Kane: WWE’s most undervalued Superstar?

Kane has been a hot topic in today’s WWE, but not for the greatest of reasons. Once a ruthless, fearless, and fearsome competitor, Kane has been on the receiving end of the WWE Universe’s constant stick. But why? Let’s delve hell-deep into the career of ‘The Big Red Machine’.

Kane debuts and monstrously rips off the door of the cell to approach his brother.

Glenn Jacobs made his debut as Kane in the WWE in 1997 (he had portrayed several other gimmicks before). His arrival was foretold by Paul Bearer, who warned The Undertaker that his half-brother was coming to challenge him. Bearer was right, as Kane interrupted the very first ‘Hell in a Cell’ match to date, involving the ‘Heartbreak Kid’ Shawn Michaels, and Taker himself at the ‘Badd Blood: In Your House’ pay-per-view. Kane cost The Undertaker the match by delivering a Tombstone Piledriver to him, sending shock-waves throughout the live audience and those watching around the world.

A new look, the first of many to come.

At this point, Kane had everything going for him. He was a huge physical specimen, and had an incredible back-story, as revealed by Paul Bearer and The Undertaker in the weeks prior to the pay-per-view. What’s more, Kane eliminated one of the WWE’s most dominating competitors, and truly let his actions speak louder than any words could. In fact, for much of Kane’s early career, he was a mute – voiceless. To top it all off, Kane’s attire consisted of one of the most legendary wrestling costumes to date. He wore a red and black outfit that covered most of his body, had long, streaky hair, and wore a mask that concealed his face. To top this monstrous look off, he had a white contact lens in one eye, truly making him look like a menacing freak of nature. This complied with Kane’s back-story, as this attire was worn to cover his scars from the fire of his burnt-down home, as well as his identity. So yes, Kane was voiceless, AND faceless. This added to Kane’s mysterious persona – nobody knew what he looked like or was thinking. How many wrestlers, both voiceless and faceless, can you think of who have made such an impact in pro wrestling? Year by year, his attire continued to evolve, from removing one full sleeve to reveal a beast of an arm, to inverting his colours, making him look slick as well as deadly.

Kane continued to assert his dominance and relevance by continuing to feud with The Undertaker, and helped create some of WWE’s most memorable moments. These include putting The Undertaker into a casket and setting it on fire, as well as the epic Inferno match between the two. ‘The Big Red Machine’ quickly made his way to the top-tier, and even defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWE Championship at the ‘King of the Ring’ pay-per-view in 1998 (although he lost it back to him the next night on RAW). However, his success wasn’t short-lived, as he and Mankind formed a partnership and won the Tag-Team Championships twice.

Kane finally speaks, just about…

It wasn’t long before we got to hear Kane speak, well, kind of. After teaming with X-Pac and even acquiring Tori as his girlfriend, Kane used an electrolarynx to aid him with his speech. In fact, his first spoken words on WWE television were “suck it”, a catchphrase made famous by D-Generation X. Kane evolved further, and started speaking unassisted. It could be argued that this took a lot away from Kane’s mysterious and dark nature, however, it finally gave us more depth into the character of WWE’s monster. It also made for some entertaining and comedic moments, as Kane would often surprise the locker-room as well as the audience (see here). Even if Kane’s character was slightly uplifted, his dominance and destruction in the ring continued. He became the record-holder of the Royal Rumble by eliminating a total of 11 men, only to be runner-up as he was then eliminated by Stone Cold Steve Austin. His record has only just been beaten by Roman Reigns, who eliminated 12 men at this year’s Royal Rumble.

A few years later, Kane’s inner-demon became evermore apparent. Kane fought a match against Triple H where the stipulation had him remove his mask if he lost. Thanks to the Evolution members, Kane lost the match and removed his mask for the first time on WWE television. It was a moment that every wrestling fan was waiting for for years. It disappointed some, but like him talking for the first time, allowed a lot more room for his character to expand and evolve. His unmasking caused him to become emotionally unstable, and he displayed these acts by attacking Jim Ross in an interview, and even set him on fire. He then went one step further and attacked Linda McMahon that same night.

