wrestling / Columns

Evolution Schematic 6.20.13: Kane (Version 2.0) [Part 2]

June 20, 2013 | Posted by Mathew Sforcina

Phase 16- Lose X-Pac, Gain Tori. All in all, a positive trade off.

For X-Pac turned on the man he helped create out of a monster, beating Kane down on the night that DX reformed. This did not sit well with Kane, but while he tried to deal with the fact that his best friend had turned on him, he gained another friend in Tori, who felt sorry for Kane.

And Kane, needing another person, especially now, and not wanting Paul Bearer’s influence as he was still under the influence of X-Pac’s words about how Paul was evil and Kane didn’t need him. So he opened up to Tori, and she, shockingly, didn’t shy away. But then, neither did Katie, neither did Chyna. Sometimes being a tortured soul has nice side effects.

So, with Tori by his side, Kane went after X-Pac. He got him at Survivor Series, although the match was only just getting going when DX ran in to give Kane a win, albeit a DQ win. But then X-Pac nailed Tori with a spin kick. So another match was signed, this time, as punishment, inside a Steel Cage. This didn’t stop DX, who worked out how to get in the cage, and got Kane handcuffed to it. X-Pac, cocky, then turned his sights to Tori, and nailed her with an X-Factor.

This led to Kane snapping the handcuffs, Kane slamming the cage door into X-Pac’s head, a clothesline off the top of the cage, and a Tombstone, ending the match by pinfall. And while this should have ended the problems, it didn’t, as Tori got Kane a WWF title shot off HHH and Steph, the new power couple, it came with a stipulation that if Kane didn’t win, Tori had to spend the holidays with X-Pac. Big Show did beat Kane, and hence Tori went off with X-Pac, and converted to his side, although she didn’t reveal this.

Instead, she began to act paranoid, and claim to Kane that all these guys were hitting on her and molesting her. Kane would then beat them up, since he wanted to protect his love. Hence, in the lead up to the 2000 Royal Rumble, Kane was an unknowing tool of the McMahon-Helmsley Regime, as they styled themselves. After nearly winning the Royal Rumble, however, DX/HHH realised they needed to break Kane, and hence they revealed Tori’s true love on the first SD after the Rumble.

Phase 17- Owner of a Broken Heart…(Insert weird sound effects here)

Kane, lost, confused, torn, a broken shell of a man, went back to the only man who ever truly loved him. Paul Bearer. And yet, somehow, Paul was different. While he was still a manipulative bastard, even HE had limits. And while years of psychological torture and manipulation was A-OK, he wasn’t about to sit by and let some slut make a fool out of his son!

So Paul Bearer once again became Kane’s manager, and people approved, Kane still had the fans support, more so since a lot knew the heartache of seeing your girl leave with some other bastard. The hatred of years of living in mental institutions after your older half-brother starting a fire in the funeral home you lived in… That’s not as easily identifiable with. And Paul helped Kane try and get some release, some closure to this whole X-Pac/Tori deal. He didn’t really get it at No Way Out, as while he did manage to Tombstone Tori, he got pinned by X-Pac.

It should be noted, that around this time, DX forced Kane to unmask for them after he failed to win a match. The group acted in total disgust at what they saw, as if he had been burnt. But now, with the benefit of hindsight, we know he wasn’t. So why did they react like that? Well, we do know that Kane is not the most attractive man on the planet, that when he wore his mask he tended to accumulate dirt and such, and also, DX were juvenile. Naturally, if they looked at anything even the tiniest bit gross, they would react like children.

The alternative is that they were so intelligent that they instantly understood Kane’s psyche and wanted to reinforce the idea in his head that he was a burnt freak, but that’s asking way too much of X-Pac and Road Dogg.

But then, at Wrestlemania 2000, Kane finally got some closure, as he and Rikishi dismantled and destroyed X-Pac and Road Dogg, Kane pinning X-Pac quickly, then avoiding and humiliating Pete Rose to end 2 long running problems in one fell swoop.

Phase 17b- Much better than the owner of a lonely heart…What?

Alas, just after his triumph, Kane suffered an injury, and was gone for a period of time. During this, Paul Bearer left Kane, deciding that he just wasn’t worth the hassle and more, wiping his hands clean of him. Hence, left with no direction, he eventually sort out the one man left who could, perhaps, give him guidance, his half-brother, the Undertaker.

But that was short lived, as immediately after returning to the WWF, he got a chance to become WWF champion, tried to take it, and ended up alienating Taker and Rock and didn’t even win the damm belt, since Rock pinned Vince at King Of The Ring 2000. And although they did patch things up, eventually Kane woke up and realised just what the hell he was doing. He was teaming with the man who burnt him! So, naturally, he chokeslammed an unsuspecting Taker through the ring to remind him of just what he had done.

