Some superstars in wrestling are underachievers in that they never quite live up to the status they’ve gained. That is why some are meant to live as a jobber and set up camp at mid-card status and constantly bump their heads on the glass ceiling. Kane on the other hand is an interesting story in that he has been around for a little over a decade now and been involved in such a great number of big matches and storylines that he is virtually almost a living legend. The Big Red Machine has come a long way from ripping the door off a Hell In A Cell structure while wearing a red and black mask, but in all this time he has only held two world titles. The question remains then…why is Kane still smiling?
On October 5, 1997, the face of the WWE would be changed forever at a PPV entitled In Your House: Bad Blood. The first ever Hell In A Cell match was taking place between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker and things were getting overly violent and rough to extremes that had never been seen before. Right when things were getting out of control, a red light illuminated the ring and organ music echoed throughout the arena. Taker stared down the aisle as Paul Bearer walked down to the ring with an ominous figure behind him. As the figure hit the ringside area, he reached for the door of the cell and ripped it off its hinges with the announcers screaming “That’s gotta be…that’s gotta be KANE!” Manhandling Taker like no-one ever had before, his estranged brother Kane had arrived in the WWE with a vengeance and was destined to make his presence known.
For months, Paul Bearer had been claiming to bring back a secret to haunt the Undertaker that not many people knew about and it was something that Taker thought was a thing of his past. Bearer knew about “the fire” that happened when he was a child and how it had killed his brother, but the truth is that his brother was still alive and had come back for revenge. Originally coming on the scene to exact years worth of pent up anger on his brother, Kane soon set out to wreak havoc on anyone that crossed his path in the world of wrestling. Titles have never seemed to matter much to him more then personal grudges or feelings and that’s what he bases who he goes after and focuses on destroying. And trust me, when Kane is on your tail, you’ll know it.
The journey that Kane has made through the WWE has been one of much turmoil and what appears to be less then overwhelming success. Looking at the list of titles he has won, many would consider his career up until now to be exceedingly title-laden. The WWE Title, ECW Title, Intercontinental Title, Hardcore Title, and multiple Tag Team Titles held on many different occasions are just a few of the accomplishments outlining his rÃ©sumÃ©. Yet I’ve been watching wrestling for over twenty-five years and I just think that a guy who has been in the main event scene as long as he has (almost his entire WWE career) should have held more world championships then the two short reigns that have seen Kane at the top of his game. Not to mention that his WWE Title reign lasted all of twenty-four hours so it’s even kind of hard to count that as a step in the right direction. Still, Kane’s emergence onto the scene right off the bat and the presence he has every time he steps in the ring or speaks from the depths of a boiler made him someone that no-one could easily forget.
Whether it is the role of a monster heel or that of a babyface or even the personality of someone that no-one knows whether to trust or run from; Kane is just one of those figures that you always pay attention to. He wants to be friends with people and then they always turn on him and end up his enemy. Kane would do anything just to be loved whether it is by Tori or Lita or even Chyna and then as soon as he thinks they are returning his love, they dupe him and open the door for someone else to hurt him. Over time he has enemies even more dangerous then his phenom brother at times by the names of Gene Snitsky, Edge, Kurt Angle, and Triple H. Snitsky caused Kane’s “baby” to cease to exist. Edge took the woman that Kane loved more then anyone in the world and turned her against him. Triple H even brought up old memories of one of Kane’s first loves and sunk to new lows as he “danced with the dead” (Katie Vick).
A tortured soul at times and one who does the torturing himself at others; this look inside the career of Kane gives us a great insight into not only his time spent in the WWE but his past that is still quite broken. The format for this DVD set is not my preferred one of choice since the story is broken up to insert matches in at different times. I’d rather see the entire biography portion of the DVD and then access the matches afterwards so that the story isn’t broken up but viewed as a whole. Still, things are shown here so that it is evident Kane is a man to be feared and a monster that needs to not be taken lightly.
