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The Blog Of Kane #4: Unforgiven 1998

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Greetings, all! MrDCWood here again, bringing the 4th post from The Blog Of Kane to you! In this fourth article, Kane and The Undertaker fight in the Inferno Match at the very-appropriately-named Unforgiven event. Enjoy!

KANE VS. THE UNDERTAKER

The Story

Despite losing the colossal war at WrestleMania 14, Kane (and Paul Bearer) were more determined than ever to destroy the Undertaker. They challenged the Deadman to another match the following PPV…the first-ever Inferno match. The ring would be surrounded by fire, and the winner would be the first man to actually set their opponent alight! As the intensity and mind-games continued (including the storyline revelation that Paul Bearer had actually fathered Kane, after an affair with Taker’s mother)…the Phenom accepted.

The Match Itself

After the ever-awesome entrances are over, the lighting is changed to spotlight the ring, the gas ignites and we have a ring of fire round the squared circle! My God…what Mark Calloway and Glenn Jacobs did here for entertainment…

The bell rings and the Undertaker attacks Kane straight away. He then grabs Kane’s hands and tries to stick it in the flames (JESUS!). Kane counters this (PHEW!) and retaliates. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler remark on how hot the flames are from where they’re seated at ringside, and can only only imagine how hot it must be for the combatants in the ring! I agree! Especially in those costumes and having to work such a dangerous match!

IMG credit: WWE & Ringside News

Taker and Kane continue to slug it out, much to the excitement of the audience, and then…OH, MY WORD! Undertaker’s walking the top rope to deliver Old School on Kane! Then the flames shoot up higher as Taker connects with his signature move! The crowd comes alive! The commentators exclaim! Kane then drops a charging Taker face-first onto the top turnbuckle pad, with JR remarking that he could’ve gone over the top into the fire. It looked like he nearly did!

Kane batters Taker again for a bit and sends him down to the mat. You can SEE Undertaker going “Phew!” in the intense heat. Kane continues to beat Taker down, trying to drive him into the flames as a sadistic Lawler roots Kane on to cook his brother. An ever-determined Kane tries to force his brother’s face into the flames, but the Deadman grabs Kane’s mask to counter him. As both brothers are back on their feet, the flames leap higher-and-higher to excite the fans.

Both guys HAD to be overwhelmed by working under these conditions which is why I’m simply amazed as they carry on working. Kane then delivers a nice power slam to Undertaker. Right on cue, the flames dance higher! After Kane beats on Taker a bit more, Daddy Paul thoughtfully hands his son a steel chair. Kane says, “Cheers, Dad!” by cracking the Undertaker’s head with it. No ref in the ring, no DQ…perfectly legal and smart.

“Put him in the fire!” shouts the heelish Lawler. “It’s all about concussion city!” says JR, which reminds me why I’m glad there are no chair shots to the head anymore in wrestling. Kane continues to press his advantage while Paul mops his forehead with a handkerchief. It’s that hot, we know! As Taker and Kane continue to exchange almighty blows, the flames STILL leap higher & higher! Good grief! It looks like Kane is dominating the Undertaker again like he did at WrestleMania. (There’s a nice visual of Paul Bearer praising the flames…almost as scary as Father Jack from Father Ted…)

IMG credit: WWE & TWM News

Anyway, Taker fights back with a nice Russian Leg Sweep and a massive leg drop to rally the crowd behind him. Oh, God! Kane sits up! Undertaker goozles his brother, and likewise does the Big Red Machine! Kane wins out and delivers a monstrous choke slam! The King yells Kane to roll Taker into the flames whilst JR asks (quite right too!) how he can be so sadistic. Taker counters Kane’s Tombstone attempt with a monstrous choke slam of his own. The flames are-a-dancin’! But Kane sits up AGAIN! The two brothers knock each other down with big boots, Jim Ross calls the action eloquently as ever, describing the two giants ‘running into each other like semi-trucks!’.

