Will Kane Ever Be A Champion?
May 14, 2007 by Rob S.
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Picture the scene: You've been employed by the WWE. Your mind's eye sees into the future: You will eclipse all the legends - you'll beat Ric Flair's 16 titles, you'll be more over with the fans than Hulk Hogan, and you'll have a longer unbeaten run than Bill Goldberg. One realisation later, and you're back to Earth with a bang: Every legend needs a niche. Flair is "The Dirtiest Player In The Game". Triple H is "the King of Kings" as a heel, and "DX" with Shawn Michaels as a face. If Michaels needs to be a heel, he can call upon the Montreal Screwjob. The Rock is the "Great One". Steve Austin is "Stone Cold". Undertaker's niche is so unnatural, he can be a face or heel with minimal effort. Kane is...
Who is Kane? When we think of Kane we think of the Undertaker's little brother. The Deadman Jnr. The Phenom's Little Bro. Consider Kane's debut, when he tore through the Cell to attack the Undertaker. He was essentially the Undertaker... but BIGGER... and SCARIER... and HE WORE A MASK!!! But his move-set was the same, his style was the same, his in-ring psychology - though impressive - was exactly the same. He was just a second version of the Undertaker. But here we are, approaching ten years later, and nothing has changed. Kane is still the Undertaker Mk II.
Part of this is to be blamed on his immediate success. Nobody likes to see someone walk into the company an immediately become champion. It's bad for the company (all their previous employees are so poor that a newbie gets the title), it's bad for the fans (someone they barely recognise is the #1 star of their previously beloved federation) and above all it's bad for the superstar. All too often, we see superstars get a lot of success early on and it goes straight to their heads. Kurt Angle? Deserted his personal life in search of glory. Brock Lesnar? Refused to continue if he wasn't the undisputed top draw. Bill Goldberg? Same as Lesnar. So the WWF decided not to risk Glen Jacobs doing the same thing. Unfortunately, Kane has grown stale.
However, there's only so much that can be done with a "family member of an established star" gimmick. Take Eddie Guerrero. Until a couple of years ago, I knew nothing about the Guerrero legacy, but Eddie had established himself in the WWE - not through saying "look at me, I'm related to X, Y and Z", but through sheer hard work. He became Latino Heat, not just another Guerrero. Again and possibly a better example, Owen Hart could have talked endlessly about his father, his brothers and the Dungeon, but didn't. He established himself - while he did have some feuds and alliances with family members, he also had some feuds and alliances with people he didn't particularly know outside of work. All of this was a success, by Owen's own hard work.
Am I calling Kane lazy? Not at all. As far as talented in-ring performers go, he's one of the best. But his character has shown absolutely no versatility. And it's really getting pathetic - if I want to watch the Undertaker, I'll watch the Undertaker. I don't want to watch someone try to be like the Undertaker. It just doesn't work, which is a real pity, because Jacobs is phenomenal both in the ring, and on the mic.
However, I do find it ridiculous when people say he's had no success. Aside from Edge, he has held the most tag team titles in WWF/WWE history, with a variety of partners, from X-Pac to Big Show - a total of nine reigns. He is a two-time Intercontinental Champion. He has held the Hardcore Championship, not to mention the WWF championship, even if it was only for a day, making him a Triple Crown Champion. He holds two records in the Royal Rumble - most eliminations, and most consecutive Rumble appearances. Since his debut, he has appeared in all but one of the Wrestlemania's, only missing out on Wrestlemaina XIX and winning in half of them. All this for a man never had a real niche of his own. A resume most superstars would kill for.
Has Kane really been under-used? Without a real character, Kane's been very lucky to enjoy the success he has had. With almost everyone on SmackDown! injured, he may yet get a chance at the top. But don't forget - Kane was brought in to be a jobber to the Undertaker, and as far as his character goes, nothing has changed.
by Rob S. (View/Submit your feedback here)..
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