The People’s Column: The Quiet Reemergence of Kane

Welcome to yet another edition of The People’s Column. Thank you all for allowing me the opportunity be a little different and satirical last week. I hope you all enjoyed reading that as much as I did writing it. Last week also happened to be the best in history on my blog (where right now you can read a post wondering in Summerslam is the end or the beginning of The Nexus).

Since Wrestlemania Smackdown has fallen on hard times. If you look at the roster going into ‘Mania, you’ll see that it was anchored by Edge and Chris Jericho, who were supported strongly by The Undertaker. This roster was severely damaged in the WWE Draft when both Edge and Jericho were sent to Raw. More damage was done when The Undertaker was injured at the hands of an already injured Rey Mysterio (although the latter did not take time off to heal). On top of all of this, consistently entertaining performer CM Punk, who is just a moment away from another main event run, also was forced to get surgery on his arm.

To sum up the last paragraph, Smackdown is in a pickle. The brand has limped along on the backs of Rey Mysterio, The Big Show and the ever-developing but not quite arrived Jack Swagger. This has not been seen as a major issue, since most of the major markets showing Friday Night Smackdown are forced to preempt it, due to baseball in major local markets. However for actual wrestling fans, this is depressing. For the last year, Smackdown has been the show that we watch for some good wrestling. Luckily that has not changed even with the downfall of the main event scene.

Especially after The Undertaker’s sudden and unexpected injury, someone needed to step up. Many fans look towards Smackdown’s youthful midcard to provide the talent boost that the show needed. They have stepped up and worked hard, but none of them have effectively stepped into the main event. Perhaps I’ll sound like the great and powerful Oz when I say this (and not Kevin Nash), but what Smackdown needed was there all along. They had exactly what they would need in Kane.

Kane has been in the WWE since debuting in 1997. Originally he was a masked monster out for vengeance against The Undertaker, who supposedly burnt and scarred him and his parents as a child. Lead by Paul Bearer he was a silent assassin. Kane was an amazing character, that was a natural spin off of the character of The Undertaker. He would grow to be a consistent performer in the early part of his run. He was a monster heel that could only be beat by one man, his own brother. His early run would culminate in a one day championship reign where he won the WWE Championship in a controversial manner and lost it the next night on Raw.

This was the closest that Kane would come to a real championship run. He would be placed in many main event matches throughout the years. Another turning point in his career came when he would be placed in the main rivalry on the Raw brand in 2003. This was the period where Triple H absolutely dominated the brand. Kane had won the Intercontinental Championship, which was being phased out for some ill-advised reason. This would spawn the most infamous moment of wrestling for that decade when Triple H violated the “corpse” of Kane’s late girl friend Katie Vick and accused him of dong the same. Further weakening this story, Kane put his mask on the line against Triple H’s championship in his last attempt to win it. As we know now, he did not win and was unmasked.

Since then, Kane has been used as a utility player. He was occasionally in multiple man main events, but spent more time with the likes of The Great Khali than he did with Batista and John Cena. He won the tag team championships with The Hurricane and The Big Show. He was just kind of there. Fans would pop for the occasional reunion of The Brothers of Destruction, but that was about it. He would win the ECW Championship and only stay on the brand for a few months.

The decade of upper card mediocrity that sadly followed Kane ended a few months ago. Undertaker was injured badly and needed time out. Of course, Undertaker was supposed to return to and dominate the main event scene on Smackdown and now he left a huge hole. To be completely honest, Kane stepped up into a hole that only he could fill.

Kane delivered great performances on the mic from the first evening he was called on the avenge his brother. It seems that his character has always worked best as an avenger. He has been on a hunt that has been the main storyline on Smackdown, dominating the world title picture although he was not in it. To day that he is delivering career performances really downplays the actions of his earlier years, but that doesn’t matter to me.

Back then, Kane did not have to speak. He did not have to have a personality. His job was to be imposing, silent and angry. He was a major character, but the responsibility was not on his shoulders quite so much. Now, he has taken an entire brand on his shoulders in it’s darkest moment. Kane has delivered the best work of his 13 year run in the last few months.

His World Heavyweight Championship win on Sunday was evidence of this. He has already held that title for longer than his first reign. He is the man on Smackdown right now. He stepped up in a big way for all of WWE.

That’s all this week folks. Make sure to continue to check out as I update often with a metric ton of wrestling thoughts.

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