After his unmasking, Kane was involved in several story-lines, some involving championships and some not. His most notable story-lines of this era was versing a returning Undertaker at WrestleMania XX (whom Kane helped Vince McMahon bury previously at Survivor Series), and impregnating Lita. However, Kane would not win another title until 2005 where he and The Big Show acquired the World Tag Team Championships. This was soon lost, and Kane began to lose several matches after this reign. Before Kane’s relevance and fear-factor could be distinguished, his next most relevant story-line helped rekindle his dark side. It was about the date May 19th, where Kane heard voices about this eerie day on a weekly basis. It was soon revealed that this was the day that Kane’s mother and adopted family were killed in a fire. The man behind the voice was an imposter Kane, which the real Kane eventually disposed of.

Kane continued his WWE career by losing more matches, and eventually got drafted to SmackDown where he reunited with The Undertaker, reforming The Brothers of Destruction. Kane’s dominance seemed to have been reignited, and his next most significant career highlight came at WrestleMania XXIV, where he won a battle royal to earn a chance to win the ECW Championship against Chavo Guerrero, which he did. As predicted, this reign did not last long.

Forward several years, and Kane did not see much luck for a while. He was involved in pointless, sporadic matches, and did not succeed in many championship or Money in the Bank ventures. However, he eventually became the World Heavyweight Champion after finally winning a Money in the Bank ladder match (this was his fourth participation) and cashing-in the contract on Rey Mysterio that same night. Kane held onto the title for a while, and successfully defended it against Rey Mysterio and The Undertaker on several occasions and stipulations. At long last, we got to see how Kane should have been booked – dominant, and actually winning and holding onto championships. It was a good era for wrestling fans who knew how under-utilised Kane was. Eventually, Kane lost the title to Edge, but his first healthy reign as champion was long overdue, and we were happy we received it.

Several years down the line, Kane again became lost in pointless match-ups and story-lines that did not effectively deem him the monster he was for so many years. Kane needed to be revived, and this came in late 2011 where Kane returned from an injury, wearing a mask as he previously did for the majority of his wrestling career. The mask was different, but still gave him a menacing look he lost for so many years. He also wore a metallic mask which was inspired by a post-mortem human body after an autopsy, giving the fans the idea that Kane was truly resurrected. Unfortunately, this was short-lived, as even though Kane performed some disastrous acts – such as severely attacking Zack Ryder – he ultimately lost in both his main feuds with John Cena and Randy Orton.

Kane…beat-boxing…

What took place in the later months was either loved or hated by the WWE Universe. Following his defeat to Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam, Kane and Bryan were enrolled into anger management classes. While some of the segments were considered quite entertaining, Kane’s devilish days were well and truly over. The pair were a comedic duo, and even took part in events such as a ‘Hug it Out’ match. However, Kane and Bryan became the new Tag-Team Champions, and they became known as ‘Team Hell No’ thanks to a Twitter poll. Their reign as champions lasted for 245 days, a considerably long time – especially for the career of Kane.

kane 8Kane returned after a two-month hiatus from being attacked by The Wyatt Family, but under a new character we had never seen him exhibit before. Kane pledged his allegiance to The Authority, and handed-in his mask. Unlike his Corporation days, Kane underwent a character change and was now the ‘Director of Operations’. He wore a suit and tie on a weekly basis, and it was safe to say that if Team Hell No didn’t end Kane’s reputation as a fierce and frightening competitor, this certainly did. Thankfully, Kane soon wore his mask again as Stephanie McMahon told Kane to become the devil that he always was, due to his defeat against The Shield at WrestleMania XXX. However (as predicted), Kane lost his first title match against Daniel Bryan at Extreme Rules.

