Kane's Inferno

Kane's Inferno

At 7-feet tall and more than 300 pounds, the Big Red Monster has been tormenting opponents since his debut, and even that was huge.

Following months of speculation, Kane made his first appearance on Oct. 5, 1997, at Bad Blood. There, he ripped the cage door off during the first-ever Hell in a Cell Match between Shawn Michaels and Undertaker. Kane and Undertaker then stood toe to toe during a chilling stare-down. The Big Red Monster wore a mask, and he hid his body in attire designed to conceal hideous burns from a fire supposedly started by his half-brother Undertaker. Then, Kane kicked the Deadman in the stomach and Tombstoned him — allowing a bloody Michaels to pin Undertaker for the victory.

Despite the unprovoked attack, Undertaker vowed he would not wage war against his own flesh and blood in front of a national audience. But Kane’s assaults continued, and when he set Undertaker ablaze inside a casket at the 1998 Royal Rumble, the Phenom was left with no choice. At WrestleMania XIV, the half-brothers met for the first time in singles competition, but it was only the beginning.

After the brutal WrestleMania matchup, Kane continued to climb the ranks by beating down the opposition. At King of the Ring 1998, Stone Cold and Kane clashed in a First Blood Match for the WWE Championship. As an added stipulation, Kane promised that if he lost, he’d set himself on fire.

The match, a brainchild of Mr. McMahon, gave Kane a distinct advantage since his face and body were covered, making it nearly impossible to confirm if he was bleeding. During the match, the referee was knocked out, and Undertaker ran to the ring with a steel chair to interfere. He swung at Kane but nailed Stone Cold, busting his head wide open. When the referee regained consciousness, he saw the blood and awarded the match to the Big Red Monster. Undertaker later revealed that he intended to bust open Stone Cold so that his half-brother wouldn’t set himself on fire. This punctuated a theme in the difficult sibling relationship, as they’d battle often but align at times to achieve great success as well. They’d also innovate during their heated rivalry, inventing such contests as the Inferno Match.

The night following the First Blood victory, Mr. McMahon decorated the ring with a red canvas and crowned Kane the new WWE Champion. The reign lasted only one night, but it was still an amazing accomplishment considering his debut was only eight months prior. Kane did pin the WWE Champion on one other occasion, but he did so simultaneously with the Undertaker. The event was Breakdown 1998, and because the half-brothers both covered Stone Cold, neither was declared champion. Instead, the WWE Championship was vacated.

While Kane hasn’t recaptured the WWE Championship, he’s experienced enormous success. He’s a two-time Intercontinental Champion and nine-time World Tag Team Champion. He has also reigned as ECW Champion. He’s shown near-unprecedented versatility in the tag team ranks, winning championships with brawlers such as Stone Cold and Mankind, as well as smaller, quicker partners such as The Hurricane and X-Pac. He’s also twice won the World Tag Team Championship with his half-brother, including a reign during the Alliance Invasion when they simultaneously held the World Tag Team Championship and WCW Tag Team Championship.

But it was during his time teaming with Rob Van Dam that Kane experienced one of the most emotional nights of his career. After being egged on for weeks about becoming “soft,” Kane agreed to a “Mask vs. Championship” Match against Triple H. Despite a valiant effort, Kane lost, and as Raw came to a close, the 7-footer unmasked and revealed his face to the world.

Once the mask was removed, Kane went on a hell-bent trail of destruction. He chokeslammed RVD, Eric Bischoff and Stone Cold. Then, he set then-Raw announcer Jim Ross on fire. But the action that could not be tolerated was hitting WWE CEO Linda McMahon with a Tombstone. That forced Shane McMahon to return to the ring in defense of his family, but even the risk-taking Shane-O-Mac couldn’t stop the Big Red Monster’s rage.

At Survivor Series in 2003, Kane attacked Undertaker once again and buried him alive with a bulldozer. For the following months, the Deadman haunted his younger sibling before announcing that at WrestleMania XX, the two would meet one more time.