~ WWE’s Worst Nightmare
~ We Both Love Pain
~ Survivor Series 11/09/97: Special Challenge Match Mankind Vs. Kane (with Paul Bearer) – Man, it is just weird seeing Kane in the mask again. For some reason, Kane’s red light stayed on throughout the match and the house lights never came up. The Big Red Machine’s strength was unheard of back in the day and he shows it all here by almost manhandling Mankind throughout this match.
~ Big Brother, Big Brother
~ WrestleMania XIV 03/29/98: Undertaker Vs. Kane (with Paul Bearer) – This match begins with Pete Rose coming out and ripping on the crowd before Kane comes out and hands his ass to him with a tombstone. Once the match gets started, things get brutal and fast. It’s amazing how much agility these two huge guys possessed because they could fly around the ring and even through the air quite well. This is a really long match that drags at times during the middle but has a lot of excitement at the end.
~ Hell, Fire, & Brimstone
~ In Your House Unforgiven 04/26/98: Inferno Match Undertaker Vs. Kane (with Paul Bearer) – The first-ever Inferno Match had a metal fixture surrounding the ring with flames rising out of it. In order to win, Taker or Kane had to set the other on fire and the effects were really brought up big because the flames would rise high every time a big hit was delivered. This isn’t actually much of a match because of how much focus is on the gimmick. It’s not a bad gimmick for a match, but it takes away from the overall quality more then add to it.
~ The One Thing I Love More Than Fire
~ King Of The Ring 06/28/98: First Blood Match for the WWE Championship Stone Cold Steve Austin Vs. Kane (with Paul Bearer) – I don’t recall why, but Austin has a huge pad on his right elbow (and JR reminds us it was a staph infection). I mean the thing looks like a freakish growth. The thing about this match is that everyone wondered how Austin could make Kane bleed considering he has the mask on. It’s kind of hard to keep up with this match from time to time with all going on, but hell it’s awesome.
It starts out as a first blood match between Kane and Austin, but then the hell in a cell cage comes down, gasoline comes into play, Undertaker gets involved, and so does Mankind. There is a lot happening here and the ending is quite controversial, but it’s a great match with a lot of fun storylines thrown in together.
~ The End Always Justifies The Means
~ RAW 04/05/99: World Tag Team Championship Match X-Pac & Kane Vs. Jeff Jarrett & Owen Hart – Alright, so Kane had made a friend and formed a tag team with the miniscule X-Pac from DX. I don’t care what anyone says: I always liked X-Pac. The main deal here is wondering if Kane could actually trust X-Pac enough to be in a tag team with him, but it worked and the crowd absolutely loved Kane because of it. The match itself isn’t bad, but really short.
~ The Perfect Punishment
~ Armageddon 12/12/99: Steel Cage Match Kane (with Tori) Vs. X-Pac – As has always been the case with Kane, he doesn’t trust people for long. But he did have a little fling with Tori at the time which was an interesting little combination. Another short match and it’s not the best one in the world, but seeing Kane fly off the top of the cage and nail a clothesline on X-Pac is well worth watching it any day.
~ Nothing Can Save You
~ Armageddon 12/10/00: Last Man Standing Match Chris Jericho Vs. Kane – I’m not always fond of Last Man Standing matches because they drag so much every time someone tries to incapacitate their opponent enough to keep them down for the ten count. The same holds true in this match even though things are really hot and action-packed when they’re rolling along.
~ Hot & Cold Relationship
~ No Way Out 02/25/01: Triple Threat Tag Team Championship Match Edge & Christian Vs. Undertaker & Kane Vs. The Dudley Boyz – Kane had moved into the different outfit by this time and was going sleeveless when teaming with Undertaker (“American Badass” version) as the Brothers of Destruction. Triple threat tag matches are always fun because of all the different combinations of brawling that can go on throughout, and adding tables to it makes it even better. This match has a lot of fun spots throughout and even sees Rikishi and Haku get involved to take out the BOD. Take away the early part of the match and the BOD weren’t even involved in the finish of this match, but it’s good anyway.