Funnily enough, this article commenced before the events of Kane brutally assaulting Daniel Bryan on the following episode of RAW. After these events, I began wondering whether everything I wanted to talk about had just been disproved/rectified. Flashbacks of Kane from his early days resulted from these disastrous actions. However, the years of WWE belittling Kane should have taught me otherwise, as Kane went back to being a simple pawn for a higher entity (The Authority). Yes, he’s recently been involved in main event matches, but not for his own gain. Hell, he recently ensured Seth Rollins’ victory in the first Money in the Bank ladder match of the evening, and then dedicated his participation in the second ladder match by being devoted to Randy Orton – even though he could have had the gold to himself! His purpose is to serve, and to make matters worse, he’s been a jobber for several years now. Yes, having younger talent going ‘over’ legends makes sense for the push, however this doesn’t work with Kane. Chris Jericho is a great example. You could say that he’s a jobber (his segments with CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler indicate this), yet him losing to the opposition does two things. It majorly pushes the winning man, yet it doesn’t take away Y2J’s status as a veteran and worthy competitor. Why? Because Jericho hasn’t been under-utilised/undervalued for the majority of his career, none at all if any. Kane has, meaning that any chance of him becoming a fierce entity again is at best, slim. His persona as a monstrous force to be feared has become dampened by the various roles he’s been degraded in.

All in all, it can be said that although the memory of the character Kane will remain in fans’ hearts for eternity, we can agree that he could have been so much more. Yes he’s held several titles. Yes he’s been a dominant force in his own rights. And yes, there have been sources stating that Kane is very humble and often likes to put other people over. But for a character of his stature and status, he has only ever had one relevant reign as champion, and he’s been used as a pawn/bodyguard for most of his career. WWE’s recent usage of Kane has hindered his appeal – he doesn’t seem all that threatening after his entrance and pyrotechnics igniting the ring-posts. WWE became lazy with him, ultimately leading to his under-utilised character, and it’s a shame that it’s too late to turn things around. You could even go as far to say that if he wasn’t portrayed as The Undertaker’s ‘brother’, his overall success may have been further minimised. Nevertheless, his Attitude Era days will never be forgotten, and Glenn Jacobs has been an underrated credit to the world of professional wrestling.

The evolution of ‘The Big Red Machine’.

What do you think? Are you happy with how Kane’s career has unfolded, or do you agree that he should’ve become more? Have your say by leaving a comment!

Please note that these images are each owned by their respective owners, I do not own any of them. No copyright infringement is intended. 

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Ushering in a new era: WWE’s game-changing week

What a week it’s been for the ‘WWE Universe’. It’s been an emotional seven days, with ups and downs all round. However, despite all the momentous events, the take-away message for this week has been difficult for some fans, and promising for others; the WWE seem to be transitioning into the newest era of its professional wrestling existence.

WrestleMania XXX

Many of you may disagree here, but this was one of the best WrestleManias to date (just beaten by WrestleMania XVII). It had all the ingredients for a successful show, but most importantly, it also signified the slow but sure ending of previous eras that we’ve all clung onto.

The opening

The show kicked-off with Hulk Hogan, introducing the show and welcoming everyone to the Silverdome (ha). He was only to be screen-shot-2014-04-06-at-6-34-01-pminterrupted by ‘Mr Attitude Era’ himself, Stone Cold Steve Austin. After some classic Austin talk, out came The Rock! It was an awesome segment, and long-time WWE fans have waited for years to see ‘The Rattlesnake’ and ‘The Brahma Bull’ in the same ring at the same time. We only got to see a glimpse of this at WrestleMania XXVII. It was probably the best WrestleMania opening we’ve seen to date, and quite frankly, it’s uncertain as to whether we’ll ever get another opening as epic as this one. Can you imagine any bigger legends of the industry opening the show in that fashion? It’s hard to imagine how the WWE would top this in future ‘Manias (unless they lazily brought the same three back in future years to come), and this opening was just one of the reasons to suggest WWE’s closing of one era and opening into another.

The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

20140406_WM30_LIGHT_HP_CesarAndreCup1Many people predicted The Big Show to win this match, as it was only right for a legendary giant to be the first man to win such an accolade. However, while it did make sense to have The Big Show come out on top, WWE prioritised their future here, and gave Cesaro the nod to pick up the win. Having the ‘King of Swing’ be the first man to win this prestigious award should now persuade the people who weren’t already convinced that Cesaro is a fully-fledged competitor of the future. This is another indication of WWE shifting its way into a new era, as often relying on stars from the past to carry the company forward is definitely the incorrect move.

