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On Oct. 5, 1997, exactly 25 years ago today, Kane debuted in WWF and the company was never the same again.
WWE posted a new page on its website titled #Kane25 which announces the silver anniversary of the WWE Hall Of Famer’s debut, summarizes who Kane is, and encourages fans to get active on social media using the hashtag #Kane25. A full quarter century after his first appearance as Kane, The Big Red Machine remains one of wrestling’s most influential, scary, and iconic big men in WWE history. He has gone toe-to-toe with the best ever such as The Undertaker, John Cena, and Stone Cold Steve Austin as well as won multiple World Championships in his tenure with WWE.
So, without further ado, let’s embark on the tough task of narrowing down just five moments from the career of the Big Red Monster.
Kane Owns The Royal Rumble
In the 2001 Royal Rumble, Kane set the WWE record for most eliminations in a single match with 11 fellow Superstars being thrown over the top rope.
The seemingly impossible record stood until 2014 when Roman Reigns would eliminate 12 men. However, being responsible for the elimination of more than a third of the entire Rumble match still deserves a spot on this list. At the time, the WWE Universe had never experienced a Rumble performance of that caliber and Kane’s dominating outing still sticks out in our minds as one of the best in Royal Rumble history.
While Kane has never actually won a Royal Rumble match, he is still known as one of the greatest performers in Rumble history as he still holds the record for most total eliminations with 46.
Kane Wins WWF Championship
Kane is a rare example of a Superstar in WWE who never needed a title to remain relevant, but the first time he reached the top of the WWE mountain and captured the Championship is one of the most underrated moments of the attitude era. At King of the Ring 1997, The Big Red Machine defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin for the title in a first blood match after interference from The Undertaker. Although the moment would be overshadowed by Mankind and The Undertaker’s legendary Hell in a Cell match, Kane disclosed on a podcast with Vince Russo that this was still the best moment of his career.
“Winning my first world championship in the First Blood match at King Of The Ring, of course, that was overshadowed by the Hell In A Cell match between Taker and Mick, but that was my first world championship and it was against Austin. And the thing is, when people ask me the highlight of my career, despite the fact that it was so early, that was it because Austin was well on his trajectory to be one of the three biggest stars of all time," he said.
Team Hell No
In one of the more surprisingly successful storylines in WWE history, fans were shown a gentle and funny side of Kane when he formed a tag team with his biggest enemy, Daniel Bryan, in 2012. With the WWE moving to a more family-friendly product, Kane’s sadistic and violent side was put on hold as he feuded with Daniel Bryan before being forced to team up with him. The two began tagging, but as expected, were extremely dysfunctional. The tandem fought each other more often than they fought their opponents which caused then-RAW General Manager AJ Lee to send the pair to anger management classes.
These classes resulted in some of the funniest segments in WWE history as both Kane and Daniel Bryan were taught not only how to control their tempers, but to love each other. We learned a lot about Kane’s past here and his work during these segments is pure comedy. Dr. Shelby’s therapy obviously worked for the team as they went on to capture the WWE Tag Team Championships from R-Truth and Kofi Kingston at Night of Champions 2012 … even though they hilariously argued right after picking up the victory over who was the better Tag Team Champion.
Kane’s unmasking in 2003 was polarizing, but the WWE Universe agrees that it was a turning point in his career and a huge development in the story of the character of Kane.
After losing a match to Triple H, Kane was forced to unmask, much to the horror of fans as his creepy look and demeanor didn’t disappoint and lived up to the hype. Kane’s face was smeared with paint and burned from a horrific fire he experienced during childhood. He glared at the camera before destroying Rob Van Dam in the ring and kicking off the most destructive and sick portion of his career. He proceeded to destroy the rest of the RAW roster over the course of the next few months, even attacking Linda McMahon and lighting Jim Ross on fire after an interview. Kane’s unmasking sent him off the rails, and taught the WWE Universe about Kane’s life.
'That’s Gotta Be Kane!'
Kane had arguably one of the most memorable debuts in WWE history and helped introduce fans to the chaos of Hell in a Cell that we know and love today. At Bad Blood: In Your House 1997, WWE debuted the demonic structure, but wanted to make sure it was a truly unforgettable match. So, it pitted Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker against each other in what promised to be one of the best matches of the year.
The battle didn’t disappoint as HBK and Undertaker took each other to the absolute limit with stiff chair shots to the head and vicious body slams on the floor. Suddenly, the lights in the arena turned off and a red light filled the stadium. The monstrous Kane walked down to the cage with Undertaker’s former manager, Paul Bearer, by his side.
“That’s gotta be Kane!” infamously yelled JR before The Devil’s Favorite Demon ripped the cage door clean off the hinges, destroying The Undertaker and helping Michaels win the match. Everything from the music to Kane’s look to the way he hit Undertaker with his own Tombstone Piledriver was perfect. Kane’s debut is possibly the most iconic of all time and still serves as the bar for crazy wrestling debuts today.
You can watch all of your favorite Kane moments on demand on the WWE Network on Peacock!
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