What a turnaround Kane has had in 2012.
When “The Big Red Monster” came back in late 2011, the excitement surrounding the return of his mask quickly faded way when he became involved in some lackluster angles and feuds.
His rivalry with John Cena in late 2011 and early 2012 was atrociously booked, and his WrestleMania rivalry with Randy Orton wasn’t much better.
But just a few months after Mania, Kane started to really turn things around.
He suddenly found himself getting involved in the WWE Championship picture and a romance angle with AJ Lee, becoming one of the focal points of the WWE in the process.
Yet, Kane didn’t really catch fire until he moved on from the WWE title scene and into the unforgettable “anger management” storyline with Daniel Bryan.
As we all know, Bryan and Kane were former enemies who were forced to attend anger management therapy together, and once they did, it resulted in some of the funniest WWE segments in recent memory.
It also led to the formation of Team Hell No, which is still going strong as the WWE Tag Team champion.
After struggling mightily at the beginning of 2012, it seemed like Kane’s best days were behind him. But his partnership with Bryan has led to a career resurgence that no one saw coming.
Kane has been more entertaining over the last six months than he’s been since he was in his prime more than a decade ago, and he’s delivering on all fronts—in backstage segments, in the ring and on the mic.
As Kane has entertained the heck out of us throughout 2012, though, we have to wonder: Is this his last run in the WWE?
It very well could be. But that doesn’t mean it will be.
Kane has been wrestling since 1992, made his WWE debut as “Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS” and has performed under the Kane character since 1997. That means that Kane has been actively competing in the WWE longer than anyone not named The Undertaker.
After 15 years in the WWE, Kane has undoubtedly had as many bumps and bruises as anybody. Yet, at the same time, he’s been much more durable than most.
He hasn’t suffered any of the career-shortening injuries that many other superstars have suffered, and he’s spent remarkably little time on the shelf because of any injuries.
Kane has withstood the test time of time, and for whatever reason, managed to remain about as healthy as you could expect him to even though he’s now 45—yes, 45—years old.
Kane may be a lot closer to 50 than 20, but you wouldn’t really notice it if you just look at the way he’s performed lately.
Any time he’s in the ring with a guy like The Big Show, Mark Henry or The Great Khali, it’s usually a disaster. But put him in the ring with the right guy, and he looks like he’s 25, not 45.
While he may not be able to do everything he could do 10 years ago, Kane has worked extremely well with a variety of opponents over the last year-plus. He’s delivered great matches with Team Rhodes Scholars, CM Punk, Orton and Bryan, among others.
When will Kane retire?
It’s been pretty impressive to see Kane constantly deliver in both the ring and in the entertainment department at a time when he should be slowing done.
But just because most 45-year-olds should be winding their careers down, that doesn’t mean Kane has to. In fact, he should go as long as his body doesn’t give out on him and his performances don’t suffer—neither of which has happened yet.
There’s been no real indication that “The Big Red Monster” is ready to hang his boots up yet, and really, there shouldn’t be. Not until he says he’s ready.
Kane is in on an absolute roll right now and has been one of the WWE’s biggest surprises of 2012.
He’s withstood the test of time, and perhaps more importantly, he’s done so while performing at a high level and evolving into one of the WWE’s most popular superstars yet again.
Although he may be at or past the peak of his current run, Kane isn’t done just yet. Not by a long shot.
He can still go, and he’ll do so until he can’t go anymore.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!