Welcome to part 8 of The Blog Of Kane. The Big Red Machine hunts for the Hardcore Championship at the greatest show of them all: WRESTLEMANIA 17!
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Heading into Autumn/Winter 2000, Kane may have failed to recapture the WWF Championship, but he still remained a major contender for the throne. Kane joined a hugely colourful main-event scene in 2000 that consisted of The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Triple H, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Rikishi and Kurt Angle.
Heading into 2001, Kane was one of the favourites to win the Royal Rumble. Alas, he did not…but he gave the performance of his life! Eliminating 11 superstars (a record which would stand for 13 years!), lasting 53 minutes, 46 seconds and making it down to the final two! Only eliminated by the winner Stone Cold Steve Austin. Kane and the Undertaker again put aside their differences, and actually now seemed to stand side-by-side as the Brothers of Destruction.
Heading into WrestleMania 17, Undertaker was on a collision-course with Triple H. Whilst Kane and the Big Show were set to clash again, Hardcore Champion Raven had been caught in the crossfire. Forced by Commissioner William Regal to defend the title, it would be a triple-threat match for the Hardcore Championship at the greatest WrestleMania of all time!
The Match Itself
GOD… I love this show. The Reliant Astrodome… 67,925 fans making for the BEST atmosphere possible in Houston…FABULOUS…
Raven comes out first, with a shopping trolley full of useful special offers to help in his defence against Kane and the Big Show. “Quite frankly, I don’t like Raven’s chances here,” says Jim Ross. “Quite frankly, I think Raven has only one thing to do in this match,” says Paul Heyman. “Run like hell!” (JR chuckles! I do too!) As Raven starts chucking in the trolley’s contents into the ring, Kane’s pyro goes off and he ominously marches to the ring to a fantastic ovation!
“Who, may I ask you, Paul…? WHO…is more intimidating than the Big Red Machine?” asks Jim Ross. “Kane scares the HELL out of me!” agrees Paul. “And I am a fearless man!” LMFAO! Seriously…genius, thy name is Heyman.
Anyway, back to business. Kane enters the ring and summons fire, much to the godlike Texas crowd’s adulation. Kane has his eyes locked on Raven, who tentatively enters the ring. Then he picks up a plastic sign to twat Kane with it. No effect, the bell rings, Raven then picks up a metal sign to hit Kane…it does nothing, and Kane wastes no time in battering Raven. The Big Show’s music hits (I really loved his original theme that Jim Johnston composed!) and the Giant is on his way to the ring, whilst Kane is still mercilessly battering the Hardcore Champion. Already, this is off to a good start!
The commentators put over Big Show…um, BIG (?) on commentary as he marches intently toward the ring. When he gets to ringside, Kane gorilla-presses Raven over his head, throws him over the top-rope onto the Big Show, who effortlessly catches Raven and prepares to deliver the Final Cut on the floor. Big Show smiles evilly, toying with his prey. But that leaves him open for Kane! The Big Red Machine FLIES off the top-turnbuckle TO THE FLOOR! Wiping out the Big Show with a massive clothesline!
Raven spies his chance perfectly! He’s IMMEDIATELY on top of the Giant with a cover! Referee Jim Korderas is there to count, but Kane breaks it up in time. Kane decks Raven over the barricade into the crowd. Paul Heyman points out the champion instincts of Raven going for that pinfall attempt early (he is SO on form with his commentary throughout this show!), as Kane scoops up Raven for an attack, only to eat a massive foot from the Big Show; who’s followed them into the masses.
Raven’s trying to get some distance, buy himself some time. As Kane & the Big Show are in pursuit, so’s the ref to make sure he’s there to count the pin (I always liked Jim Korderas…). The crowd are having a great time! I’m having fun watching this! Kane and Big Show are slugging it out in the throng of humanity (as JR brilliantly calls the action), the cameraman’s trying to keep up with it all, Kane’s on his way to the back to find Raven, but the opportunistic Hardcore Champion surprises Kane with a street sign! Getting some nice shots in on Kane’s head! Raven’s advantage doesn’t last long, sadly. Kane chucks Raven against the nearest wall, then the Big Show catches up to them; body-slamming Kane on some wooden pallets before chasing after Raven.
