Background: Prior to TLC, Kane made his return in a mark-out moment for the ages. Kane sauntered to the ring (with a mask!) during a match between Cena and Henry, both men looked like Hell itself had come.
Both the audience and Henry thought Kane was coming for the "World's Strongest Man," who wisely left the ring. Cena stumbled to his feet and ate an awesome chokeslam for his trouble.
Kane stood over Cena and removed the first mask to reveal one more in line with the legacy of his character.
As the weeks progressed, Kane continued to get the better of Cena time and again. Kane roughed up the WWE's resident Boy Scout week after week in an effort to get him to "Embrace the Hate," which John refused to do.
After it became apparent Cena wouldn't turn via direct methods, Kane went after Cena's friend and fan darling Zack Ryder and his gal-pal Eve. Ryder was nearly dragged into Hell with Kane in a moment that caused the IWC to worry for Hornswoggle's safety (I kid you not, it was trending on twitter) and ate a chokeslam on some wooden palettes.
Coincidentally, this injured Ryder whom lost his United States Title in a squash affair to Jack Swagger. Later that same night, Swagger received a memorable "curb stomping" from Cena. Kane appeared on the Titantron and gave his tacit approval.
Next week, Ryder faced Kane in a Falls Count Anywhere match. Laurinaitis made it known that if Cena interfered on Ryder's behalf, Ryder would never receive another shot at the coveted United States Championship.
Ryder showed surprising grit in receiving a 10-minute beatdown from Kane, but the match ended when Kane put the Long Island Iced Z through the stage with a chokeslam.
As Kane sauntered after Eve, Cena finally made his appearance and stopped Kane. Kane slowly escaped through the audience while medical teams prepared to take Ryder to the hospital.
Eve berated Cena and told him "You've done enough!" The segment finished with the ambulance tearing out of the arena and Cena finally understanding what "hate" really was.
Analysis: I had a lot of reservations about the feud between Kane and Cena got started, and even more so with the involvement of Ryder and Eve. However, the angle finally played out to a degree where it actually had a point and might serve some later ramifications.
For months now, the WWE has been teasing a heel turn for Cena. Ironically kicking off the speculation with the "Summer of Punk" saga where Cena showed more serious tones to his character. During the famous Money In The Bank match, Cena took a more heelish role then normal. In the match, Punk kicked out of Cena's Attitude Adjustment three times.
Cena, technically, never kicked out of Punk's Go To Sleep once in that match. It was a nice bit of role reversal for those men that helped spark the debate on a subtle level. Chicago really brought the famous "Let's Go Cena! Cena Sucks!" chants as well.
Going to Survivor Series, Cena took the "butt monkey" role in the angle between him, Rock, and Awesome Truth. In the match at Survivor Series, Cena took the "damsel" role for the face team, receiving a majority of the offense from Awesome Truth. The Rock gave Cena a Rock Bottom to end the affair as well.
Cena was left without a real angle going into TLC before Kane's return. As the Royal Rumble build began, the angle took over as the primary force on Raw to some questionable results. Hindsight being what it is though, all of it was needed to build to the final segment.
On a personal note, I need to the give the WWE more credit with far-thinking angles.
Regardless, the WWE has done a good job with the build of the match between these two. Kane finally getting Cena to understand the chants and "hate" adds a ton of dimension to an otherwise stale gimmick for Cena.
Is Cena going to turn into a rampaging badass we know he can be? Ultimately, I don't know. However, one thing is certain. Cena needs to remain credible going into his date with destiny at WrestleMania 28 against The Rock.
Likely Booking: Kane spends a majority of the match beating down Cena, who teases a number of false comebacks during the match. Finally, in a graphic representation, Cena understand what "the hate" is really about. It clicks.
Cena goes on a tear that would make Undertaker proud and finally nails a massive Attitude Adjustment from a top turnbuckle to give Kane the three second tan. Heel turn optional, but not likely.
Prediction: Cena wins via pinfall.