At Summerslam the two fought, and in a rare case of Kane’s world showing signs of cracking, Undertaker got the moral victory by ripping off Kane’s mask, forcing Kane to run away, and ignoring the crowd’s sudden “Wait a moment…he doesn’t look burnt!” reaction, which was mild since no-one got a good look at him.

But Kane recovered, and continued to be a pissed off rampaging monster, since he had no-one to control him, no goal, nothing. However, one surfaced in the WWF World Title. Undertaker wanted it; Rock held it, Chris Benoit was this close to getting it, so Kane also went after it, since any goal was better than none. And he got close at Unforgiven, but Rock pinned Benoit in the 4 way match to retain aver the 3 of them.

Kane began to team with Benoit, on the basis that he had nothing better to do, when a new goal presented itself.

Phase 18- Hot Coffee got Jericho into trouble LONG before GTA you know.

For on an episode of Smackdown, Jericho accidentally spilled coffee on Kane. Now, yes, hot coffee on your body isn’t the most pleasant thing in the world, but Kane’s reaction was over the top, even for him. But in reality, it wasn’t the fact that Jericho scalded him, it was more an excuse for him to let out all his anger and frustration. After he calmed down a little he explained to the world that Jericho was one of the pretty people, those who lived in the light he had to shun, but really, Jericho was wrong place, wrong time. After all, he was pinned at the Survivor Series by Kane when he caught the Lionsault into a Chokeslam. But Jericho, to his credit, didn’t back down, and instead re-attacked Kane later in the show, their battles culminating at Armageddon 2000, where they had a last man standing match which Jericho won thanks to a big pile of barrels.

Kane was at his lowest point. He was totally lost, without a guide, without a map, without a purpose. So low, in fact, that when a man whom he knew and hated far too well came calling, this time, for the first time, he was willing to listen…

Phase 19- Brothers of Destruction. Enough Said.

And of all people to rescue him, it was his half-brother, The Undertaker. Taker wanted to repair the bridges, and Kane, for lack of options, took him up on his offer.

He immediately saw a benefit, as the first major show after the brothers reuniting was the 2001 Royal Rumble. And sure, Kane didn’t win the match. But, with a tad of help from Taker, Kane eliminated over one third of the combatants, 11 to be exact, lasting 55 minutes, and almost won but got tossed by Steve Austin at the very end. Oh, and he almost chokeslammed Drew Carey. It’s all good.

He and Taker then went after the Tag Titles, but failed to win them at No Way Out thanks to Rikishi and Haku interfering.

Then, after taking them out, the two half-brothers looked for Wrestlemania Matches. Taker got HHH, and Kane got in Big Show’s face. Add in Raven and the Hardcore Title (punishment for Raven using Commish Regal’s picture of the Queen Mum in a match against Chris Jericho), and Kane had his WM match.

A match he would win, becoming WWE Hardcore Champion with a big boot and then an elbow drop off the stage. Unfortunately his reign lasted a mere 2 weeks or so before he lost the belt to Rhyno.

But he had more important things to worry about, as on the following Smackdown, he and Taker won the WWF Tag Titles, and thus were able to use their new belts to challenge the new Alpha faction in the WWF, the Two Man Power Trip, HHH (IC Champ) and Stone Cold Steve Austin (World Champ). Thus a tag match for all 3 belts was signed for Backlash, but alas, the fact that whoever got pinned lost his belt meant that Kane and Taker’s partnership was strained, and hence when HHH pinned Kane after Vince slid in the sledgehammer, Taker was nowhere to be found, and hence the Power Trip had all the gold.

But the next show, when HHH and Kane had another match, this time a one on one chain match for the IC title, Kane proved he didn’t need Taker, all he needed was Steve Austin to mess up, as a Stone Cold chair shot that hit HHH gave Kane the match and the title.

Phase 19b- Kane, IC champ!

As Taker was busy with whoever was stalking Sara, Kane was left to his own devices for a while. After bowing out of the King Of The Ring tourney thanks to Big Show, then costing Big Show his match the following week, Kane tried to help Spike Dudley out by teaming with him against his brothers, the WWF Tag Champs. Alas the déjà vu wasn’t strong enough, as Kane and Spike lost.

A couple of days later on Smackdown, Kane lost the IC title to Albert.

Thus proving that Kane being left to his own devices was a bad idea. Luckily for him (in a way), something came along to give him an obvious goal to work towards.

Phase 20- Kane- Loyal Lt. General in the InVasion.

Kane, while being a deformed, mutated insane monster, did like/respect/have some affection for the WWF. After all, they paid him, they allowed him to beat people up, they allowed him to make up with his Dad and Half-Brother, they did a lot for him. Hence, when the WWF was threatened from outside by WCW and then The Alliance, he was one of the main guys, along side The Undertaker, to fight for the WWF. He was one of the men in the Inaugural Brawl, and thus was front and center to see Austin defect (or rather, would have been had he not been suplexed through the Spanish Announce Table).

