WWE's Big Red Machine: The Legacy of Kane
“and that…that’s gotta be…that’s gotta be Kane.”
October 5, 1997 marked the beginning of a destructive wrestler’s career. On that date, Paul Bearer was out to get revenge on The Undertaker. His plan was to have Taker’s younger brother teach him a lesson.
That young brother’s name was Kane, portrayed by Glenn Jacobs.
During the match between The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, Paul Bearer escorted Kane out to the ring. Kane destroyed the cell door, entered the ring, and had a stare-down with his older brother.
Shortly afterward, Kane tombstoned The Undertaker, costing him the match.
As years passed, Kane’s career became legendary. His matches with The Undertaker in the late-90′s are praised, and his accomplishments stacked up. Kane has held many titles and records and has been in many great matches.
Though he never reached superstardom like Shawn Michaels or Stone Cold Steve Austin, he deserves to be ranked among the best. Kane’s legacy is as good as those two men's and many others.
The Legendary Feud with Undertaker
When Kane debuted at the 1997 Bad Blood, not many knew that it would become the best debut ever. Not only that, but not many knew about the great feud Kane would have with The Undertaker.
Throughout the end of 1997 and 1998, Kane and Taker were at each other's throats.
Though Taker did not want to fight his brother, Kane felt differently and did whatever it took to get his brother to fight him.
Their match finally happened after Kane locked Taker in a casket and set it on fire. Their match at WrestleMania XIV went on to become one of the best to happen in the event’s history.
Though he lost the match, Kane did not give up. He kept wanting to fight his brother. The feud escalated to the point that the two men had an Inferno match, where Kane once again lost.
The feud settled down afterward, but that didn’t men their battles had ended. Kane and The Undertaker had matches every once in a while and, to the surprise of many people, even united to have matches as a team.
As 1999 rolled by, Kane no longer was that attached to hurting The Undertaker. It wasn’t until 2000 that both men once again feuded. Kane turned his back on his brother, and the two once again went at it. The feud did not last long.
Both men settled their differences and became a team the following year during the WCW/ECW Invasion.
When the 2002 draft took place, both men went their separate ways. For a short period of time, both men were on Raw. The Undertaker later moved to Smackdown, but that didn’t stop Kane from tormenting his brother.
At the 2003 Survivor Series, Kane attacked The Undertaker during his match with Vince McMahon. Taker had challenged McMahon to a Buried Alive match, but Kane was the last person he expected to get involved. Kane buried his brother, giving McMahon the win.
Kane was happy knowing his brother was gone, but reality struck at the 2004 Royal Rumble. During Kane’s time in the Rumble match, the lights went off and the old Deadman music played. This distracted Kane, who was shortly eliminated.
As weeks went by, Kane experienced many Undertaker-type messages. Coffins, lightning, smoke, blue lights, and a moving ring convinced him that his brother was not gone.
Kane challenged his brother to match at WrestleMania XX, even though he had not seen his body yet. That night at the event, The Undertaker returned, alongside Paul Bearer, and defeated his younger brother.
Until that point, Kane had never been truly victorious over his older brother. That all changed in 2010, when Kane was the World Heavyweight champion, and injured Taker.
Undertaker returned at that year’s SummerSlam and set his eyes on his brother.
The two had a match at Night of Champions under no-holds-barred rules. Kane got the victory over his brother. The luck continued for Kane at the Hell in A Cell pay-per-view, where Paul Bearer distracted The Undertaker and Kane took advantage to get the second straight victory over Taker.
At Bragging Rights, Kane and The Undertaker had their third encounter. This time it was a Buried Alive match. Just like at the 2003 Survivor Series, Kane buried his brother with help from the Nexus.
Though Kane’s career featured other rivals, the main one he has fought is The Undertaker. The battles the two men have had will go down in history.
Though not all of their matches were good, they were still enough to represent exactly how much effort both men put into their legendary feud.
Title Wins, Records, and Other Accomplishments
A legacy is not complete without any title wins, and Kane had plenty of them. WWE, World Heavyweight, Tag Team, World Tag Team, IC, Hardcore, ECW, and WCW Tag Team title wins are all engraved in Kane’s career.
His WWE Championship reign in 1998 lasted only one day, but his 2010 World Heavyweight Championship reign of seven months made up for the past.
Kane has had 11 Tag Team title reigns altogether, with partners including The Undertaker, Mankind, Big Show, Rob Van Dam, X-Pac, and The Hurricane. Those 11 wins include the WWE, World, and WCW Tag Team Championships.
Though the title had been around for a while, Kane only won the Hardcore Championship once. The win took place at WrestleMania X-Seven.
Kane had more luck with the Intercontinental Championship. He won the title twice.
All those title wins earned him the right to be called the third Grand Slam champion in WWE history. He is also the eighth Triple Crown champion in WWE history.
