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Wrestling’s Greatest Rivalries: Kane vs. The Undertaker-The Gateway to Hell
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Professional wrestling is a sport that has spanned over a century. In fact, its foundation may well span to ancient times as early as ancient Babylonia from 3000 BCE.

Through all that time until the modern day, we have seen some of the greatest athletes and performers of all time come and go. We have seen these men and women fight in rivalries that have not only developed the business but molded it through the stories.

The greatest rivalries are so many and so numerous that is hard to limit them, to isolate them in such a way that we can truly find the one that exceeds all others.

So instead, we here at Wrestle Enigma have begun a series known as Wrestling’s Greatest Rivalries where we will be breaking sixty of the greatest rivalries over all of professional wrestling history.

Many of the best rivalries in wrestling’s past and present will be covered by some of the best writers on Wrestle Enigma.

In professional wrestling, uniqueness is hard to come by. This world that we love is filled with all the same ideas. These ideas are in a constant loop, just with different characters.

It is the classic story of the hero vs. the villain. The protagonist vs. the antagonist.

This story, however, is truly unique. It is a brother vs. brother story, but it is so much more than that. This is a story about darkness; about the danger of true evil.

These two monsters are Kane and The Undertaker. Both are vicious. Both are aggressive. Both are dangerous. Yet, their story began long before Badd Blood 1997. It began long before that infamous Hell in A Cell match.

Kane and The Undertaker were both children. They were brothers. Happy brothers. Normal brothers. Their parents ran a funeral parlor, and Paul Bearer was employed at that business.

It was a normal day at their home, except for the fact that both Kane and Taker were playing with matches and dangerous chemicals. Their father punished them for doing that, explaining why it was dangerous.

As the Undertaker was leaving his home that same day, he saw Kane playing with those matches, along with other dangerous chemicals. Taker didn’t think anything of it, and just went along with the rest of his day. This would prove to be the most crucial mistake of the Undertaker’s life.

When the Undertaker got back, he could smell the smoke. He knew right away exactly what was happening. He saw his home and funeral parlor drowned in flames. The Undertaker would come to the realization that his father, mother, and little brother Kane were all burning away in those flames.

The Undertaker’s life was burning to the ground, and he was forced to realize that he could’ve stopped it.

Kane was the Undertaker’s responsibility, and he didn’t take those matches from his younger brother. Those same matches that would go on to set his house on fire. Those same matches that would kill his mother, father, and little Kane. Regret is powerful, and the Undertaker was forced to live with it for the rest of his life.

It was then just days later that Paul Bearer woke the Undertaker in the middle of the night. Bearer brought a young Taker to the neighboring funeral home, and he forced the Undertaker to look at his dead mother. Taker’s mother was the greatest person in his life, and Bearer had forced him to look at her charred body.

It was a day that changed the Undertaker. It turned him to the dark side. It forced him to begin taking power from the dead. It was the moment that turned a harmless child into the Undertaker.

Paul Bearer, however, twisted the story. Bearer said that it was indeed the Undertaker who burned the house down. He said that it was the Undertaker who murdered his parents. Bearer even said that Taker’s younger brother, Kane, was still alive. He said that Kane was badly burnt, but still living.

And Kane was coming for the Undertaker. Kane was coming for retribution.

The very first Hell in A Cell match was nearing its end. Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker were having a classic match. The two had brutalized each other in a wicked brawl, but the Undertaker was nearing victory.

As The Undertaker was about to pick up the win over HBK, the lights went out. And then the haunting music came on. A red light would burn through the entire arena. As fire exploded from the top of the stage, we took our very first look at Kane.

“That’s got to be…..That’s got to be Kane!” -Vince McMahon

Kane would walk down the aisle along with Paul Bearer, and he would snap the Hell in A Cell door off of its hinges. Kane would then enter the ring, and he would stare into the eyes of his brother.

The Undertaker’s look was one of absolute shock, terror even. The Undertaker was looking into the eyes of his brother. The brother that the Undertaker thought had been dead his entire life.

Kane would then pick Taker up, and hit him with his own move: the Tombstone Piledriver. Kane would then leave the ring with Paul Bearer, as a bloody Shawn Michaels would pick up the pieces and win the match.