The Streak…is over…

What a shocker this was. The reaction from the live crowd (and probably everyone watching around the world) was immense. The end to this match was like Marmite, you either loved it or you hated it (I personally loved the chaos and buzz it caused). However, no matter what anyone’s opinion of this outcome is, it can’t be denied that this result is a major indication of the WWE’s era transition. We now have no ‘Streak’ to look forward to, and whether this be Taker’s last match or not, every future WrestleMania will never be the same again. Hey, maybe they’ll start a ‘Streak’ with someone else? Highly doubtful, but you never know. ‘The Deadman’s’ spot on the ‘Mania card will probably now be taken by a current/future star, once again highlighting the point of the WWE prioritising its future. Oh yeah, and Brock Lesnar was the guy who won, by the way.10150695_1424505227806276_7106890449998293072_n

The ‘YES’ movement flourishes…

An obvious indication of the future rising here; Daniel Bryan not only beat Triple H, but then went onto defeat Randy Orton AND Batista in the same night to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. WWE’s hottest acquisition beat three future Hall of Famers in one night, and to top it all off, he did it on the grandest stage of them all. If evolution ever came to an end, it would be now.WrestleMania-Daniel-Bryan

The Hounds claw their way forward

Not much to be said here. The result of The Shield vs The New Age Outlaws and Kane was another obvious indication of the WWE promoting its current echelon of stars so that the company can continue to gracefully exist in its new era.

But…what about The Wyatt Family?

Bray Wyatt’s loss to John Cena should not be looked upon as a contradiction this theory. Firstly, it would’ve been too soon for Bray to win against WWE’s poster boy. Secondly, The Wyatts have been given a huge push already, and there’s no doubt that by next year’s ‘Mania, they’ll be even bigger than they are now. Last of all, John Cena may not be a ‘new guy’, but he’s certainly far from done. He’ll be like the Taker of the next generation – a living legend that up and coming Superstars will strive to beat to get themselves noticed. The Wyatts will most-definitly be part of the future. All in good time.

RAW after ‘Mania

paigeWithout going into too much detail here, it’s safe to say that this RAW really made it clear that the future of the WWE is near, and that a new era is beginning. Alexander Rusev made his long-awaited in-ring RAW debut, and annoying Adam Rose and corny Bo Dallas vignettes were scattered throughout the show. The biggest story of the show, however, was twenty-one-year-old NXT Diva, Paige, who interrupted AJ Lee and nabbed the Diva’s Championship off of her. While many can agree that she shouldn’t have won the gold just yet, you can be sure that WWE has its future in sight. Let’s not forget about Cesaro becoming a ‘Paul Heyman guy’ as well, joining the likes of CM Punk and his 434-day title-reign, and Brock Lesnar’s defeating of ‘The Streak’. Before you say it, let’s leave Curtis Axel out of this one, shall we?

The late great Ultimate Warrior also said his final words in the public-eye, which mentioned the current-future WWE locker room: “In the back I see many potential legends. Some of them with warrior spirits. And you will do the same for them. You will decide if they lived with the passion and intensity. So much so that you will tell your stories and you will make them legends, as well.” Don’t be surprised if next year’s WrestleMania contains less matches with legends and more with the current roster.

To conclude, many of this week’s events in the WWE have indicated a potential shifting of era. Stars of the past have ended their reigns, current stars are further securing their spots, and new stars are gradually making their way-in and stealing the show. It seems as if we’re currently experiencing the transition into a new era. It certainly has been a game-changing week for the WWE, and is definitely an exciting time to be a fan.

May I also take this opportunity to wish Warrior’s (James Hellwig’s) family and friends all the very best. Rest in peace Ultimate Warrior, we appreciate what you have done for this business. tafkagadotcom-rip-ultimate-warrior

Do you agree? Can you sense the transition? Let’s hear your thoughts below!

Please note that these images are each owned by their respective owners, I do not own any of them. No copyright infringement is intended. 

WWE condensed: The good, the bad, and the ugly…

An overview of the WWE’s current state. Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment and share!