So, to prove a point, Kane and Taker teamed again and destroyed Sean O’Haire and Chuck Palumbo to win the WCW Tag Titles, and then challenged the then WWF Tag Champs, Chris Kanyon and Taker’s old buddy, DDP. And Kane and Taker destroyed them totally, unifying the Tag Belts and proving their dominance.

This didn’t last long however, as the week before Unforgiven they lost the WWF Tag Titles to the Dudley Boyz thanks to Steve Austin, and then (after sending Kronik packing from the Invasion and almost killing Stevie Richards’ career at Unforgiven) the week after losing the WCW Tag Titles to Booker T and Test.

After a couple of weeks off, Kane returned to lose to Test at No Mercy thanks to crooked refereeing. But he didn’t let that get him down, and thus, he was there for the WWF, and at Survivor Series, he was one of the 5 men who defended the WWF in the Winner Takes All match, and hence, while he got eliminated a bit early, i.e. third, he still helped the WWF win, and thus should get some of the credit.

Phase 20b- Now what?

Of course, the following night everyone forgot about the InVasion, and focused more on the new Vince/Flair power struggle. Kane was a bit lost, since Taker was off doing his own thing, and Kane didn’t feel that he wanted to keep teaming with him. But he liked being in a team, so he looked around, and up, and asked Big Show to team with him. Show agreed, right up until they failed to win the Tag Titles off The Dudley Boyz at Vengeance.

Thus Kane and Show began to play one-upmanship, Show hitting a bigger chokeslam, Kane tossing Big Show out of the 2002 Rumble with a slam, that sort of deal. This didn’t really go anywhere, although it did lead to Kurt Angle having problems with Kane. So the two fought at Wrestlemania X8, and Kane lost thanks to a rope assisted roll up.

But then something odd happened.

Phase 20c- This is Kane?

Kane started to act…normal. For a very specific value of normal. After he was drafted to Raw, he started to act like a happy go luck wrestler, parodying Rock and Hogan just before he would team with them, in an affectionate way, you understand. It was strange, Kane was…becoming normal.

Perhaps the front office had gotten to him. Maybe, since he was once again by himself, he finally decided to try and do something about it. Or perhaps he had found the right combo of drugs. Regardless of what the cause, a couple of weeks after he began this transformation, the nWo beat him up, X-Pac beating him in a falls count anywhere match for old times sake, and then stealing his mask. Of course, he was injured, but regardless, Kane took some time off.

And in that time off, Kane’s transformation continued, and when he eventually returned…my goodness.

Phase 21- “Freaks Rule!”

Kane came back the night after Summerslam 2002, when he came out to prevent the Un-Americans burning an American flag.

Well of course that’s what they were gonna do. What, you think they’d burn a Nepal flag? Or a Storm Front flag?

Regardless, the fact was that this was not the same Kane as before. Now, he had a changed mask, now with an exposed mouth. His outfit was more exposed, less stuffy. And, of course, he began to talk like a normal guy. Of course, the true turning point was when he did a Kane-A-Roonie, thus signalling a very clear change in his life.

So why was this? What on earth could do this to a man? Money. Kane may be a freak, may be a monster, but he’s not stupid. And at the time, Raw needed strong, marketable names and faces. And the front office really wanted Kane to be one of them. So, given the goal (“Be nicer, be more marketable”), and maybe some self delusion as to work done on his face and body, the new Kane was here to stay.

And regardless of the opinion of those who happened to like Kane as a marauding bastard of a monster, the new Happy Fun Kane seemed to be a Successful Kane. After beating the Un-Americans a few times, including at Unforgiven as captain of the American team, Kane challenged Christian and Lance Storm for the Tag Titles, him and a Mystery Partner. This turned out to be Hurricane, who defected from Smackdown, and the two won the tag belts.

Kane celebrated by thanking his ‘Kanenites’, saying how Hurricane was cool for wearing a mask, and then he celebrated by kissing Terri.

Well there’s no accounting for taste.

And then, a week later, Kane won the WWE IC title as well, and thus set up a meeting with HHH at No Mercy to unify the IC and the World Heavyweight Title.

And then 2 weeks after that, Kane single-handed won a 4 way TLC match to retain his Tag belts (Hurricane was injured by HHH and Flair).

And then…HHH said Katie Vick. And everything went to hell.

Well, more so than usual.

Phase 22- The dark period.

As I have said, Kane tried to keep his new Happy Go Lucky Normal Guy act up; hence he didn’t reveal the truth behind Katie Vick. He let HHH go on with his guesses, while he felt the strain, losing the Tag Belts and then at No Mercy losing to HHH in the Unification match. And then, after a couple more weeks of the icky, Bischoff ended it all with a Casket match that Kane won, thanks to Shawn Michaels.

