Call him what you will. Kane. The Big Red Machine. A brother of destruction. Isaac. Unabom or just plain Glen. Either way, the masked monster has been going for years and, often through no fault of his own, is often ignored or overshadowed by other wrestlers. I, however, love the bloke. I like him with the mask. I like him without the mask. I like him funny. I like him scary. Hell, I didn’t even mind him trying to get Cena to ‘embrace the hate’ simply because it involved throwing the ‘internet darling’ Zach Ryder off the stage when he was in a wheelchair. Boom. I’d buy that for a dollar. Either way though, I’ve always admired his work.
In the age of ‘the new way to watch TV’ (er, on your phone? Can I not just watch it on my 37 inch which is, you know, in front of me?) Kane has always made the most of his abilities and given every story his all. Yep, he’s been saddled with a lot of crap (er, hello, is Katie there please?) but he’s also had some cracking moments (pushing MVP into the flame during the Inferno match of 2006 – how I miss those days). However, and settle down at the back or I’ll quote a poem or something, here are my 666 reasons why I love Kane not in any particular order (if you could imagine me unfolding a long piece of computer paper a la Chris Jericho with his ‘holds’ that’d be great for theatrical effect).
1. The Debut
And what a debut it was. Yep. It helps having the commentators screaming ‘That’s gotta be Kane. That’s gotta be Kane’. The music adds a lot. The lights add a lot. The good old pyro from the ring posts has always helped but, I’m sorry, he rips the door from the steel cage and tombstones The Undertaker. It was a great end to a great match. In terms of debuts, I put it right up there with Chris Jericho. A debut means that by the time the wrestler leaves the ring/stage you know who they are and what they’re about. We sure as hell did with Kane. He went for his brother, cost him the match and got revenge for all Taker had done to him. Job done. It also helped that he looked terrifying. The red light shining down on his mask. Yeah. Jason Vorhees, if he wrestled, would have threads like that. Also, speaking of the mask, all the iterations of it have been good. I do miss the steel-effect mask that he debuted in 2012 but that doesn’t really help Team Hell No’s dynamic (although Daniel Bryan putting his fingers in his ears definitely helps!). Speaking of which...
2. Team Hell No
They were brought together during the summer of 2012 which involved CM Punk and AJ Lee. I remember reading a lot of forums, a lot of posts, a lot of complainers saying that this was no good for Bryan. Kane would drag him down. Here’s a bloke at the end of his career working with someone who is constantly being buried by management and this is another example of it. Yep. All Kane’s fault. And then, well, this happened –
I know, I know, the whole segment is great, it’s probably one of the best bits of comedy WWE have done. It’s the speech though. Not only is it funny, played straight and direct, it also allows Kane (Glen?) to have a laugh at some of the weirder angles he’s been part of (seriously, is Katie there or not?). Suddenly people started thinking that this relationship might work. D-Bry and K-ane could actually be part of something funny but, and here’s the important bit, we could get behind both of them. Doctor Shelby, hugging and then a legitimate tag title run followed. In fact it worked so well that when The Shield recently beat Team Hell No it felt like a big deal. Not only because The Shield are dangerous heels but also because Team Hell No had beaten all-comers. In a way, it was the perfectly told tag story. Two competitors who hate each other, are thrown together and then, somehow, make it work. It was played for laughs at the start but then, in the ring, these two very different competitors played it straight (well, almost).
3, Money in the Bank 2010
Every now and then you can say a superstar owns a PPV. Look at Punk in 2011 at the PPV of the same name. Look at Triple H at ‘No Mercy’ in 2007. For me, Kane owned ‘Money in the Bank 2010’. As usual, on paper, it looked like the match would be over-shadowed by the more showy Raw ladder match which had Jericho, Edge and Orton amongst its participants. Kane’s had, at least at that point, a solid mid-card feel with Drew Mcintyre, Kofi Kingston and Christian. For me, it was the match of the night. What I love about mid-card wrestlers (whether that’s where they’ve worked up to or fallen down to) is that, when you get a ladder involved, they want to prove a point to management. Here were eight blokes putting on one hell of a show for everyone in the opening match of the night. The internet wanted Christian, Cody or Dolph to win. I , however, wanted Kane to win. I always hated his 24 hour run (and, unsurprisingly, that doesn’t make its way into the 666 reasons of why I love Kane). I thought it sullied the ‘reputation’ of the character. Well, that and he lost to the Cena of his day in Stone Cold. I wanted Kane to have a title run. Of course, when he won the match I never thought he’d cash it in straight away but then he did this two matches later –
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like Rey but it was great to see him get thrown about by Kane. A monster on a mission. Also, listen to the crowd when he wins. They sound pretty pleased for the big bloke. Call it what you will. Call it management rewarding him for working so bloody hard for them for years. Call it the ‘cheap cash-in’ win. I don’t care. Kane got a proper title run and didn’t half beat the hell out of Rey to get there.