At WrestleMania 24, Kane won the ECW Championship and set a record in the process by defeating Chavo Guerrero in under 12 seconds. This is not the only record Kane has broken in his career, as he eliminated a total of 11 wrestlers at the 2001 Royal Rumble. To this day, that record has still not been broken.
Kane broke another Rumble record by appearing in 13 consecutive Rumble matches from 1999 to 2011.
Along with these title wins and records, Kane has earned a spot on the list of Money in the Bank winners. At the 2010 Money in the Bank PPV, Kane won the Smackdown version of the match and then cashed in his briefcase and defeated Rey Mysterio to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
Title wins, records, Triple Crown, Grand Slam, and Money in the Bank winners are all engraved in the legacy of Kane. Though he is getting older, Kane could still win yet another title.
Better yet, he might set another record that will go down in WWE history.
When Glenn Jacobs’ WWE career first began, he couldn’t find the right gimmick. He first had the Dr. Isaac Yankem gimmick in 1995, which didn’t last long.
The following year, he would portray an ex-WWE star.
After Diesel left the WWE to join WCW in 1996, Vince McMahon still had ownership of the gimmick. He used that advantage to get a buzz going.
Jim Ross announced that Diesel and Razor Ramon, who also left for WCW, were returning to the company.
When the returns were revealed, they turned out to be fakes. Ramon and Diesel were portrayed by other people who were neither Kevin Nash nor Scott Hall.
Glenn Jacobs was one out of the two men that portrayed the new versions of the characters.
Jacobs portrayed Kevin Nash’s Diesel character, and the fans didn’t like what was happening. The gimmick didn’t last long, and it was dropped in early 1997.
Jacobs returned to television in October with his most successful gimmick: Kane. At that year’s Bad Blood PPV, Jacobs debuted as Kane, alongside Paul Bearer, to attack The Undertaker.
This new character Jacobs was portraying was darker than his past two gimmicks. He was more dominant, never spoke, and wore a mask. The context of his character was that he was The Undertaker’s younger brother who had been left for dead in a fire.
Now scarred by that event, Kane was brought in by Bearer, his father, to get revenge on his older brother.
Throughout the years, Kane's character changed a lot. He started to speak more and even interacted a little with the crowd. The character went through bigger changes in 2002, when he switched from a mask that covered his full face to one that showed his chin and mouth.
Not only did he have a new mask, he also had more human-like attributes. He spoke more, interacted more with the fans and tag team partners, and even had a few comic moments.
In June 2003, the masked-Kane era came to an end. After losing a match to Triple H on Raw, Kane was forced to remove his mask. This was the first time people saw Jacobs’ face since the Kane character debuted in 1997.
From that point on, Kane became a more dominant monster and attacked anyone that got in his way. On the night he removed his mask, he attacked his tag team partner Rob Van Dam. During an interview with him, he even attacked Jim Ross and set him on fire.
Linda McMahon and Eric Bischoff were two authority figures that Kane targeted. Shane McMahon, who was out to get revenge on Kane for attacking his mother, also was attacked by the Big Red Machine on several occasions. The feud between both men ended at the 2003 Survivor Series. After Kane won the match, he went on to help Vince McMahon bury The Undertaker alive.
The mask-less Kane’s dominance fizzled out after he lost his match at WrestleMania XX to the returning Undertaker. Kane showed his dominant side at times, but he wasn’t the monster he had been before. When he finally realized that, Kane knew what he had to do.
On the December 12, 2012 edition of Raw, Kane returned to television. He hadn’t been on Raw or Smackdown since he had been injured by Mark Henry. That night on Raw, Kane made his entrance wearing a metallic mask.
After he attacked John Cena, Kane removed his metallic mask to reveal another mask underneath. The second mask was modeled after the version he wore from 2002 to 2003.
Kane had found a way to become the monster that he used to be. Currently, Kane still wears his mask. Though his dominance has once again calmed down, his dark side appears every once in a while.
Though nothing could bring back the energy, dominance, and excitement that the character had in the late-90′s, Kane pulls out a few tricks when he can.
Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Ric Flair, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, The Rock—those are the names of just a few legends that have been a part of the WWE family.
Though he never reached their superstar status, Kane belongs in that legend’s list.
He may not have been a main event a WrestleMania or been the face of the WWE, but Kane accomplished his own set of goals that propelled him into legendary status.
If Kane were to retire this year, then he would go out with a huge set of achievements by his side.
When the Kane character was introduced, not many knew if it was going to last. He was basically put into a storyline where his older brother was the bigger star. Many wondered if the character would last after the feud ended. The answer to that question could be answered by just tuning in to Raw.
Kane is, and always will be, the Big Red Monster that went through hell fire and brimstone.
Originally published on May 19, 2012 at WrestleEnigma.com