Though for Kane and Paul Bearer, this wasn’t about costing the Undertaker a match.

This was about them announcing Kane’s existence to the Undertaker. Both Kane and Paul Bearer were looking for revenge on Taker, and Kane’s debut at Badd Blood was just the beginning of the hell that Kane and Bearer wanted the deadman to go through.

Following Badd Blood, Kane and Bearer began their plan. It was a horrific plan. A plan to terrorize the man that Bearer used to respect. A plan to destroy Kane’s own flesh and blood.

And that was the worst part of this for the Undertaker. The Undertaker is a respectable, good human being. He may be intimidating, but he is a good person nonetheless. And for the Undertaker, fighting his own brother was out of the question. Taker simply couldn’t stomach the idea of actually fighting his very own flesh and blood.

That is where Kane and Paul Bearer’s plan came into place though. Kane and Bearer wanted to provoke the Undertaker. They wanted to antagonize the Undertaker. Most importantly, they wanted to make sure that there was simply no way that the Undertaker could resist fighting Kane.

From brutal attacks, to burning the grave of Kane and Taker’s own mother; nothing would get the Undertaker to battle Kane. The things that Bearer and Kane did were sick, but Taker just wouldn’t break his very own moral code.

At the Royal Rumble 1998 event, the Undertaker was facing Shawn Michaels in a Casket Match for the WWF Championship. Taker and HBK had a fantastic match as usual, but DX and men hired by DX were beginning to get involved on the behalf of Shawn Michaels.

This would bring out Kane, who walked through hell, fire, and brimstone to get to the ring and begin taking out every man in the ring.

It seemed as though the monster had turned a corner. It would seem that in his brother’s moment of defeat, Kane had come out to help him. And Kane did. He beat the hell out of D-Generation X, and it had opened up the door for the Undertaker to pick up the victory.

This wasn’t the case though. In a moment of utter betrayal, Kane knocked Taker to the ground with a brutal shot to the face. He then grabbed the Undertaker by the throat, and he savagely chokeslammed him into the casket. The coffin would then be closed, and Shawn Michaels would keep his gold.

Kane had just cost the Undertaker the most important title in the business. To make it worse, Kane had raised Taker’s hopes before doing so. He had put forth a tiny remnant of light in his blackened relationship with the Undertaker, and then he smashed that hope with the lid to a casket.

They weren’t done though. Kane and Paul Bearer would lock the casket shut, and they would proceed to carry it to the top of the entrance ramp. Then, in a moment that maybe transcends evil, Kane and Bearer would pour gasoline on the casket and light it on fire.

The Undertaker was feeling what his mother felt. He was feeling what his father felt. And now, finally, he was feeling what Kane had felt during that fire when they were kids. The Undertaker’s soul was burning away inside of that casket.

Though, when the referees opened the coffin, there was no Undertaker to be seen.

There were more questions than answers about the Undertaker following that event. Where did he go? Would he return? And if he did, would he do the unthinkable, and actually fight his younger brother? Would the Undertaker’s inner emotional struggle finally conclude?

Those questions would be answered when the Undertaker finally did return. As a lightning bolt would strike a casket and an ominous presence would sit up, everyone knew that the Demon of Death Valley had arrived.

Taker told Kane and Bearer that he went to explain to his mother and father exactly why he would have to do the one thing that he promised to never do. He had to explain to them why he would have to fight his younger brother Kane.

The Undertaker had stood against the face of evil for far to long. He had faced a monster’s fist of destruction to many times.

The Undertaker would walk through the fires of hell to face his brother, and he would prove to him exactly why the Lord of Darkness is the most feared entity in the entire world.

WrestleMania XIV. That would be the night that the Undertaker and Kane would go one on one for the very first time. This blood feud had been building since October, and it was all going to culminate in one epic encounter at the biggest show of the year.

Kane and Paul Bearer had put The Undertaker through hell, and tonight was the Undertaker’s ultimate opportunity to get payback on his very own flesh and blood.

After the two monster’s chilling entrances, they had a staredown. It was a staredown that would encapsulate every ounce of hatred and every bit of animosity that had filled their broken relationship.

The Undertaker would then throw the first shots, but it was clear that they didn’t hurt Kane even remotely as much as they would any other wrestler. They would both trade shots at the beginning, but it was Kane who came out of the exchanges looking strong. While the Undertaker’s strikes were more fluent and polished, Kane’s clubbing blows were simply too much for him to handle.