~ WWE’s Worst Nightmare
~ I Like Weapons
~ Judgment Day 05/20/01: WWE Intercontinental Championship Chain Match Triple H Vs. Kane – Weird seeing Trips and Kane battling it out over the Intercontinental Title isn’t it? I thought so too and then watched Stephanie McMahon come out with Trips carrying a Tag Title as well which I forgot was when he held both. The men are connected by twelve feet of chain attached to their arms. The match itself isn’t much more then a big brawl with an unclean finish, but it’s fun.
~ The Olympic Flame Burns Out
~ WrestleMania X8 03/17/02: Kane Vs. Kurt Angle – Oooo Kurt Angle with hair. Kane displays his immense power while Angle tries to use his speed and agility to his advantage in what is not the most interesting match in this set. It is actually rather slow and just kind of plods along.
~ What Torture Really Means
~ No Mercy 10/20/02: World Heavyweight Championship Vs. Intercontinental Championship Match Triple H Vs. Kane – Here we had a champion versus champion match that was rather similar to their match at Judgment Day in 2001, but was a bit longer. It also included a finish that wasn’t clean and could have been better.
~ Oil & Blood
~ RAW 01/06/03: Rob Van Dam & Kane Vs. Chris Jericho & Christian – Kane found himself a tag-team partner in the fun-loving and carefree RVD so the wonder was always there if these two could coexist. Holy crap, Jericho and Christian are accompanied to the ring by a VERY young Randy Orton who also happens to have a lot of hair. Shawn Michaels would counteract Orton’s help by appearing in the corner of RVD and Kane. Not only was this match fun because so many of my favorites are involved, but the action is really quick-paced and the whole match tells a great story. This match was really a wonderful thing to be given away on free television.
~ My True Self
~ RAW 09/08/03: Steel Cage Match Rob Van Dam Vs. Kane – From friends to bitter enemies. RVD had helped Kane find himself and now he was going to pay for that at the hands of the now unmasked Big Red Machine. Having these two in a steel cage is great because you’re never quite sure what insane crap they’ll bring. Ok, and just because he now has the mask off doesn’t mean that Jim Ross needs to insult Kane every five seconds. Thank God he set good ol’ JR on fire. The dude deserved it. The match itself is kind of one-sided as Kane just dominates and then beats the hell ouf of RVD some more after it is all over.
~ Wrong Place, Wrong Time
~ Unforgiven 09/21/03: Last Man Standing Match Shane McMahon Vs. Kane – Kane’s rampage had been taken to new heights when he tombstoned Linda McMahon which of course meant that ShaneO Mac wanted revenge. Last Man Standing matches do drag at times as I said earlier, but with Shane out there things are always interesting. This is truly some insane stuff here as it is nothing but a big brawl between the two of them all over the ring and then up the ramp to the stage area. Oh and it goes further when Shane climbs to the catwalk of the stage scaffolding and dives down onto a prone Kane below…but misses.
~ Sending Him To Hell
~ Survivor Series 11/16/03: Ambulance Match The Final Encounter Shane McMahon Vs. Kane – ShaneO and Kane meet again and it was actually a bit better then their recent Last Man Standing match. Shane again continues to go off the deep end in every match he takes part of in and this one was just a lot more brutal which worked well because both of these guys just beat the life out of one another.
~ My Appetite For Agony
~ SummerSlam 08/15/04: Til Death Do Us Part Match: Matt Hardy Vs. Kane – Kane wins and he gets the hand of Lita in marriage. Considering this match is more for storyline purposes then anything else, I’m not surprised it is all of about six minutes long. It barely even gets going before it’s all over, but what a finish.
~ WWE’s Worst Nightmare
~ Destroying A Scared Icon
~ Unforgiven 09/12/04: No Disqualification Match Shawn Michaels Vs. Kane – This was a much better match then I remember it being and not only because it was pretty long in length, but also because it just was a nice back and forth match-up. Kane would use his power as he most often did, but then HBK would counter with his technique and pent-up frustration after being on the shelf for three months. Lita gets involved near the end of the match and doesn’t necessarily help in the actual result of the match, but her interference really wasn’t needed.