The breakup of the ‘Prime Time Players’…

The good:

  • Titus O’Neil has finally been given the chance to spread his wings and show how great of a singles competitor he can be. He’s charismatic, a powerhouse in the ring, and has a great physique. He also makes for a great heel.

The bad:

  • Not that the WWE were doing much with it, but the breakup of PTP further weakens WWE’s current Tag-Team division.
  • Darren Young is talented, but it is uncertain whether he can go it alone. Without big Titus by his side, he’s going to have to do everything on his own, even fend for himself when he fails at a cheap pop by getting the city’s name wrong.

The ugly:

  • Darren Young’s face when he doesn’t appear on live television as often as he’d like to. Will he end up being another JTG?

Keeping ‘The Show-Off’ off the show…

The good:

  • Nothing. Maybe avoiding concussions, but that’s harsh…

The bad:

  • Dolph Ziggler is an exceptional talent. He’s athletic, a great seller, and can cut
    above-average promos. He’s collecting dust in the locker room and is being under-utilised. He’s here to show he world, but when the hell will WWE give him a push that lasts longer than a month?
  • Having Ziggler off live television allows for extremely pointless and boring matches to take place, consisting of the likes of Fandango, Santino Marella, and Zack Ryder. In a lengthy three-hour show, this is a recipe for disaster.

The ugly:

  • Just like the ‘YES!’ chants, the ‘WE WANT ZIGGLER’ chants are starting to creep into other segments, which can be viewed as disrespectful to the Superstars currently performing.

Swinging for the fences…

The good:

  • With incredible feats of strength, Antonio Cesaro has been one of the most exciting Superstars over the past couple of months.
  • He’s one of few Superstars who have broken the mould of using his foreign origin as a gimmick. Not only that, but he’s done the complete opposite – joined the ‘Real Americans’!

The bad:

  • Poor Jack Swagger can only watch in envy as Cesaro continues to shine. There have been hints of the ‘Real Americans’ splitting up, and this could not only spell a downfall for Swagger’s career, but for the Tag-Team division also.

The ugly:

  • If Cesaro branches out on his own, it would be a shame to leave Zeb Colter in his tracks. Zeb is a phenomenal talker, capable of drawing a lot of ‘heat’ while being entertaining at the same time.

#BNB…

The good:

  • After John Cena, this segment seems to be WWE’s predominant Marmite – you either love it or you hate it. Either way, it’s doing its job, being entertaining and/or drawing heat for one Wade Barrett.
  • Regardless of Barrett’s reasons for not being in the ring, the #BNB segment is at least keeping him somewhat relevant.

The bad:

  • Barrett needs to be in the ring. He is a top performer, and actually presents a threat to his opposition. He is worthy enough to form a believable rivalry with a number of top-flight baby-faces. Of course, it is unclear as to whether he is healthy enough to compete or not.

The ugly:

  • His husky voice when he utters the words “WELL I’M AFRAID I’VE GOT SOME BAD NEWS…”, although this just adds to the beauty of the segment.

Sierra, Hotel, Indigo, Echo, Lima, Delta…REIGNS.

The good:

  • We are getting an insight into the depths of each member’s character.
  • They are being pushed, and in the right way.
  • They are putting on incredible matches on an almost weekly basis.

The bad:

  • While Roman Reigns seems like the man of the moment, he is being pushed far too much. We’re forgetting who the real ‘leader’ of the group is, and small things such as having Reigns stand in the middle of The Shield when confronting The Wyatt Family can get frustrating.
  • Seth Rollins – arguably the best performer within the group – is being overshadowed by Reigns and Ambrose’s ongoing rivalry.
  • With the ongoing story-line of The Shield cooperating as an incohesive unit, the United States Championship belt is becoming even more irrelevant around the waist of Dean Ambrose.

The ugly:

  • It’s been suggested that Reigns could become the next face of the company in the future. This could be done well, providing WWE do not brand him as the next heir to Cena’s Superman throne, which can be seen being done already.

The ‘best’ takes his ball and goes home…

The good:

  • CM Punk will get his well-deserved rest.
  • His departure will allow for more Superstars to fill top-spots in story-lines and matches.