He then tried to win the title again in the first Elimination Chamber match, but failed to win that. He then shockingly lost to Batista at Armageddon thanks to Ric Flair. But this led to a chance teaming the following night.

Phase 23- Fire & Smoke

For the next night on Raw, Kane teamed with RVD against Batista and 3 Minute Warning, and the smaller team won. Thus a partnership was born. Despite a bit of a rocky period in the 2003 Rumble (RVD trusted Kane enough to let him pick him up. Kane then obviously tossed him out of the ring, since he has a brain), the unusual duo was solid, Kane again just happy to have some sort of goal, some sort of leadership, which allowed him to ignore the dark feelings inside him.

But the duo’s quest for the tag titles was for a couple of months oddly unsuccessful, the two messing up at crucial times, and seemingly unable to work out their differences. The duo were unable to win at Wrestlemania X9 on Heat, but they did win the belts the following night on Raw.

The two defended the belts successfully against a variety of opponents, Dudleys, LOD, anyone they put up against them. But slowly and surely, Kane lost his fire, a loss to Rene Dupree the final straw in several people’s eyes. Certainly Steve Austin’s, who beat on Kane to try and get his fire back. Eventually Kane and RVD lost the belts at Bad Blood to La Resistance (The original Dupree/Greiner version), and then they lost their rematch the next night when Kane used a Steel Chair to get them DQed.

And that brought out Evolution. They offered Kane a spot, since…they were manipulative bastards and would like to have a monster on their side. Kane seemed interested, but ended up with a World Title shot the next night, Title vs. Mask.

A match Kane would lose.

And then Hell REALLY Broke Loose.

Phase 24- He’s Back…

For when the mask came off, Kane’s inner demons were released. The mask, while it changed, was always a symbol. It always allowed him to hide himself from the world. But when he lost it, he lost that barrier. And thus he pre-emptively fought back, and began to take out anyone and everyone he damm well liked. Eric Bischoff, RVD at Summerslam, Jim Ross (via BBQ), Linda McMahon, Shane McMahon, whoever. Regardless of the consequences, he was letting his anger flow, and after all that time bottled up, it felt good. Shane, defending his mother’s honor, proved tough, given that he kept coming back despite jumper cords to the crotch, a missed Leap Of Faith in the Last Man Standing match at Unforgiven, finally ending his problems at the Survivor Series in an Ambulance match.

And the same night, he helped Vince bury The Undertaker alive. That proved to be a bad move, in the long run.

Phase 24b- He Can’t Be Back, He’s Dead…

Kane’s logic was solid. Taker represented everything Kane had been, human, likeable, one of the people. And Kane, now that he was finally ‘himself’, and letting his anger and hatred rule him, had to stop Taker from the same pits and flaws he had fallen into. But he failed to get the job done. For, after failing to win the World Title at Armageddon when HHH stole the pinfall on Goldberg after Kane chokeslammed him, Kane continued his path of destruction…

Right up until the gong sounded in the 2004 Royal Rumble.

Thus began a couple of months of mind games, and the eventual match at Wrestlemania XX, when Kane was beaten by his half-brother with his father cheering on said half-brother.

Not the finest moment in any man’s life. Nor monster’s.

Edge beating Kane at Backlash the following month, complete with Edge’s hand in a cast, just sent him further down the spiral. And when you head down a spiral like that, you step back and take stock of your life. And you realize what it truly important. And for Kane, he realised what that was.

Phase 25- You’re Having My Baby!

Kane wanted a kid. So, out of all the options on Raw, he chose Lita, possibly because of her red hair. And Kane didn’t want to bother chatting and wooing Lita, he just wanted to take it. Matt Hardy, then Lita’s boy, had a problem with this. Although he was denied his right to fight Kane as Kane would attack him and not give him a chance to defend himself. This then had a follow on effect, as Kane was feeling good about Lita’s acceptance of having Kane’s kid in order to stop Kane attacking Matt, and thus he ended up as #1 Contender for Chris Benoit’s World Title.

Double Score!

But then he failed to beat Chris Benoit. Still, no great loss, he still had Lita. Plus he took out Shawn Michaels too. Then Matt beat Kane at Vengeance. This Kane would not let slide, and it all ended up at Summerslam 04, “Til Death Do Us Part”, and Kane winning the right to marry Lita.

And such a lovely wedding it was, what with fire and Lita swearing she loved Matt Hardy and Matt getting chokeslammed off the stage and what have you. Such wonderful memories. But then, Kane’s plans backfired on him. Since he wanted Lita to have his kid, and thus he married her to make sure she stuck around, that gave her the ability to sign matches. Hence, his loss to Shawn Michaels at Unforgiven was her fault.