~ It Is My Fault
~ RAW 07/18/05: No Holds Barred Match Kane Vs. Gene Snitsky – Snitsky was kind of brand new on the scene and thrown right into the whole Lita/Hardy/Edge/Kane/baby angle, but he’s a big beast so it was an intimidating match-up for Kane. Still, it was hard to take Snitsky serious against Kane and my feeling always was that the Big Red Machine would destroy him. The match isn’t very long and kind of ends quickly without much happening. Some brawling around the ring and up on the ramp leads to chaos off the stage to end it all.
~ Pain And Torture
~ RAW 07/18/05: Steel Cage Match: Kane Vs. Edge – What a great angle this whole thing was. The better part of it all came after Kane was taken out of the picture and Matt Hardy was inserted in his place, but oddly that’s who was in this angle with Kane and Lita before Edge got thrown in so what comes around, goes around. Both men get the advantage at times by sheer force and violence resulting in a lot of blood dripping from Kane’s head in a match that was pretty damn good to be given away for free.
~ It’s Never Over
~ RAW 07/25/05: Stretcher Match Kane Vs. Edge – The cage match surely didn’t end things though as it only took one week for them to go at it again. I enjoy their cage match a bit more, but that’s not to say this one isn’t good too. Strangely Edge got the upper hand in this match too and pulled out the victory in another rather short match but Kane would get his revenge on both the Rated “R” Superstar and his lovely girlfriend afterwards.
~ The Big Red Monster
~ RAW 09/18/06: Kane Vs. Umaga – With two monsters like this in the ring, one can’t really expect much more then a knockdown drag-out brawl and that’s just what you get here. Watching how these two guys are able to throw each other around though just amazes me and needs to be seen to be believed. Unfortunately we get a crappy finish to the match which is unnecessary for any reason but to keep a feud going which is what it was.
~ Zest For Absolute Carnage
~ SmackDown 12/22/06: Undertaker & Kane Vs. King Booker & Finlay – This was during King Booker’s court and he had Finlay as the royal muscle in his little group. Seeing as how this was the last SmackDown before Christmas, it was surely meant to send the fans home happy. The Brothers Of Destruction went back and forth with the Court but then ended up working together to deliver big boots, chokeslams, and tombstones to make sure they raised their fists in victory. It’s not much of a match but it is a fun one with a little bit of a mark-out feel to it.
~ Childhood Dreams
~ No Way Out 02/18/07: Kane Vs. King Booker – With two extreme personalities and styles clashing here for a match that either hasn’t happened much before or at all; you’d think it would be a little better. It’s pretty back and forth and King Booker keeps it entertaining with his royal-like mannerisms and expressions; things just don’t flow very well.
~ Unadulterated Mayhem & Violence
~ SmackDown 09/14/07: First Ever Belfast Brawl Kane Vs. Finlay – Basically this is a street fight but because Finlay is Irish and a shillelagh is involved, it’s called a “Belfast Brawl.” Finlay can still really go in the ring and that holds true especially when his whole plan is to get in there and beat the hell out of someone. Kane is no slouch either and these two put on a great fight that displays some wicked shots and hardcore brawling.
~ I Will Never Forget
~ SmackDown 04/04/08: Champion Vs. Champion Kane Vs. Undertaker – Kane had recently won the ECW Title and Taker had the World Heavyweight Title so we have ourselves a good old champion versus champion (brother versus brother) match. This ends up being one of their better matches from their hundreds of bouts over the years because it wasn’t just a huge brawl. Both men used some psychology and attempted to have a gameplan in getting the win here so it came off rather nicely. I could have done without the “no contest” finish, but things were good while they lasted.
The event is shown in 1.33:1 Full Screen format and even though some of the matches and footage goes back over ten years; everything looks good.
The event is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and for the most part, all is well. At times on some of the older matches, a little bit of echo can be heard not only in the commentary but in the ring and even crowd noise. It’s weird, but it doesn’t happen too often.