5. Kane – The Ladies Man.
I read somewhere when researching this article that Kane has had more girlfriends than any other superstar. I don’t know if that’s true but, bloody hell, for a masked psychopath with a penchant for burning commentators and tomb-stoning baseball managers, he’s had more luck than me. Obviously, there’s been AJ (seriously, who hasn’t been there?), Lita (er, same comment but, like, for real this time) and Katie (no, seriously. Is she coming out to play?). I could go into the whole Katie Vick storyline but, as often happens with Kane, he was saddled with something pretty bad there, made worse by the Triple H, er, coffin-loving segment. I however, prefer to remember Kane in a white tuxedo, or Kane bewildered as AJ skips round the ring in a replica mask or, well, I know it’s not strictly Kane but I do love this moment involving his ‘baby’–
To be honest, I can’t think of a column that I could write where I could ever include that clip so, yes, I’ve crow-barred it into reason number 5 as to why I love Kane and I’m not even going to apologise for it.
6. Taking off the mask.
I know, I know. A lot of people hated this part of his career. It won’t surprise you when I say, I didn’t. The character was growing stale and he needed to become a monster again. Besides, unmasking moments are always great. What was best about this particular unmasking was that Kane went on a complete rampage afterwards. Even doing this to good ol’ JR –
I love that interview. All those that say Kane is no good on the mic or when doing promos are usually the same people who say he doesn’t deserve any success or that he was going to drag Daniel Bryan down last year. The segment was there to set up the crazed maniac that he’d become as a result of losing the mask. It did it really well and set up a new part of his career which, took him on the long-travelled Kane road of er, heel turn/face turn/heel turn/face turn/heel turn/face turn/heel turn/face turn. Oh well. From a health and safety point of view though, were none of the WWE cameramen a bit concerned when Kane turned up with a bucket of petrol?
7. This move –
There aren’t many big men that go to the top rope. This is probably one of my favourite moves and it’s not even a finisher. It’s just a good top rope clothesline...but from a bloke who stands at 7ft tall and weighs 326lbs. Oh, and he’s 45 years old. I’m in my mid thirties and can barely walk off the squash court. Dunno about you, but I’m impressed.
8. The 2001 Royal Rumble.
I hope, just like the streak for The Undertaker, Kane’s elimination record stands forever. It really cemented him as a monster again. Alright, some of those he eliminated were hardly future Hall of Famers but he did get rid of Perry Saturn, The Honky Tonk Man and The Rock. Not bad all things considered. Only two things didn’t happen – firstly, he didn’t eliminate Drew bloody Carey, and second, Stone Cold sodding won again. Anyway, who cares, Kane got 11 and it’s hard to see anyone doing that again.
Right, I know what you’re thinking. Is this really going to go on for another 598 sections? No. Obviously I’m going to cheat.
63 PPV wins
449 TV wins
11 eliminations in the 2001 Royal Rumble (a double cheat to include it here as well. What you going to do? Sue me?)
12 consecutive Royal Rumble appearances between 1999 and 2010
37 eliminations all Royal Rumbles (second only to Shawn Michaels with 39)
16 RR entered
Which obviously takes me to reason six hundred and sixty six.
666. The Brothers of Destruction
I’m not going to say too much about them. I’m not even going to quote a philosopher. To be honest, I want to do a future column about them as there’s too much to even consider saying in this one. However, I love their storied history. I love some of their matches. Okay, some aren’t great but when these two are in the ring, it feels special. Actually, scrub that. It still feels special. They’re intrinsically linked from the debut to the recent Raw where they fought The Shield. I loved the build up to the Wrestlemania XX bout. I loved the two brothers putting aside their differences to tag.
Hell no, I admit it. I love Kane.
Please follow me on twitter @HughFirth or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org All constructive criticism is appreciated.
Ta ta for now and hopefully see you next week.