The Big Red Waste

Kane as I like to Remember Him
Photo Courtesy of WWE

As much as I enjoyed the March 28th go-home show for Wrestlemania 27 this year, I did see pure red for a couple of seconds. I should not have seen red as I, and you, should be accustomed to what we saw on that edition of Raw. The same unspeakable travesty has been occurring in WWF/WWE for over a decade. What caused this outburst of anger for me?

The biggest lost opportunity in a single wrestler in WWE history (my argument) took another tumble. Yes, friends, Kane performed the ‘Santino trumpet celebration’. Am I overreacting? I don’t think so.

I have always been a huge mark for the big red machine right from his awesome debut at the first ever Hell in a Cell in October 1997. I was in awe of a such a large and agile yet talented wrestler. He was off to a great start feuding with his ‘brother’ the Undertaker as an unstoppable and pitiless monster (coming after his first two of many, many bad choices/gimmicks, Dr. Issac Yankem DDS and fake Diesel).

Glenn Jacobs/Kane was billed at about 5 pounds less than the Undertaker yet was taller and much more muscular. My buddies and I cracked up at that stretch of truth. Remember also that at the time Undertaker was not the performer that he is today. Kane was already being billed well under Undertaker’s shadow even though, in my humble opinion, he was far more intimidating and impressive than the phenom.

Well one can write a book on all of the bad booking decisions that Kane fell to over the next 14 years or so …
– his first world title reign was well under 24 hours long making it a joke
– the Kanerooni
– the Katie Vick angle … if you saw it then you know it
– a terrible feud with Shane McMahon (how convincing would an Undertaker/Shane feud have been booked??)
– the unmasking of Kane due to yet another loss to Cripple-H (who beat Kane countless times in the early 2000s) … not so bad in retrospect but terrible under those conditions
– the terrible miscarriage angle with Lita and Shitsky
– an awful feud with Xpac where Kane’s ‘girlfriend’ Tori turned on Kane for her ‘captor’
– the vomit-inducing Lita/Edge/Kane love triangle to mirror Matt Hardy in the ‘real life’ situation … how can that be booked for somebody like Kane?
– the worst-booked feud of 2010 with Edge where the baby face kidnapped and tortured the heel’s father while the heel begged for his father back … with terrible promos attached
– countless face/heel turns making him an inconsistent character

I am sure that there is much more than this and I may ask Billy Joel to re-write “We Didn’t Start the Fire” with all of the terrible booking decisions surrounding Kane and his WWE tenure.

The WWE could have very easily had a second ‘Undertaker’ phenom (no, not the same gimmick but think a twisted version of Undertaker) think Venom and Carnage from Marvel comics. But no, they go with stupid comedy angles, countless heel/face turns, booking him weak, and mind-boggling feuds (see Shane McMahon) to kill the character that could have been Kane.

What is Kane’s upside? He’s damn intimidating and scary looking … a legit big and strong guy. He can move too. No, not like Eddie or HBK did but damn fast for a big guy. I realize that many are mixed on his promos but not me. You would be hard pressed to find a better guy to play a sick and twisted soul. He’s a hell of a character actor. Kane has also obviously been a great company man doing whatever the WWE has asked of him (to his discredit).

Could Kane have been as big of a superstar as the Undertaker? Likely most will think not. However, I ask you, who is the better character actor of the two (sorry, Taker is dull)? Who is more physically impressive? Who is more agile (OK, that is arguable but easy for me)? Taker has been booked strong/impressive 98% of the time and not so for Kane.

No, Kane will not put on an HBK/Bret Hart classic match nor consistent five-star matches but he has his place in the WWE universe and it’s much better than this. Does anybody remember his matches with Dolph on Smackdown? He can perform with the right guy and I would argue as well as the Undertaker can given the Undertaker’s ten match per year schedule.

Again, I likely have not given another topic it’s due but time is short. There will likely be more who disagree with me on this than those who see it my way as I expect. However, look past the booking and tell me that Kane is not a huge lost opportunity for WWE.

5 Responses to The Big Red Waste

  1. Avatar VinceGillett
    VinceGillett says:

    I’m a huge Kane fan too but really I think a lot of the problems with him are more to do with wrestling as a whole. Being a silent unstoppable heel when he came in as Kane was bad timing in the end. The landscape had changed especially with Rock, Austin and the attitude era centre stage. Had Kane been around at another time he could have had a long career at the top but nowadays you need to be able to talk or WWE won’t push you longterm. That and the general quick paced, short term nature of sports entertainment meant fans could potentially get bored of his original character (Or at least WWE thought they would).