This pissed Kane off. So the next night, he demanded a body to beat up. Eric Bischoff gave him one, some nobody named Gene Snitsky. And then…

Phase 26- Well then whose fault is it?

Snitsky’s chair shot killed Lita and Kane’s baby, via cause and effect. So Kane directed every single molecule of hatred towards Gene. Hence, what little tactical thinking Kane had failed him at Taboo Tuesday, and Gene won the match via crushing Kane’s throat, thus taking him out for a while.

Phase 27- It’s his fault now.

Kane returned at the end of the year, and quickly ended his problems with Gene via repeated and vicious head droppings, and various other beat downs. Eventually the two men settled their differences, or at the very least decided to stop butting heads, and Kane moved on. He competed in the first Money In The Bank match, but failed to win. He then came to Lita’s aid as she began to like having him around as back up, helping him beat Viscera at Backlash for instance. However, this turned out to be a ruse, Lita helping Kane out in order to set him up so that her REAL man, Edge, could get a win over Kane in the Gold Rush tournament and truly clean up.

This pissed Kane off even more than he’d ever been before. (Kane’s anger is like Super Sayians in Dragon Ball Z. There’s always another level to find). He sank into a depression, eventually snapped out of it, beat Edge at Vengeance, then ended up Tombstoning Lita and driving off with her in an Ambulance, thus getting himself in trouble with the law. And since he had no out clause like he did last time the police had a problem with him, he had to lay low for a while, and disappeared for a bit from our screens.

Phase 28- Back again.

When he returned, he almost immediately (thanks to Taboo Tuesday’s voting) won the tag titles with Big Show, defending them constantly and being the most successful tag champs in quite a while, also being a stanch defender of Raw, since Raw had been his home since the split and had pretty much allowed him to run wild. Hence he and Show defended Raw proudly, and got several key victories over SD, until eventually the Raw vs. SD thing ended, Kane and Show lost the tag belts to the Spirit Squad, and then May 19th began to come up.

Phase 29- A date, a fake and a new monster.

Someone decided to play mind games with Kane. Someone who knew him well. Quite possibly someone trained, or at least advised by Paul Bearer, which would explain why the Fake Kane who eventually showed up, in full old school costume, knew so much about Kane. Alas, whoever he was, he didn’t count on Kane being dominant when he really had to. Hence, despite Fake Kane winning at Vengeance, the next night, Kane totally destroyed him.

He then took some time off, both to film a movie and to decide how he wanted to come back. Eventually he came back as the same guy he left as, and found that this new guy called Umaga was claiming he was the monster of Raw now. Kane disagreed, and eventually the two had a Loser Leaves Raw match.

Kane lost.

Phase 30- Smackdown’s always Hiring!

So Kane went to Smackdown, and after a couple of weeks, he reunited with his half-brother, reforming the BOD in order to take on Mr. Kennedy and MVP.

MVP was Kane’s main target, as he went after the new arrogant guy because… Well, why not? Plus all that lycra in his outfit made him burn like a firecracker when he beat him in an Inferno match at Armageddon 2006.

For the next few months, Kane was a staple of Smackdown, taking on all the best that SD had to offer. After proving that he was a better man than MVP by setting the poor bastard on fire, he got into issues with King Booker over Booker was tossed by Kane in the Royal Rumble, with Booker then coming back in and eliminating Kane illegally, although it stood. Kane would end up losing the last match he had with Booker, a MITB qualifier, thanks to the Great Khali.

So Kane went after Khali, managing to slam him at Wrestlemania 23, although that was all he could do as he lost to Khali that night, even with his new pet hook. Other guys stepped up to take Kane on, Regal and Taylor, Mark Henry, Kane had become just a stepping stone for other wrestlers to make a name for themselves. Kane couldn’t allow that.

Phase 30b- Monsters Want Gold Too!

So he took some time off, until he got what he wanted, a World Title shot at The Great American Bash against Edge. Unfortunately, Kane was too good at beating up Edge and he ended up having to forfeit the title due to injury, which led to Khali getting it, and Kane having a three way match for the belt with Khali and Batista, Khali pinning Kane again to retain.

In his quest to get another shot at Khali, he then got dragged back to stepping stone mode as Finlay got all up in his grill, costing him matches, so Kane went after him, and was only moderately successful.

And then he got a call from an unlikely guy.

Phase 31- Greasy hair, hardcore at times, opinionated… Oh right, straight-edge this time.

CM Punk, one of ECW’s newest and brightest stars, needed help. There were all these huge guys that Punk was taking on, Mark Henry, Big Daddy V, as well as other ECW young guns like Morrison and Miz. He needed a monster to help him, and he convinced Kane to be that monster.