Kane would then show his shocking agility, by climbing to the top rope and hitting a ridiculously impactful clothesline while Taker was draped over the ropes.

Kane then showed the more well-known side of his offense: his vicious brutality. Kane would use the steel steps to crush the Undertaker’s ribs and spine. Even Kane’s simple punches and kicks had more brutality then any wrestler that had ever been seen. And by only ten minutes into the match, Kane had it won after delivering a chokeslam.

As Kane went for the pin, the Undertaker was down and out. Kane’s offense had dominated the Undertaker unlike the audience had ever seen before. The referee counted one, two, and Kane pulled Taker up as the ref was about to count three.

“We are way passed wanting to win a match one, two, three….he wants to destroy his brother”- Jerry Lawler

For Kane, this wasn’t about winning. This was about hurting his brother. He had been successful doing so this far in the match, and he wanted to continue the suffering.

The Undertaker then began fighting back. He had been dominated by his brother so far, but he just kept fighting. And even with the best shots that the Undertaker could throw, Kane still wouldn’t go down. Paul Bearer’s monster simply kept overwhelming the Undertaker.

“No one has ever pummeled, no one has ever assaulted, no one has ever dominated the Undertaker like we are seeing right here at WrestleMania XIV”- Jim Ross

Though maybe Kane’s own offense was wearing him down, because the Undertaker was slowly starting to gain some momentum. And then the Undertaker tried maybe the one move that could turn the match completely in his favor. The Undertaker tried to dive over the top rope in hopes of taking out his younger brother, but Kane had the wherewithal to sidestep his brother, as Taker went crashing through the announce table on the outside of the ring.

That was maybe the Undertaker’s final hope. His body had been ravaged by a monster, and he had now threw himself through a table.

Kane then began his final attack on the Undertaker. Starting with a clothesline from the top rope, Kane would begin delivering his final blows. Kane then hit maybe the final move of the match: the Tombstone Piledriver. Kane would cover the Undertaker, and this time with his full intentions being to win the match

Except in the final moment, Taker would kick out! Kane and Paul Bearer’s looks would be those of bewilderment. They had no idea how the Undertaker could kick out of a Tombstone, especially after the onslaught that Kane had put him through.

Though maybe that Tombstone was the one thing that made the Undertaker kick it into a completely different gear. As when Taker got up from the Tombstone, he began firing on all cylinders.

With a Tombstone Piledriver, it appeared that the Undertaker had defeated the odds and won the match. Except Kane kicked out. Jim Ross mentioned that he had never seen a man kick out of the Undertaker’s Tombstone Piledriver before, and Kane had just done so here.

After a wicked clothesline from the top rope and another Tombstone, this appeared to be the Undertaker’s match to win. Except Kane kicked out once again! The Undertaker was completely shocked, as was Paul Bearer.

And with one of the most impactful Tombstone Piledriver’s that the Undertaker had ever delivered, he would cover Kane once more. This time, Kane couldn’t kick out. The referee counted the pinfall, and the Undertaker had won the match.

It took three Tombstone Piledrivers to win, but the Undertaker did.

Following the match, Paul Bearer and Kane began attacking the Undertaker with a steel chair. Kane would then hit one final Tombstone on Taker, as his skull would bounce off the chair. And maybe then we all realized that Kane and Bearer’s intention were to never truly attain victory, but rather to completely decimate the Undertaker.

Kane would walk out of WrestleMania XIV as the loser, but he would leave with the one thing that he and Bearer strived for, and that was to hurt the Undertaker. And while the Undertaker would walk out of WrestleMania as the winner, he would be the one to leave a broken, dominated individual.

Victory by the Undertaker was met with even more punishment, and that left Paul Bearer and Kane satisfied. The Undertaker had won this battle, but this was a war that had barely just begun.

Maybe Jim Ross defined this match best following its conclusion.

“I’ve seen wars between smaller countries with less intensity than this”- Jim Ross


Paul Bearer had a dream. He had a dream that a ring would be surrounded by fire. He had a dream that the only way to win this match would be to light your opponent on fire.