    I also think whether or not he was better in the ring than Undertaker the comparison probably went against him. Why do you need two when you have one right? I think Kane was just another huge obstacle for Undertaker except this one caught on and has stuck around unlike some of the others that have just gone once their time is up.

    Despite all that I agree they could and should have done a lot more with him. If they stopped trying to make him seem like a demented Undertaker/Mankind/Sex offender hybrid and just let him be who he was things could have been great.

  2. Avatar BigErn
    BigErn says:

    Well said, Vince. I did see, however, a place for Kane in the attitude era. Austin and Rock would not stop flapping their gums (and I liked it, trust me) but I liked the ‘silent monster’ gimmick and thought that it was a good contrast from the mouthy (some entertaining and some not) workers of the time.

    True, Undertaker was also a bit of a silent monster but I still found the Brothers of Destruction to be quite different in style and, dare I say, personality. I feel that Kane should have been booked heel much longer.

    To the next point, I was very underwhelmed by the unmasking of Kane. At the time I thought that the character was ruined and was I ever wrong. The conditions of his unmasking sucked (jobbing and looking like a pansy once again to Triple HGH) but what was uncovered was who I still consider one of the best character actors of all time (sorry, repeating myself). I really dug his twisted promos and sick and wicked character. Then he joined forces with Xpunk and I vomited in my mouth … sigh.

    If Kane was not booked as brother of the Undertaker perhaps there would not have been so many comparisons. However, look at Kane’s work and shelf life compared to Undertaker. Glenn is a freak of nature in a very good way.

    Vince and I may be the only Kane fans here on TBH as he tends to be a joke of some other podcasts and I wanted to jump through my screen when I saw some jokers comparing him to the Great Krahpi for workrate (seriously?) but I wonder what some of the favorite Kane moments were for some. I will never forget the Royal Rumble 2001 where Kane eliminated 11 out of the 29 other men (that’s 38% folks) for a record. I was so naive I thought that he was going to win it but good old Stone Cold tossed him out.

  3. Avatar Vince G
    Vince G says:

    I will date/make an idiot out of myself and say I still kind of thought wrestling was ‘real’ ish at the 98 Rumble and seeing Kane come out and save Undertaker only to put him in the casket and torch it will probably be my favorite Kane moment ever and possibly the last time I truly saw wrestling through kids eyes.

    I think Kane’s whole opening run was great. I loved the matches he had against Mankind at Survivor series 97 and even Vader at Over The Edge 98. And I personally think the WM 14 match when Taker first went up against Kane is one of the streaks most underrated matches.

    When him and Mankind were a dysfunctional team was good.Hell, pretty much every thrown together team (some obvious exceptions) worked pretty well and showed he could work well with a lot of different guys with varying styles and abilities. Him and Undertaker going up against a white hot Austin was a great program.

    I think when he ‘won’ the title the way he did (First Blood with everyone and their dog getting involved) and then they changed their minds immediately back the writing was on the wall.

    I think the fact Kane ever got sympathy from the fans shows what a good job he and they guys in charge could do. To me Kane as the underdog of sorts going up against Hunter was pretty good in parts but of course HHH buried him and in many ways he never recovered.

  4. Avatar Zack
    Zack says:

    Im with both of you guys. The only reason I still pay attention to wrestling is because Kane is still around. Im almost 30 so I have seen the awesome and the bad with Kane. No matter what people say, Kane was booked wrong. In an era full of Cena, Mysterio and other mainstream characters that the public would accept, I feel that Kane should of always been that psycho monster that you could book very well. Instead with all the gay crap they do with him, I almost wish he would go to TNA.

    The way I see it is they gave Kane his title run in 2010 and thats all we will ever see with him again. Its almost like the writers heard Kane fans cry and gave him a run but in no way will it happen again, unless they remask him. That to me is the only storyline Kane has left or they will just keep making him roll over.

    I can see why Kane isn’t respected anymore. Its because they put him in all these horrible storylines when he should be in main event status a few times per year. He needs to either remask or be psycho Kane for good.

  5. Avatar BigErn
    BigErn says:

    Thanks Vince and Zack. Here is a Kane moment that my brother reminded me of and I forgot … less than 30 seconds and worth a look!