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Monday, December 18th 2017.
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The Twisted, Disturbed Life of Kane (Disc 1)
by Scrooge McSuck

- For those unfamiliar with my tastes in wrestling, and if you don’t know them by now, go to hell, one of my favorite wrestlers for the last decade has been Kane. I’ve been longing for a DVD release of Kane for years, and when I finally came across this set in the store (I’ve cut myself off from watching WWE TV lately), I just had to have it. Obviously, since they can’t do a serious non-kayfabe biography of Kane (real name Glen Jacobs, also wrestled as The Unabomb in SMW, Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS, and the Fake Diesel among others), this was the best the WWE Production Team could come up with. No complaints from me, by the way. I’ll be breaking this down by discs, since it’s just a bunch of matches.

- Mankind vs. Kane (w/ Paul Bearer):
From Survivor Series ’97, the show most famously associated with the Montreal Screwjob. Kane is making his in-ring debut in this match, although he has been hanging around since the previous PPV (Badd Blood), and attacking midcarders and jobbers at an alarmingly fast rate. One of those happened to be doing-nothing-at-the-time Dude Love, who metamorphed into Mankind for this match. The match is conducted completely under Kane’s red-lightning scheme for his entrance, and damn is it annoying. Crowd is kinda-into it, kinda’ not. Mankind does his best to make Kane look good, doing every ECW bump he could remember doing here. Just a big brawl, with no wrestling to speak of. High spot comes with Kane choke-tossing Mankind off the apron, through the Spanish announcers table. The fact you can see Mankind push off the bottom rope for leverage hurts it a bit, but this is sports entertainment, baby! Later in the match, Kane slams Foley off the middle turnbuckle to the concrete floor, and the tombstone piledriver is academic for the three count at 9:30. Not a good match in the sense of wrestling, but a fun brawl. It would’ve helped had the crowd been more alive for it. (**)

- The Undertaker vs. Kane (w/ Paul Bearer):
Fast forward to WrestleMania XIV, where we get the first (of many) official match between the brothers of destruction. I’m going to ignore recapping the history between these two, since it’s common knowledge I hope, and will give the abbreviated version. Undertaker burned Kane, Kane got pissed, Kane wants revenge, Undertaker is fighting for his life. End of story. Before the match, Pete Rose, acting as the guest ring announcer (and pissing off the Boston crowd, making him my favorite performer ever), gets tombstoned back to wherever he came from, courtesy of Kane. Undertaker gets an extravagant (by 1998 standards) entrance, including druids and flaming torches. The best has come and gone, because the match can be quite boring at times. Last time I actually reviewed the match, I was a bit too generous. Maybe they should've done more practice runs, because both men are super sloppy, including several awkward spots and botches, and generally a pace that includes both men going all over the map with no direction. There's a few cool spots, like Undertaker's suicide dive onto the spanish announcers table, and the usual top rope spots from both men. Good finish with the Undertaker barely winning following a 3rd tombstone piledriver at 16:57, but this match could've done with 4 or so minutes trimmed out, which would be enough to take out an extra long chinlock spot that killed me dead. Sadly, this would be one of their BEST matches. That goes to show how bad the rest have gotten. Obviously this feud was far, far from being over. (*1/2)

- 1st Ever Inferno Match:
The Undertaker vs. Kane (w/ Paul Bearer):

From the next PPV, In Your House: Unforgiven. The Inferno match, on paper, seems to be a pretty awesome idea for people who are in love with gimmick matches, but the execution is nearly impossible to pull off because of the limitations of the props required, and the fact only mediocre workers are sent into a ring surrounded by 200+ degree temperatures burning away their oxygen from the opening bell. The tasteless parade was in effect for this one, as leading up to the match, Kane not only desecrated his parents’ grave site, but chokeslamed the Undertaker through a casket. Ratings! Bad match, for the most part, and basically a watered down version of the WrestleMania match. The action eventually spills outside the ring somehow, as Undertaker back dropped Kane over the top rope. Vader runs in to keep Kane at bay and to protect Undertaker for his no-hands suicide dive over the top rope. Undertaker chair shots Kane to hell, then goes after Bearer. He gets a drum slammed over his head (prop from earlier in the show), and ‘Taker boots Kane into the flames for the victory at 16:01. Kane’s arm was obviously covered in something to attract the flames. Just a bad match. (1/4*)

- WWE Championship, 1st Blood Match:
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin © vs. Kane (w/ Paul Bearer):