Certainly it’s not the first time Kane would listen to someone you wouldn’t expect him to. Perhaps Punk reminded him of X-Pac, with less drugs maybe. Or perhaps Punk promised to be his wingman to find the girl of his dreams. Or perhaps he just saw ECW as a good way to let loose and have some nice, violent fun. Whatever the reason, although he as SD, he fit in with ECW well, turning up there several times, teaming with Punk and fighting Big Daddy V, until Wrestlemania XXIV, where thanks to a battle royal win, he got an ECW Title shot.

In 8 seconds he beat Chavo Guerrero, and became ECW Champion.

Phase 32- Kane, ECW Champion. To hell with your family, HIDE EVERYONE!

It wasn’t quite the old school ECW. Many people will claim that it was a pale imitation, that it wasn’t anything like the ‘real’ ECW. But even if it was, Kane would still have ruled there. The fact that he only had to let out the violence and the rage occasionally as opposed to all the time was not a good thing. Sure, it kept the injuries low, but it also gave Kane time to let the rage rebuild, he was always in a bad mood, regardless of how he looked. His title reign was cut short by Mark Henry, an old opponent, who took the belt back to ECW, Kane, by this time, was back on Raw due to being drafted back, which can supersede Loser Leaves Raw matches because apparently that was just a gentlemen’s agreement between monsters.

Phase 33- Kane, Monster. Stay hidden.

But this didn’t sit all too well with Kane, and when he was denied a World Heavyweight Title shot at The Great American Bash, he attached the announce team, once again putting him on the bad side with the fans, since everyone loves Lawler and no-one hated Cole yet.

And then he chose a specific target, one to really get under the fans’ skin. He carried around a sack, and he kept asking if ‘he’ was alive or dead. People assumed that he was carrying around the old Kane mask, that he was having a crisis of faith in himself. That would be fitting in with the rest of his past life, but it turns out that instead, he was carrying around Rey Mysterio’s mask, whom Kane wanted to destroy. A good game plan, as taking out a guy like Mysterio would elevate one in the WWE pecking order.

Plus, you know, you get to injure a guy! That’s always awesome!

But sadly for Kane, Mysterio kept getting wins, he wasn’t able to injure the masked man permanently (although calling him a ‘coward who hid behind a mask’ didn’t have quite the impact he was hoping for, what with the hypocrisy and all…). Kane again found himself back down the card, getting the occasional opportunity to fight for MITB at Wrestlemania XXV and the like, but he wasn’t getting any traction, he had no leadership, no purpose, no drive, nothing. Not even a draft to Smackdown helped. Sure, he won matches, beating CM Punk, Great Khali, R-Truth, Morrison, he was getting wins, but not momentum. He wasn’t getting the title shots, he wasn’t getting the respect and fear he deserved. He co-captained Team SD to victory at Bragging Rights, but got nothing.

And then, according to him, he sat down and planned, he plotted, and set in motion a plan. But in reality, it probably wasn’t his own plan…

Phase 34- The Set Up.

He waited for Undertaker to get into trouble, which only took a few weeks, and he came out and helped him fend off Jeri-Show. This led to Taker and the fans liking him again, he became beloved again. He used this new found status to pull back and rest, having fewer matches, as he was off doing charity work and public appearances, you know, all that stuff popular and beloved superstars did. He only got the big matches, MITB at Wrestlemania XXVI and such, the day to day grind he avoided for the most part.

And then, shock horror, over the 2010 Memorial Day weekend, The Undertaker was attacked and left in a ‘vegetative state’. He vowed revenge on whoever it was who took him out, gaining him sympathy and understanding for when he got a little upset, like when Rey Mysterio beat him to claim Undertaker’s vacated spot in the World Heavyweight Title match at Fatal 4 Way. This then led to Money In The Bank where he won MITB for the first time and then immediately cashed in on Mysterio, winning the World Heavyweight Title.

And he was still liked, even though him accusing Mysterio and then Mysterio accusing him of attacking Undertaker mudded the waters. At Summerslam, he beat Mysterio and then The Undertaker returned. Kane then attacked Undertaker, laying him out.

Phase 35- The Pay Off. And WHAT a pay off.

At the time, Kane said that the last 13 years were all one giant trick to get to this point. He said that he had played everyone to become the true dominant brother, and that he had all of Taker’s power. As we’ve established, those ‘powers’ were just mind games, as were his claims. And really, when you see what came next, you have to wonder, was this Kane somehow gaining supernatural powers, or perhaps, was this Kane with guidance? Was this Kane with someone to help mold him?

Basically, was this Paul Bearer’s doing?

For he did return after a couple of months. He came back to ‘help’ Undertaker after Kane beat him in a No Holds Barred match , only to turn on Taker and help Kane in Hell In A Cell and reunite with his son. Kane can claim he gained powers, and that he was playing everyone, but the facts say that this was Bearer, back inside Kane’s head, guiding him, showing him how to be the monster he always could be.

