pac’s insistence, X-Pac vs. Kane vs. Bradshaw vs. Faarooq. And while Kane pinned Bradshaw with a chokeslam, he was almost immediately taken out by X-Pac, who ended up winning the match.

But that was ok, since he got that desire to compete out of his system, right?


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Mathew Sforcina

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