This Sunday at WWE's Bragging Rights PPV, the Undertaker and Kane will face each other for the 77,900,345th time. Okay, I might be embellishing—just a little though—because while the meetings between the two might not be in the millions yet, they have a history that even predates their days as the “Brothers of Destruction.”
Though the characters of The Undertaker and Kane may have had their first WWE encounter in 1997, Mark Calaway and Glenn Jacobs had one of their very first matches (if not the first match) on August 4, 1995 in Knoxville, TN at an event called the Super Bowl of Wrestling with the Smokey Mountain Wrestling promotion.
This was around the time when WWE and SMW had a working relationship, and WWE would often lease out talent to them. At this time, Mark Calaway was still the Undertaker but Glenn Jacobs was a menacing figure known as Unabomb. Hailing from “The Land of the Giants,” Unabomb was a blond haired, muscle-bound bad ass that didn't take any crap. He even wore a mask to the ring upon his entrances that was very reminiscent of the mask he would eventually wear as Kane.
He would prove to be a harrowing test for Taker as the Dead Man showed frustration and was thrown off of his game several times throughout the match. Although Unabomb gave his best efforts, he would ultimately go down in defeat to Taker—a trend that would ultimately become a reoccurring theme in the career of Jacobs.
Fast forward to about five months later, the two have their first meeting in WWE as The Undertaker faced another one of Jacobs alter-egos, the evil dentist, Isaac Yankem, DDS on the January 15, 1996 edition of Action Zone. This match would prove to be far less competitive as The Undertaker would have his way with Yankem in less than 10 minutes. For the remainder of 96, Jacobs would have another failed gimmick as the new (fake) Big Daddy Cool, Diesel. This gimmick would fizzle and Jacobs would fade away into obscurity shortly after.
Then around the middle of 1997, The Undertaker's former manager and trusted ally Paul Bearer began blackmailing the Undertaker. He made claims of telling a deep dark childhood secret of Taker's, if Taker did not agree to do his bidding. The Fans were perplexed as to what deep dark secret Bearer had on Taker that caused him to take orders from him and essentially become his slave. After weeks of abuse from Bearer, the Undertaker had finally had enough and would no longer allow Paul Bearer to manipulate him.
Takers refusal to take orders from Bearer resulted in Bearer revealing the secret that the Undertaker started a fire at the funeral home where Taker grew up, and Bearer worked as a mortician. This fire killed the Undertaker's parents and younger brother, Kane...or so he thought. As it turned out, Kane was alive the whole time, and Paul Bearer had him locked away from the rest of the world because Kane was too burnt and scarred to be accepted by mainstream society. But wait...there's more! Eventually it would be revealed that Paul Bearer was actually the biological father of Kane.
The Undertaker would feel the wrath of his actions at In Your House—Badd Blood in the first Hell in the Cell Match where he faced Shawn Michaels. In this match, Taker was well on his way to victory when who shows up but his long lost brother, Kane (aka Glenn Jacobs aka Unabomb aka Fake Diesel) who rips off the cage door and destroys his brother and allows Michaels to get the victory. After months of destroying everyone in his path, Kane would get his chance at revenge against his brother at WrestleMania 14 where they would face off for the “first” time. Though Kane put forth a valiant effort, he would lose to his brother after receiving three tombstones.
Time would go on and the Undertaker and Kane would eventually reunite in an effort to get the WWE Title off of then champion, Stone Cold Steve Austin. The two would face off against Austin in a triple threat match at Break Down—In Your House in 1998 where they would simultaneously pin Austin, thus causing the title to become vacant.
The brothers would then face off in a match at Judgment Day—In Your House that this time saw Paul Bearer turn on Kane and join forces with the Undertaker. Following Taker's betrayal of his brother, Taker stated that he purposely started that funeral home fire that caused his parents to die and his brother to be burned.
The Undertaker called Kane weak and pathetic and stated that he realigned himself with Paul Bearer because Bearer was just as evil as he was and formed the Ministry of Darkness. For the first time throughout their various feuds (including Jacob's Unabomb and Isaac Yankem days), The Undertaker was on the side of evil and Kane was on the side of good.
Over the course of the years after the Ministry of Darkness disbanded, the Brothers of Destruction would team up with each other when convenient, feud with each other and even had another match at WrestleMania XX which the Undertaker was once again victorious.
The latest feud between the Brothers of Destruction sees Kane as the evil one once again, overcome by a jealous rage that drove him to put The Undertaker in a “vegetative state.” While this might not have been a feud that anyone had wanted to see, the WWE has made attempts to freshen it up. One of those attempts was by bringing Paul Bearer back into the fold. The Undertaker and Kane have been going at it for well over 15 years. Hopefully, Braggin Rights will end this feud with dignity as both men approach the twilight of their storied careers.