Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Boo: Hellfire & Brimstone

Kane confronts Undertaker in his debut (WWE)
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

I figured October 5th was the best day to post this Halloween submission, after all it's the anniversary of the debut of Kane.  He appeared at the end of the Hell in a Cell match between the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels at the In Your House: Badd Blood pay per view in 1997.  That show was in St. Louis, and I was there watching.  So was Chad, but we didn't know each other then.

The introduction of Kane was great.  He ripped the door off the cell (where was he at the HIAC when Miz and R-Truth broke in) and tombstoned his "brother" the Undertaker.  Paul Bearer brought him into the company to get revenge on Taker and take him out.  The tombstone of course cost the Undertaker the match, but he refused to fight his baby brother.

Kane lights things up
The storyline was that Undertaker had been playing with matches as a child, and set he and Kane's childhood home on fire.  The blaze allegedly killed the children's parents and burned Kane very badly.  I'm going from memory, but I think that's how they played the angle.  I also can't remember if Paul Bearer was immediately announced as Kane's father or not, but eventually he was.

Anyway, in the beginning Kane was the monster heel that I've always believed should be on a wrestling show.  His wrestling wasn't great, but he dominated his opponents.  I can remember him destroying Dude Love and Vader on separate pay per views.  These were two big men in the company, and to see them get handled so easily helped make Kane seem like a legitimate threat.  Undertaker still refused to fight though.  And I can't remember the exact circumstances, maybe it was at the Royal Rumble when Kane set the casket on fire that the Undertaker was dumped in during his casket match with Shawn, but Taker made his comeback at Wrestlemania that year to of course now face his brother.

Face to face at Mania
The feud was set up nicely.  The buildup before the actual match went from October until March.  That's pretty much unheard of now.  Do you think they'd start a program now and wait until Wrestlemania before the participants ever wrestled?  I don't.

Through the years they softened the big man.  He did win the WWF title from Steve Austin, only to lose it back the next day.  He held various titles and changed from heel to face more times than I can remember.  But he's had a lot of staying power in the company.  Fourteen years is a long time.  The gimmick has changed a bit including the unmasking in 2003.  And we've seen him be that big red monster to being the guy dancing with Rikishi and Too Cool.  So he's run the range for sure.

2nd reign as champ
Most recently, he had another world title run.  He held the belt for several months (which is rare these days).  He and the Big Show reunited and held the tag team titles again too.  Kane has had several partners through the years and several reigns as tag team champion.  Going from memory here, Big Show, Undertaker, RVD, X-Pac, Mankind, and the Hurricane have all held the tag belts with the Big Red Machine.

Final thoughts on Kane, and I was an adult when he made his debut, but I can still remember a very vivid dream I had after he first appeared.  I was standing in the ring on Raw, and his music hit.  The flames shot up, and he charged the ring like he did all his other opponents.  I can remember hearing JR yelling for me to get out.  "Hellfire and brimstones, it's Kane, it's Kane, it's Kane!" he yelled.  But I was frozen in fear.  Just before he climbed the apron, I woke up.  Pretty freaky.

The Christmas Creature
I miss that version of Kane, but I do understand the need for a character to develop and reinvent himself. Other long time superstars Undertaker and Triple H have done the same thing.  I'm just glad Glenn Jacobs ended up with a gimmick that worked for him after failing as Isaac Yankem, fake Diesel, and the Christmas Creature (remember that?)

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