From King of the Ring ’98. Kane obviously has no chance in hell of losing, considering he wears a mask and his entire body (save for his left hand) are covered up by his ring attire. No real build up for this one either, other than the never-ending saga that was the Austin/McMahon rivalry. Kane was still well established in a storyline with the Undertaker, so this pairing up seems to have come out of left field. Typical main event brawl from this time frame, as the action goes back and forth from the ring and up the aisle. The hell in a cell keeps raising and lowering throughout the match, hopefully to be used by Kane as a weapon to bust open Austin. Austin scratches open his back, but this is a first blade match, don’t forget. The ref’ bump is sure to come, and out comes Mankind, somehow surviving death earlier in the show, to help Kane. Austin fights him off while the Undertaker comes down with a chair. Face “Miscommunication” leads to Austin having a chair smashed back into his face, and he’s bleeding! Austin chair shots Kane, but the referee wakes up, sees the blood, and declares Kane the new Champion at 14:51! Sadly, Kane’s reign of champion would end the next night on Raw, in a somewhat better match than what this produced. (*1/2)

- WWE Tag Team Championship Match:
Jeff Jarrett & Owen Hart © (w/ Debra) vs. Kane & X-Pac:

Very odd choice to put onto the DVD, but I guess you needed to touch up on the Kane/X-Pac relationship somehow. Last week on Raw, X-Pac helped Kane fight off this duo, but Kane returned the favor by chokeslamming X-Pac to hell. X-Pac does all of the work, taking a good ass kicking from Jarrett and Owen. Kane eventually gets the hot tag, and you might as well call the match right now, because it’s over. After X-Pac disposes of Owen and Kane chokeslams Jarrett, Kane lifts X-Pac up and drops him across Jarrett for the three count and the Tag Titles at 5:57. Short match, but everyone put on a good effort for what time they had to work with . (**)

- Steel Cage Match:

Kane (w/ Tori) vs. X-Pac:
From Armageddon ’99. X-Pac had turned on Kane a few months earlier to reform a heel version of D-Generation X, and over the last few weeks had been making comments about Tori (not Torrie Wilson, a different one). Kane can only win by pinfall, but X-Pac can win by pinfall or by climbing over the cage, and both feet touching the floor. Good brawl through the early stages of the match, with Kane gaining the upper-hand. It’s not long before the Road Dogg runs out with bolt cutters, opening the cage door to assist X-Pac with a chair and a pair of handcuffs. X-Pac brains Kane and cuffs him to the ropes, and it should be over. Tori runs into the ring to stop X-Pac scaling the cage, and she gets an X-Factor (face buster) for her troubles. X-Pac grabs the chair to nail Kane again, but Kane boots it back into his face and uses the power of the horrible scarred to rip the cuffs away from the cage. Kane heads to the top rope, then goes to the top of the cage and comes off with a super flying clothesline! X-Pac is dead, but Kane scoops him up and plants him with the tombstone. That’s all she wrote for X-Pac, at a brisk 8:15. The perfect way to end the feud, so the WWE brain trust kept them feuding through WRESTLEMANIA. Smart decision (sarcasm!). Probably Kane’s best match to this point of his career. (***1/2)

- Last Man Standing Match:
Chris Jericho vs. Kane:

Fast forward to a year later, and we’re at Armageddon 2000. Kane had turned heel since the last time we saw him, and he’s reduced his ring attire to a singlet top now. The powers of plastic surgery, or bookers not paying attention to their own soap opera history? For those who care, this feud started over spilled coffee. No, I’m not lying. To quote Kane though, it wasn’t about coffee. Jericho is a beautiful person, Kane isn’t, so Kane wants to mame Jericho. Slow match, with lots of dead time because of the Last Man Standing gimmick. Kane dominates for the most part, but Jericho fights him off with various high spots to counter-act the balance of power vs. speed. The action eventually goes up the aisle (again), where Jericho uses a stage prop of stacked drums to “crush” Kane and get the ultra-cheap 10-count and victory at 17:16. Thank God this ended their feud, because they never seemed to quite click in the ring. (*1/2)

- WWE Tag Team Titles; Tables Match:
The Dudley Boyz © vs. Kane & The Undertaker vs. Edge & Christian:

Okay, why the hell is this on here? Out of all the tag matches with Kane teaming with the Undertaker, they picked this one? From No Way Out 2001, and Kane had turned face again, bringing the total of turns to 4 at this point. Typical garbage match featuring tables. Kane and Undertaker dominate, but Rikishi and HAKU~! Run in to prevent them from winning the match. The Dudley Boyz end up putting Christian through the table with the 3-D to retain the tag team straps at 12:04. Pointless inclusion on the DVD, and a pointless garbage match to boot. (3/4*)

Final Thoughts, Part 1: For the most part, a decent selection of matches from earlier in the days of the Kane character. Not everything was pretty or ever considered a great match, not some of this stuff is very fun to watch. On the other side, matches like the Inferno match and the 3-way tag team tables match should be avoided like the plague, although the Inferno match is acceptable for the collection based on it’s “1st time” gimmick. So far, this DVD set is looking pretty good, but Disc 2 is coming next, and it’s got a lot of Shane Mcmahon. Blech…

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