Certainly after The Nexus helped him bury The Undertaker at Bragging Rights, and Kane moved on from destroying The Undertaker from regular competitor to Special WrestleMania Attraction, Bearer was important to him. For when Edge threatened him, when Edge kidnapped Bearer and tortured him, Kane did not act like a master strategist who was willing to sacrifice pawns for the greater victory. Instead, he acted like a deranged monster who needed the stabilising force, who needed his father there, who had to have the brains of the operation back, and thus he gave Edge matches until he was tricked into injuring Bearer.

And then almost immediately after that, he lost the title, and during the end of 2010 and into 2011, he failed to regain the title.

At which point, he swapped one short, portly man for one giant, portly man.

Phase 36- Kane, Air Tromboning. Proof that he IS insane.

The Corre, what half of The Nexus had become, got involved in Kane’s business by running in on a match he had with Big Show. So, naturally, he turned around and attacked The Corre, and found himself back in the fans good books and teaming with Big Show, a guy he knew well. The two were thrown together by chance, and chance brought them back together. Kane seemed to be enjoying this sense of direction again, even going so far as to play along with Santino Marella’s… antics, and ended up winning the tag titles with Big Show.

They’d lose them soon enough, and then Big Show got taken out by Del Rio, leaving Kane to flounder for a bit. When Big Show returned, they decided to split, but then someone had other ideas.

Phase 37- That’s What He Do!

A few days after Big Show was put on the shelf by Mark Henry, Kane told the world that it was time he ‘kill his humanity’, and by beating Randy Orton in a street fight he’d prove that he was the Devil’s Favorite Demon. He would lose the match, shake Orton’s hand and then get injured by Mark Henry, joining Big Show in the Hall of Pain.

Kane was away from the ring for a few months, enough for people to forget his words. They assumed that because he shook Orton’s hand in respect, he was still human. But while the match may not have worked, the time off did.

Phase 38- And that’s what HE do.

When Kane returned in late 2011, it was a different Kane. Not just visually, as he had once again put the mask back on, but also in attitude, as when he returned he chose not to attack Mark Henry (professional curtesy?) but John Cena.

Kane, clearly having shed his humanity, had seemingly joined the IWC decided that to rule he needed to turn everyone into him, as he went after Cena, wanting him to embrace the hate and turn his back on the fans who had turned their backs on Cena. And him too, but obviously this was all about Cena and not projection for his own failures to make anything of himself without a parental or, at worst, brotherly figure in his life while being unable to maintain a relationship with a woman for any lengthy period of time. Nope, this was all about making Cena fall down.

But Kane failed, as his repeated attacks to Cena, Zack Ryder and Eve only served to make Ryder lose the US title. Cena didn’t fall, didn’t give in, and Kane was unable to truly break him. Thus proving that Kane wasn’t perfect, wasn’t the model, that maybe Cena was, and thus, Kane was not better for having shed his humanity.

So, naturally, he lashed out, this time at Randy Orton, the guy who was the last one he showed humanity towards. He fought Randy for a couple of months, beating Orton at Wrestlemania, injuring both Orton and his father, which led Randy to lock Paul Bearer in a meat locker. Kane eventually found the locker, and pulled Paul Bearer out.

This was so he could put him right back in again.

This is actually VERY significant, as Bearer was, as we’ve seen, an important influence on Kane, his most successful times were when he was under Bearer’s leadership. But when he was with Bearer, he was Bearer’s son. He was human. By locking him up in the freezer, he was divorcing that part of himself, he was removing the last shreds of humanity, and becoming fully monsterish.

That was the plan, at least. But as one door closed, another opened.

Phase 38b- Aim away from face.

As Kane was now a force of nature, a monster, both CM Punk and Daniel Bryan tried to use him to their advantage, getting him to beat up the other in attempts to weaken them so as to win/retain the WWE Title. Pretty soon Kane got tired of being used by two men and so attacked both of them.

And that got the attention of a very ‘special’ lady.

Phase 39- When Kane thinks you’re nuts…

AJ Lee was… Not all there any more, after Bryan dumped her over the kiss that ruined his World Title run. So she had begun going after Bryan’s new target, CM Punk and then, when he got involved, Kane. All three men were wary of AJ, but Kane especially. Although he did had past relations with women, they had all ended badly (some worse than others) and more importantly were attempts at a ‘normal’ life. Yes, it seems silly to say that, but it’s true. Kane went after women who were more normal than him, he wanted a woman who was calmer.

AJ was not calmer.

So, using whatever terminology and wording he could, he tried to let her down softly. It didn’t work, but after he lost his shot at the title due to be being distracted by her at No Way Out, as soon as he was no longer in the WWE Title hunt, she moved on.

And that was a problem, as while Kane was all well and happy to turn on people, while he was fine dumping people, he never took people dumping him well. Tori, Chyna, X-Pac, Bearer, he never liked it. So when AJ left him, he tried to find another source of love.