And that was the inspiration for the inaugural Inferno Match. Two men would be surrounded by a ring of fire. You could only win by having the other opponent catch fire. It was a deadly stipulation between two deadly competitors in the Undertaker and Kane.

The Undertaker had won the last month’s encounter, but he left that match a broken heap of a man. And while Kane lost, he left looking just as much like a monster as he did walking in.

And now, the two monsters would wrestle in an Inferno Match. These two brother’s childhoods revolved and centered around the danger of fire. They both know and understand exactly how fatal the element of fire is, and in this match they will use that deadly element to try and win another battle in their incredible war.

The match begins with the Undertaker, surprisingly, taking it to Kane and getting the upper hand. The Undertaker was firing early and he was firing hard. Though, it didn’t take long for Kane’s ridiculous power to once again overwhelm the Undertaker.

Kane began beating down Taker in a very similar fashion as he did at WrestleMania. This time though, the wrinkle of fire made Kane’s offense even more dangerous. Every opportunity that Kane had he would force the Undertaker as close to the fire as possible. It was almost sick, actually, how determined Kane was to set his own brother on fire.

Paul Bearer then threw a steel chair into the ring, and this was of course used to Kane’s advantage. Kane would strike the Undertaker with an evil chair shot to his skull.

After a savage beating the Undertaker had been taking, he began to muster a comeback. A side Russian leg sweep and massive legdrop should’ve gave the Undertaker some time to recover, but Kane sat right back up.

Kane then delivered a huge chokeslam on Taker. Kane would pick the Undertaker up in an attempt to throw him into the fire, but the Undertaker would retaliate and hit a chokeslam of his own! Kane would sit right back up though, and that would lead to the two monsters hitting big boots on each other that knocked them both out.

This was a destructive fight, and the intensity of every single move showed the hatred between these two individuals.

The fight would continue, as Kane would take a risky maneuver and go to the top rope. Kane’s agility was always incredible, but his inexperience shined through in this instance. The Undertaker, in a veteran move, hit the ropes and knocked Kane down.  Kane’s feet would consequently come dangerously close to the flames.

The Undertaker would then hit a superplex from the top rope that would once again take both men out of the match. These two men had beat each other to hell, and the flames were clearly taking a physical and mental toll on the both of them.

The Undertaker would throw Kane over the top rope, and this would nearly send Kane straight into the fire. Kane would then try and leave this hellacious match, but Vader would come out and fight Kane back to ringside! The Undertaker, meanwhile, would show his astonishing ability and hit an absolutely extraordinary dive from the ring to the floor that would take out both Kane and Vader.

The Undertaker would put Kane out of commission for the time being with two impactful chair shots. And this would finally leave the door open for Taker to go after Paul Bearer.

Bearer, the same man that betrayed the Undertaker and turned his younger brother into an absolute monster, tried to run away from the deadman, but that only fueled the Undertaker’s anger even more. Taker would get some revenge on Bearer by smashing his skull with a drum set and taking a mic stand to his black heart.

It wasn’t even close to the payback that Paul Bearer deserved for the awful things he had done to the Undertaker, but it was enough for the time being.

Taker would then go back for Kane. Kane was ready though, as he had a steel chair in hand by the time the Undertaker was there. The Demon of Death Valley countered this with a big kick to the face, and that was impactful enough to send Kane right into the flames, as his arm caught on fire!

The referee rang the bell, and the Undertaker was declared the victor of the first ever Inferno Match.

Kane had felt the same thing that he had felt as a child. The agony of fire on the human flesh. This time, there was no after match attack. The Undertaker had taken out Paul Bearer, and he had set his brother on fire. The Undertaker got his long awaited retribution, and the two sickening, repulsive human beings in Paul Bearer and Kane finally got what they had deserved since Badd Blood 1997.

This was another battle in the Undertaker and Kane’s deadly relationship, but it had yet to be resolved. The Undertaker may have got what he had wanted, but Kane’s fury was not vanquished. This was still an unfinished war.

Part two of this rivalry will reveal exactly how the rest of this destructive war unfolds. Thank you for reading and leave your thoughts for part one down below.

Source: Wrestling Enigma: http://www.wrestleenigma.com/wrestlings-greatest-rivalries-kane-vs-the-undertaker-part-1-the-gateway-to-hell 


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