The audience are cheering and applauding all the work & bravery of these two, and then Kane DUCKS Taker’s flying clotheslines. Taker VERY NEARLY rolls into the fire to the horror of a gasping crowd! That really could’ve been nasty…! Kane nails Taker with a big sidewalk slam and then goes to the top rope…SERIOUSLY?! Undertaker stops his brother and then gives him a massive superplex to another chorus of flames! Both are soon back up, though and then Undertaker ACTUALLY THROWS KANE OVER THE TOP ROPE TO THE FLOOR! OVER THE FLAMES!

Undertaker tries to follow, but Paul Bearer has intimidated both Gerald Briscoe and the ring-technician to intensify the flames to trap the Dead Man. The crowd boos as Kane walks away, content to leave the Undertaker to a fiery fate. Every time Taker tries to get to the ropes, the flames shoot higher…

VADER IS BACK! Two months after No Way Out, It’s Clobberin’ Time! Vader batters Kane, who fights back! The two monsters furiously wage war again to the crowd’s delight! All the way back to ringside…where the Undertaker does his running suicide dive over the top rope! Wiping out both Kane and Vader! As Tim White tries to get Vader out of the arena, Paul Bearer slowly comes round with a steel chair. The “TAKER!” chants start up. Paul attacks Taker with a chair, but it hardly fazes him. A terrified Bearer flees, whilst the Phenom picks up the chair and levels Kane with two wicked chair-shots to take him down for the moment.

IMG credit: WWE & Twitter

Alone and unprotected, Paul tries to escape but Taker’s now stalking him. The audience knows what’s coming as the two head up to the band stage. Paul Bearer is trapped, Taker grabs a drum and smashes it over Paul’s head! BRILLIANT! The audience love it and cheer Taker on as he takes a mic-stand and batters his former manager some more! Paul Bearer is busted open and finished! All that’s left now is Kane, and Taker leaves to settle things once and for all!

Back at ringside, Kane has recovered and tries to finish his brother with the steel chair, but the Phenom counters with a boot to the face that staggers the Big Red Machine into the ring apron and the flames! Kane’s right-arm (the costumed-part with protection) starts to flicker and catches fire! AAARRRGGGHHHH!!! Kane runs to the back! The audience cheers! Undertaker is victorious at 16:00!

Verdict

If I could sum up this bout in one word, it would be ‘mesmerising’. Never had I seen anything like this before in wrestling and I have NOTHING but respect and appreciation for both men for what they did on this night. The Inferno Match is one of the most dangerous & difficult gimmicks ever done in wrestling. The heat, the high-risk of injury, having to work an entertaining match as safely as possible…a grave challenge. And both Glenn Jacobs and Mark Calloway went above and beyond the call of duty here.

Was it as dangerous or as exciting as the fire matches you’d see in Japan? Or in ECW? Or in the Ruthless Aggression Era? No, but if you’re going to use fire in gimmick bouts, it has to be done as safely and as sensibly as possible. I’d much rather see wrestlers safe than needlessly hurt. As a spectacle, this was utterly fantastic. Visually stunning. It told a great story, had some great psychology throughout, utterly brilliant spots, Vader’s return was brilliant…overall, this was terrific from start-to-finish.

So how does this bout compare to the one at WrestleMania 14? That one was a great spectacle, where the only criticism I have was its pacing. This gimmick match – aside from being visually spectacular and creative – also benefitted from much better pacing. Wrestling-wise, this Inferno Match maybe nothing to shout about, but that’s just nitpicking the efforts of two men who were wrestling in a ring of FIRE. Both men should be proud of what they did here. The best Inferno Match of all time, and I’d call it the definitive Undertaker/Kane showdown. My favourite match between these two. Next time, we look at the biggest opportunity of Kane’s career. As he clashes with a certain Rattlesnake!

OVERALL RATING

  • 8/10

Check out the match here:

Kane vs. The Undertaker: Unforgiven 1998

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