All he found was Taker, who he saved on Raw 1000. At least, that’s all at first…

Phase 40- Dr Shelby. Genius.

Because on that night, AJ became General Manager of Raw. And she stoked the fires between Kane and Daniel Bryan which hadn’t really settled after the WWE Title issue, and then after both of them got angry and attacked people, AJ forced them to Anger Management classes with Dr. Shelby. At first, both men thought it silly. But then the strangest thing happened.

For years, decades even, Kane had let his anger fuel him, along with a twisted desire for love. Be it misunderstanding the friendliness of Kelly Kelly, teaming with the Hurricane, his father, his half-brother, his unborn child or Katie Vick, he had always wanted love. And yet, he could never see that his anger, the thing he was using to drive his passion to beat people up was directly contradicting his ability to have a relationship. And so, as the weeks went by, and he and Daniel Bryan went through their classes and sessions, Kane slowly realised that if he truly wanted to be happy, if he wanted the love of the fans and other people, he had to give up the hate.

It seems impossible, for a monster to give up the hate that was in him from when he was burnt as a child, the hate that had driven him to multiple titles, to destroying legends and becoming one of the greatest superstars of all time, the hate that defined Kane to vanish. And yet, it did.

Or rather, it became much more controlled. Along with Bryan, he learnt to control his anger and not let it rule him, he worked out how to live without hatred filling every moment, and perhaps, with that, finally gaining real relationships. Certainly when CM Punk disrespected his father after his passing, that anger was justified, and no-one blamed him. He was now a normal guy and having normal relationships, and things were awesome.

Although not for too long. Because while he and Bryan became friends, and held the tag titles for a long time, eventually The Shield came calling, and soon Bryan fell once more to madness.

Today- Kane, the voice of reason. Huh.

Today, Kane is stepping away from Bryan, realising that in order to help someone, sometimes you have to let them fall. He sees that Bryan is obsessing over something that he shouldn’t, that he’s letting negative emotions drive him. So Kane has taken the step to dissolve the team for the benefit of them both, and hopes that Bryan sees the error of his ways and how the hell did he get here from where we began? How? He’s a well adjusted man now.

Either Shelby is a genius, or we’re in the twilight zone.


So in the end, where are we? There are two ways one can look at Kane’s career.

The traditional one is to see that Kane’s career is one that shows that anyone can be rehabilitated, that no-one is beyond saving. It is a shining example that humanity will always triumph, that even in this violent world, the most violent and evil can be cured by love and understanding. It’s such a lovely message, that a small boy, burnt and mentally ill, can one day find peace with himself, that your troubles and worries are only what you make of them, that a positive attitude can turn around even the darkest of lives.

But there is another view.

For you see, all this, this entire history, is based around one simple premise.

Kane has had mental issues.

That seems obvious, I know. Of course he did, he had such anger, he was burnt as a child, raised in secret, abused by his father, his first true love died in his arms, he must have been nuts. The man electrocuted Shane McMahon’s balls for goodness sake!

But think about how when he wanted to, he found a genius level intellect. What if it wasn’t Paul Bearer who orchestrated that but Kane? Kane is well known for being able to make the fans love or hate him almost at whim, he’s always able to chokeslam someone and make the fans react how he wants them to.

His father was a master manipulator, and it is assumed that he manipulated his son. But what if it’s the other way around?

What if every single act, no matter how insane, weird or random, was deliberate? What if Kane learnt from an early age that if he acted like he worshipped his brother, he could get away with anything and Mark would take the blame? What if he never grew out of that? Sure, most sociopaths are calmer and less obvious, but maybe Kane is just flamboyant.

What if Kane, rather than being a deranged lunatic now under control, is in fact the single greatest mind in professional wrestling history? What if he’s played everyone, from his parents to doctors to his trainers, his brother, his partners, his girlfriends, his allies, his enemies, everyone, EVERYONE has been fooled. Everyone is dancing to a tune only he can hear, he is conducting the symphony and running the dance floor. That is, perhaps, the scariest thing of all.

An insane Kane might just slug you one for breathing wrong, but an intelligent, manipulative Kane? He might well end up making you slug yourself, and have the fans love him for it.

He may well be the crazy guy, this may be wrong. But it may be right. And if it is, then we’ve not seen the last of Kane. He’s been playing a long, long game. Maybe his goal is to take over. Or maybe, it is to groom a successor, since a son is now out of the question, perhaps in Daniel Bryan he sees a somewhat unlikely but suitable heir to his throne. Perhaps one day, Bryan will be the next Kane.

Or Kane will rule the world of professional wrestling. Or hell, maybe he already is…

 photo kanegraduate_zps8af93da6.jpg

article topics

Mathew Sforcina

Comments are closed.