After that, Kane began randomly attacking anyone who crossed his path. He viciously assaulted Shawn Michaels, putting him out of action. He then began to make life miserable for Lita, with whom he seemed obsessed.

Thanks to victory in a “’Till Death Do Us Part” Match against Matt Hardy, Kane got what he wanted.  He married an unwilling Lita, who was carrying Kane’s child. But an in-ring incident on Raw injured Lita, causing her to lose the couple’s unborn son and leaving Kane an emotional and angry mess. He swore vengeance on Gene Snitsky, who he held responsible.

At Taboo Tuesday, Kane faced Snitsky in a “Weapon of Choice” match. Wielding a steel chain, Kane delivered a brutal beating. But Snitsky eventually gained the upper hand, crushing Kane’s throat with a steel chair. After recuperating, Kane haunted Snitsky until he exacted some measure of revenge. Then he began tormenting Trish Stratus — Lita’s nemesis — and through doing so is seemingly finally gaining his wife’s favor. In a shocking moment the April 11, 2005 edition of Raw, Kane and Lita kissed. It was the first time both parties had done so willingly and passionately. After aligning briefly with Kane, Lita has changed her allegiances now to Edge in an act of ruthless betrayal.

Kane had a hard time dealing with Lita’s betrayal. Lita took it even further and continually made out with Edge in front of Kane and even flushed her wedding ring down the toilet. Edge and Lita even had their own wedding ceremony, but Kane would not allow it to go down quietly. Kane came up through the altar and chased off the couple. Kane and Edge then fought in a series of brutal matches including a Steel Cage Match and a Stretcher Match. Lita was the one who ended up needing the stretcher, though, as Kane Tombstoned her on the stage.

After a brief hiatus, Kane returned just prior to Taboo Tuesday. Because he lost out in the voting for the Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship to Shawn Michaels, he was paired up with Big Show to face World Tag Team Champions Trevor Murdoch & Lance Cade. Big Show & Kane proved to be just too much size and strength to overcome for the young tag team, and Kane won his ninth World Tag Team Championship.

Kane and his tag team partner also played a huge role in the Raw vs. SmackDown rivalry that was brewing. They were key players on Raw’s team at Survivor Series, but could not lead their brand to a victory. But at Armageddon they challenged SmackDown’s WWE Tag Team Champions, Rey Mysterio & Batista, to a match. Even though it was a SmackDown pay-per-view, Kane & Big Show reigned victorious in the rare Champions vs. Champions Match.

The Big Red Monster and Big Show turned back the challenge of Carlito & Chris Masters at WrestleMania 22. But just one night later, on Raw, they faced Kenny and Mikey of the Spirit Squad. If it was just a two-on-two match, the tag champs surely would have retained the gold. But the other three members of the Spirit Squad – Mitch, Nickey and Johnny – all got involved. The numbers proved to be too much to overcome, and Big Show was pinned.

That’s when things started going horribly wrong for the Big Red Monster. Kane thought that the madness and the voices would stop once May 19 came and went. Leading up to that day, the same day that Kane’s adopted parents died in a fire, the Big Red Monster was hearing voices that drove him to the brink of insanity. But it didn’t stop after May 19. Things only got stranger for Kane. On the May 29 edition of Raw, Kane came face to face with what appeared to be a mirror image of himself. The mysterious being was dressed like the Kane of old, complete with his old ring attire and mask. After a stare-down, the unknown man chokeslammed Kane.

Kane continued to be attacked by his “clone” until they finally met in a match at Vengeance where he found himself on the receiving end of all of his own moves. Bringing new meaning to “being your own worst enemy,” the imposter Kane defeated the real Kane with a thunderous chokeslam. Just one day later, though, Kane chokeslammed the imposter on the stage at Raw and then threw him out of the arena.

After years of wrecking havoc throughout WWE, Kane returned to SmackDown as part of the 2009 WWE Draft, where once again he finds himself on the same roster as his brother in destruction, Undertaker.