Hello, everyone! My name is D.C. Wood! Being a massive wrestling fan for most of my life, it’s been a pleasure to discuss with fellow fans on the brilliant SmarkDown channel these last few years. Having loved the chronicling of various legends that Tomás has done on SmarKDown, I asked if I could chronicle Kane’s career on the blog myself.
In my opinion, Glenn Jacobs is one of the most underrated workers in the history of wrestling, and he truly brought to life a brilliant character that could’ve easily been a major flop. Instead turning out to be a legend in his own right that was worthy of the association with The Undertaker.
Let’s begin with Kane’s in-ring debut at the most infamous pay-per-view of all time.
KANE VS. MANKIND
So what happened after Kane’s phenomenal debut at Badd Blood: In Your House?
Well, Paul Bearer vowed that he and Kane would destroy every single-WWF Superstar until the Undertaker agreed to fight his brother in the ring. In the weeks that followed, the Hardys, Flash Funk, Ahmed Johnson and even Dude Love all felt the destructive fury of this terrifying specimen.
But the crazy genius that was Mick Foley assumed another of his alter-egos to fight Kane in his official debut match at Survivor Series 1997. Mankind was seeking to avenge Dude Love and attacked Paul Bearer with the Mandible Claw before knocking down Kane with a turnbuckle post. Kane would sit-up moments later staring at Mankind. SUCH GOOD HYPE!
The Match Itself
Mankind comes out first, then Kane makes his terrifying entrance with Paul Bearer by his side. Mankind attacks Kane before he can get to the ring, but Kane shrugs off Mankind’s blows before double-choke-lifting and throwing him against the ring-steps (where the back of Mick’s head hits! Ouch!) Kane then grabs Mankind by the throat again to shove him head-first back into the steps. (Double ouch!)
Kane throws Mankind back into the ring, Kane then follows and completes his entrance by summoning fire from the turnbuckle posts. The red lighting still remains, and the bell rings to officially start the match. Kane menacingly approaches Mankind, who’s still struggling to get back to his feet. Kane continues to batter Mankind with slow, powerful blows, as JR and King continue to discuss the eerie red lightning/Kane’s supernatural abilities (Surreal, yes. But I felt the execution was still brilliant). Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy then fights back with typical brawling, and then valiantly delivers the Cactus Jack-Clothesline to take them both out of the ring, but Kane easily floors him again.
Kane picks up the steel steps over his head and then violently hurls them into Mankind’s face (Paul Bearer districts referee Earl Hebner so he can’t see it, but SURELY he must’ve heard it, right? God, all the refs were useless on this show!). Kane throws Mankind back in the ring again, all the while Paul Bearer maniacally laughing as Mick is fighting for his life. Mick’s fantastic selling rallies the crowd behind him, and then Mick does brilliant character work of his own by tearing his own hair out as Mankind does his own version of ‘Hulking Up’ before Kane flattens him again with a big boot.
Little things like Kane inquisitively looking down on his prey while Paul proudly applauds are nice touches in this. Kane continues to torture his foe whilst Paul continues to belittle Mick. Kane then nails Mankind with a brutal sidewalk slam. Kane then knocks Mankind out of the ring and continues to viciously batter him some more. But Mankind is finally able to turn the tide by flapjacking Kane face-first onto the ring steps to a big pop. Kane gets up though in no time, but Mankind has his second-wind! Paul Bearer’s distracting the ref backfires as Mankind grabs a chair and gives Kane another receipt. Kane still refuses to stay down, just as Mankind still refuses to back down. Mankind executes a piledriver to another pop from the Montreal crowd. Foley signals for the Mandible Claw and executes it on Paul Bearer (Paul’s facials during this are hilarious!).
Whilst Mankind is distracted, though…Kane sits up to the horror of the audience and then goozles his foe before violently propelling Mankind from the ring-apron to the floor; crashing right through the Spanish Announce table! “My God, call the medics!” implores good ol’ JR! Kane picks up pieces of the table and then throws them on Mankind’s carcass before dragging him from the wreckage. Mankind tries to get away to buy himself some recovery time, while JR and King sell Mick’s resilience and how infuriated Kane was when Mankind attacked Paul Bearer.
Kane tries to choke slam Mick on the entrance-way, only to be given a low-blow and a sick DDT on the concrete floor. This buys Mankind enough time to deliver the Cactus Jack elbow from the ring-apron to the floor! Mankind then climbs up to the top-rope for another high-risk attack but Kane comes back to life again, jumps up to the ring apron and then slams poor Mick Foley from the top rope to the floor! SICK!
Kane stands tall now in the ring, pulling his glove on tighter, and cocking his head to one side as Mankind struggles to crawl back into the ring. Mick barely pulls himself up to face Kane. The Big Red Machine then clutches Mankind’s head to make him look into his visage before finishing him off with the Tombstone Piledriver at 9:27.
Mick Foley was the perfect first opponent for Kane. Aside from being one of the most gracious individuals in all of wrestling, Mick knew how to get both himself and his opponent over in a match. On paper, the bout made sense given Mankind’s history with Paul Bearer and his success against the Undertaker throughout 1996, so he had a good shot against Kane. The build-up to this was terrific as well.
In terms of action, the bout may be slow-paced but it was very solid. The character-work from Kane, Mankind and Paul Bearer were all brilliant, and it was a story that held the audience’s attention, with Mankind’s resilience & heart being impressive and Mick doing everything he could to further enhance Kane’s reputation as an unstoppable, terrifying monster. I know people weren’t keen on the red-lighting being used throughout this match, but as a one-time thing, I felt it added to the presentation.
Wrestling-wise, this bout may not be all that much to sing about, but in terms of theatricality, the spectacle and the story, this was a cracking match where Glenn Jacobs got to show what he could do. Working in that costume, breathing in that mask, having to change his style accordingly…must have been challenging, but Glenn rose to the occasion.
Check out the match here:
So how did the Montreal Screwjob later that night affect Kane? Well, according to Mick’s Have A Nice Day! autobiography, Glenn Jacobs was very upset about what had happened, but after years of terrible gimmicks (Dr Isaac Yankem and Fake Diesel), he was in no real position to walk out; not after finally being given a bankable character (in my opinion, Glenn Jacobs was very wise to have stayed in the WWF/E). Mick Foley completely understood & respected Kane’s situation. Foley of course would walk out on the company out of protest & support for Bret Hart, but would shortly return to WWF afterwards.
Hope you liked this entry in the Blog of Kane! Next time, we’ll looking at Kane’s confrontation with the man they call…VADER!