Undertaker’s Secret – This begins with an old school video package narrated by Jim Ross that depicts Paul Bearer turning on Undertaker and bringing in Kane to reveal Taker’s dark secret from his past. What an awesome video. After that, Bearer comes out on RAW to reveal some information and so on. Now here is a great special feature that virtually explains how a feud got started by displaying all the main aspects of a secret. Great stuff. (14:10)
Kane Vs. Pete Rose – Essentially we have the collection of encounters at different WrestleManias between Kane and Pete Rose. (1:55)
SmackDown 03/28/02: Kane Is Ready…Are You Ready? – Rock and Hulk Hogan have some funny back and forth banter before Kane comes in for some great punchlines before their match against the nWo. (3:15)
RAW 09/30/02: Chicks Dig The Mask – Marlena makes out with Kane and he lets Hurricane Helms know it’s because the mask is cool. Another funny clip. (1:13)
RAW 12/26/02: Kane Is Quite Disturbed About The Current Situation – Kane and RVD are about to have a match against Batista and Three Minute Warning which he isn’t too happy about. Kane gives a pumped up promo while RVD “translates” what Kane is saying in RVD-speak. (2:26)
RAW 07/14/03: Jim Ross Interviews Kane – This is the infamous interview where Kane sets Jim Ross on fire. (9:32)
RAW 08/23/04: Kane & Lita Get Married – Out of all the wrestling weddings there have been on television before, this has to be one of my favorites. Midgets, Kane dressed in a white tuxedo, and even his theme song played by a string quartet are just a few of the awesome things that take place here. Trish Stratus interrupting the ceremony in white lingerie helps a lot too. (19:13)
WrestleMania XXIV 03/30/08: 24-Man Battle Royal for ECW Championship Title Shot – This is the match that took place before the actual event began. Twenty-four men from all three brands participated in this match in hopes of getting the shot to face Chavo Guerrero for the ECW title later on in the night. It was big cluster in this battle royal with a wide array of wrestlers ranging from Cody Rhodes to Kane to Khali to Festus to Elijah Burke to anyone else you can really think of. As you know, Kane won the match and got the privilege of fighting for the title later and it turned out pretty damn well for him.
WrestleMania XXIV 03/30/08: ECW Championship Match Kane Vs. Chavo Guerrero – The first time that the ECW Championship is being defended at a WrestleMania, and it is undeniably one of the shortest matches ever. My God was this unnecessarily a huge slap in the face to ECW. Hell, Joey Styles and Tazz could have just hung out with the boys in the back and phoned in their commentary. But it does mark Kane’s second ever world title run so that’s something.
The history of The Big Red Machine, The Big Red Retard, The Big Red Monster, Kane, or whatever you want to call him has been an interesting ride that has seen just about everything imaginable. He has held numerous titles throughout his career while having a marriage, a distraught relationship with his brother, and many failed relationships and friendships. This set really captures the true essence of his career while providing a great backstory narrated by the beast himself. As for the matches, not many of them are of the highest quality but that is to be expected because Kane is more of a brawler then anything but so many of his bouts tell great stories and continue plotlines very well. A nice collection of special features are included which is kind of rare for these sets because usually you get nothing since everything is captured in the main feature but some great interview and snippets that are truly classic. The life of Kane has been quite twisted and quite disturbing and it’s captured here perfectly; I just wish the matches in this set were a bit better in terms of in-ring action but beggars can’t be choosers. Kane’s been plowing along for over ten years now and the fire is going to burn for a long time to come so grab this set now if you’re a bit behind.
Hell, grab it even if you’re up to date on Kane because it’s just that good. Wear something flame retardant when you go get it though because this thing is HOT! Sorry, I got a tad carried away.
WWE Home Video presents The Twisted, Disturbed Life Of Kane. Featuring: Kane, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, X-Pac, Hurricane Helms, Matt Hardy, and many more. Running time: 540 minutes on 3 discs. Rating: PG. Released on DVD: December 9, 2008. Available at Amazon.com