The bad:

  • His selfish act has impacted other Superstars such as Sheamus, who was set to have a match with Daniel Bryan at this year’s WrestleMania XXX. Bryan is now set to square off against ‘The Game’ Triple H, leaving Sheamus in a rather pointless match with ‘Captain Charisma’, Christian. Hey, at least Christian’s getting one more match.
  • Fans are distorting segments with ‘CM PUNK’ chants, being ignorant to the pure fact that Punk himself cost these paying fans the chance to see him. It’s not WWE who got rid of him, remember that.

The ugly:

  • The crowd’s reaction if and when CM Punk returns. They may go crazy, or they may be hostile and boo him rotten.

The ‘YES!’ movement…

The good:

  • His rise to stardom is guaranteeing a quality match every show. He’s put the ‘W’ back in WWE – we’re seeing actual WRESTLING!
  • The fans’ interruptive ‘YES!’ chants have simmered down during other segments because they’re getting what they want.
  • The typical mould for a main event player has been broken – Daniel Bryan has proven that the system can be beat.

The bad:

  • Not everyone loves Daniel Bryan. It feels as if WWE have succumbed to the pressure of making him close every show.
  • While Daniel Bryan is one of the all-time greats as an in-ring technician, his character is actually quite stale. His push has obviously led to more promos, which can get boring and bland.
  • The ‘YES!’ chant is an easy and fun chant, which encourage fans who don’t necessarily love Daniel Bryan to join in and jump on the bandwagon.

The ugly:

  • His beard.

Top-end players…

The good:

  • Cena’s out of the title-run, and has a one-on-one match with Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania – which is a huge boost for the Wyatt leader’s already flourishing career.
  • Undertaker and Lesnar go head-to-head at WrestleMania, a match that should prove to be exciting to those who think otherwise.

The bad:

  • Every WWE fan is wondering when ‘The Deadman’s’ last WrestleMania will be, and if it’s this one, many will be disappointed that he didn’t go out against a someone more fitting.
  • The ‘eater of souls’, Bray Wyatt is in the limelight against John Cena at ‘Mania. It’s a shame that Eric Rowan and Luke Harper don’t have more of a role, although they’ll probably play some part in the match one way or another.

The ugly:

  • Orton and Batista’s WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at ‘Mania spells trouble. ‘The Viper’ is undeniably a gifted performer, but his character has grown stale and nobody cares for him anymore. Along comes big Dave in his shining armour, only to be boo’d out of every arena. WWE have now turned ‘The Animal’ from face to heel, which should allow him to absorb the jeers more gracefully. However, we now have a heel vs heel title match, and the only cheers generated from this match will come from the joyous feeling of each combatant being torn apart. WWE cannot simply close WrestleMania XXX with a match of these characteristics. Then again, it’s wrong to close the show with a match that isn’t for the grand prize on the grandest stage of them all. Unless they turn Orton face and hope for the best…

Some extra points…

  • ‘The Usos’ need to keep doing what they’re doing. It’s a shame we’ve already seen them vs. ‘The New Age Outlaws’, a match that could have been a spectacle at WrestleMania XXX for the WWE Tag-Team Championships.
  • Despite his match interruptions and  backstage yelling, The Miz still hasn’t been relevant on television at the slightest. It’s still hard to believe that he headlined WrestleMania XXVII against John Cena and retained the title.
  • It’s quite frustrating to see ‘The Brotherhood’ – Cody Rhodes and Goldust – on pre-shows and not even competing for gold anymore. They were on fire just a couple of months ago, and should be well within the mix of the hunt for the Tag-Team Championship belts.
  • The Diva’s division needs some help, and fast. AJ Lee needs to drop another pipe-bomb!

To conclude…

Overall, it is clear that WWE have a bit of work to do leading up to WrestleMania XXX. Whilst they’ve got some things right, they need to spend the remaining weeks tidying up their story-lines and prioritising their talent accordingly.

Once again, whether you agree or disagree on some if not all of these views, leave a comment, share, and follow if you haven’t already done so!

Please note that these images are each owned by their respective owners, I do not own any of them. No copyright infringement is intended.