RingSide Report

World News, Social Issues, Politics, Entertainment and Sports

WWE & the Lost Gimmicks: Kane

By Sean Farrell

There was a time in wrestling when gimmicks ran rampant and stirred a crowd into frenzy. Those days are gone as I previously spoke upon in the intro to this series, but the memories remain. I recently brought you Papa Shango and The Godfather two of the most memorable gimmicks in the history of pro wrestling.

Shango got such a short run in the WWE however, I didn’t get to fully touch on the “dark side” of gimmicks too much so I will now, starting with as promised a masked schizophrenic with an appetite for pain and arson known simply as Kane.

Kane was something of an entity when he debuted, he was the half-brother of the Undertaker who was and still is the most feared and respected wrestler EVER. But the reason the gimmick worked was the way it was delivered.

Paul Bearer in the middle of 1997 turned on the Undertaker, Bearer then threatened and provoked the Undertaker telling him Kane was coming to get revenge on his brother. Revenge for what? You must be thinking, well that wasn’t revealed for months. By October the public couldn’t wait anymore and Bearer’s threats began to appear false as the Undertaker continued to go on about his business feuding with Shawn Michaels in the meantime. Then came the blow off for that fued and the start of a new, which culminated storylines for everything they should be.

At the Badd Blood: In Your House Pay-Per-View, the Undertaker faced Shawn Michaels in the first ever Hell in a Cell match. The Undertaker and Michaels held a bloody war going back and forth trying to finish one another until the Undertaker finally grabbed the upper hand and was ready to win the match as the lights went out. After a slight pause, there was an eerie church organ blaring a demonic tune and everything was tinted crimson with the arena’s lights and Paul Bearer emerged from the curtain holding his urn and behind him was the most imposing figure ANYONE had ever laid eyes upon.

From the looks of him he was huge, covered from head to toe in a crimson suit with black slashes with an emotionless mask covering his face bearing the same, covered with dark long hair as he came stalking down the ramp. When he gets to the Cell door which is chained shut and padlocked, he simply grabs it and tears it off its hinges and squeezes into the demonic structure. Once inside the ring toe to toe with the Undertaker (who is 6’10, 326 pounds) Kane was huge in every sense of the word, as they stood face to face Kane looked down upon the Undertaker, something which was very rare back in those times.

As the Undertaker had a shocked look upon his face like he has just seen a ghost, Kane picks up the Undertaker holds him and turns a few times and plants the Deadman with his very own Tombstone piledriver and leaves. Michaels rolls over and steals the pin while the Undertaker was laid out, but while this was going on the entire arena was wondering what they had just witnessed.

As the Undertaker denied causing harm to his own “flesh and blood”, Kane went on a war path so to speak. In the middle of random matches(mostly mid-card) the lights would go out the organ would wail and the arena would be painted crimson as the 7 foot 330 pound Kane destroyed everything in his path from Vader and Ahmed Johnson down to the Hardy Boyz and Flash Funk. Kane came off as demented, extremely violent, and almost impervious to pain which sold the gimmick even further. While the Undertaker refused to face Kane, Kane seemed to have a change of heart. Kane and the Undertaker formed an alliance which became a staple in tag team history simply known as The Brothers of Destruction.

Kane was cost the WWF World title at the Undertaker’s expense, which led to Kane costing him his match at the Royal Rumble. After the match, Kane locked the Undertaker into a casket and set it ablaze ridding us of the Deadman forever, or so he thought.

Undertaker would return in grand fashion using lightning bolts and druids to strike fear into Kane, but it didn’t work as Kane simply returned the favor with lightning of his own setting production crew members ablaze leaving Undertaker no choice but to face Kane at Wrestlemania XIV. Undertaker would defeat his brother after a remarkable 3 Tombstone piledrivers, a move which was never kicked out of. Kane would attack his brother after the match setting up the first ever Inferno match, which Undertaker would also go on to win with the help of Vader.

After this the reason why Kane showed up was revealed like a plot twist in a movie and it stuck.
Paul Bearer was revealed to be a former employee of a funeral home owned by Undertaker’s parents. When Kane and Undertaker were children, Kane accidently burned down the funeral home killing their parents and scarring Kane emotionally and physically. Bearer kept Kane alive and hidden for years to keep the Undertaker from knowing as he went on to befriend the Deadman. Undertaker turned on Bearer however, so Bearer thought the time was right to reveal Kane to the world to gain vengeance on the Undertaker.

Kane went on to beat the Undertaker and win the world title from Stone Cold Steve Austin, but he lost it 24 hours later on the next night’s RAW right back to Austin. Kane went on to form a team with Mankind, but after losing the tag titles Kane turned on Mankind and realigned with the Undertaker.

Undertaker then turned on Kane for Paul Bearer and Kane went on to be known as the “tweener” he is today switching regularly between heel and face. The gimmick of Kane is something that couldn’t have been done any better by Hollywood and just goes to show how watered down the WWE has become…Everyone blames the rating being PG, but it’s clearly just a lack of effort to put together another compelling story like this one.

In my next edition, I will summon all the things which go bump in the night and make you cling onto something tight…He’s coming to get you!

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