“C’mon, Raven!” growls Big Show. “You wanna be hardcore?!” He then shoves both Raven and the ref into another area, then padlocks the gate to stop Kane from joining in. Nice try, Show…but KANE once ripped the Hell In A Cell door off its hinges! So it’s CHILD’S PLAY for Kane to get passed a padlocked gate! Kane proceeds to break a broomstick and a 2×4 across the Giant’s back, Raven picks his spot again, trying to choke Kane out with a bit of hosepipe. But Kane merely bashes Raven against some mesh-fencing.
The brawling continues backstage, with Kane now choking Raven with the hosepipe, before using it to THROW RAVEN THROUGH A WINDOW!!! OUCH!!! Big Show’s back again, proceeding to Irish-whip Kane into a door! The door buckles, and then Big Show Avalanches Kane RIGHT THROUGH THE DOOR! A thoroughly annoyed Show now goozles Kane, looking to chokeslam him on the floor! But Kane goozles Show! God, Paul Wight’s expression is hilarious! The two then proceed to reenact the T-800 vs T-1000 hallway fight from Terminator 2 and smash each other through a single-plywood wall! It’s all incredibly daft! And that’s why I LOVE IT!
Both Kane and the Big Show are down. The door of the room opens, and Raven pops out of the woodwork again! Picking up a nearby table to bring down on Big Show’s head! The Hardcore Champion is fighting smart here! But the Giant is slowly back up to his feet. Raven decks a nearby staff member, and commandeers a golf-cart to getaway. He’s not fast enough for the Big Show, though! Who hitches a lift and starts choking Raven whilst he’s driving! The two-crash – AND VERY NEARLY ran over a power cable which provided the live feed for WrestleMania 17! THANK GOD that didn’t happen!
Raven gets out, the Big Show is still after him! Now Kane has commandeered the other golf cart (with Jim Korderas in the back), and he’s driving after them! BLOODY BRILLIANT! HOLY S***! Did Kane just run over Raven’s LEG when he hit him?! “Raven should get a medal for just showing up here!” says JR, and I agree with him! The insane brawling continues through backstage, eventually ending up on stage back in the arena. Raven’s crawling to get away, whilst Kane starts pummelling the Big Show furiously. Show ultimately flattens Kane with a clothesline!
Kane then sits up, just as Big Show military presses Raven over his head. Kane then delivers a running boot right into Show’s face! It staggers the Giant and sends both him and Raven RIGHT OFF THE STAGE! CRASHING THROUGH PART OF THE SET! As if this can’t get anymore mental, Kane then DIVES OFF THE STAGE TO DELIVER A MASSIVE ELBOW DROP ON THE BIG SHOW! Jim Korderas counts the 1-2-3! KANE IS THE WINNER AND NEW HARDCORE CHAMPION AT 9:17!
I loved the HELL out of this! As we know, WrestleMania 17 is the single-greatest WrestleMania – the single greatest wrestling show – of all time. I doubt that will ever change. From start-to-finish, I simply cannot name a single bad thing about this card, and this match was no exception.
This was an obvious mismatch for poor Raven, but the bout was played brilliantly. Raven knew he couldn’t possibly go toe-to-toe with either Kane or the Big Show, so he bid his time, survived as long as he could, and chose the right moments to get his shots in. The pacing of the match, the spots, the story…it was all just brilliant entertainment, which was what made the Hardcore Championship so special. I’d say 2001 was the best year for that title. Being defended in such a big-time match at ‘Mania, with two former world champions going for the belt, and of course, it would be elevated right to the main-event when Rob Van Dam got hold of the title.
I always felt that Raven NEVER got the chance he deserved in the WWE (despite his success as Hardcore Champ). Compare his WWE run to everything he did in ECW and WCW, and you’ll see what I mean. Nevertheless, I felt that this was one of his top two matches in WWE, and I’m pleased he got a prominent WrestleMania match at least. I didn’t see this as a demotion for Kane or the Big Show, either. They needed something to do, and this fit the bill for them perfectly. It was a major win for Kane, and of course he’d go on to bigger & better soon after. Both Kane and Show delivered here, slugging it out brilliantly.
Nothing fancy. Just simple, hilarious fun. On the most amazing event EVER.
Next time, Kane decides to go after the Intercontinental Championship! And Triple H stands in his way! See you next time!
Check out the match here –>
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