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The fiery history of the Inferno Match
Following WrestleMania XIV, a unique rematch between Kane and The Undertaker took place at Unforgiven 1998, intended to give Kane an advantage. The brainchild of Paul Bearer, the Inferno Match was, perhaps, the most dangerous contest in WWE history. Set in a ring engulfed in flames, the bout had one objective: set your opponent on fire.
The match is so dangerous that there have only been four since its inception — all of which featured the demonic Kane. Relive the four heated battles as WWEClassics.com ignites the history of the Inferno Match.
The Undertaker vs. Kane — Unforgiven, April 26, 1998
The sick and twisted sibling rivalry between Kane and The Undertaker was born in fire when both Superstars were young boys. The Big Red Monster was thought to have perished in a fire that The Phenom allegedly started. Following their first clash at WrestleMania XIV, Kane’s hatred continued to burn and Paul Bearer challenged The Phenom on Kane’s behalf to a rematch at Unforgiven 1998. In an attempt to manufacture an advantage for The Big Red Monster, Bearer suggested the first-ever Inferno Match.
The battle itself was just as dangerous as it looked on paper. The fire did not restrict The Undertaker and Kane’s brawl to the inside of the ring — they also battled outside, including The Big Red Monster’s attempted flight from the arena being stopped by Vader. With flames shooting high into the air, The Deadman finally managed to set Kane’s arm ablaze and win the dangerous encounter.
The Undertaker vs. Kane — Feb. 22, 1999
Nearly a year removed from the first Inferno Match at Unforgiven, the Brothers of Destruction faced off in a second Inferno Match. The bout occurred at the height of the animosity between Mr. McMahon’s Corporation and The Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness. Fueled by a personal vendetta against The Phenom, The Chairman ordered The Undertaker into an impromptu Inferno Mach against The Big Red Monster on the Feb. 22, 1999, episode of Monday Night Raw.
Once again, The Big Red Monster and The Phenom engaged in a struggle to set each other ablaze. Mr. McMahon watched from ringside as the flames burned more intensely with each impactful blow. But Kane was unable to best his half-brother in the contest specifically designed to give him an edge — The Undertaker was declared victorious after setting Kane’s foot on fire.
Triple H vs. Kane — Smackdown, Sept. 23, 1999
To qualify for the Six-Pack Challenge at Unforgiven 1999, Triple H was ordered by Mr. McMahon to win at least three of five matches in one evening. Each match had a specific stipulation and The Game had already lost the first two when he was forced into an Inferno Match against Kane. With The Cerebral Assassin’s luck running out, the heat was literally turned up for him as he brawled with Kane inside the fiery squared circle.
The odds were clearly stacked against The Game’s favor as Kane had competed in the only two previous Inferno Matches. Triple H managed to claim victory, though, when Mideon and Viscera came to ringside and attacked Kane. The nefarious duo set The Big Red Monster’s hand ablaze, keeping Triple H’s WWE Title hopes alive.
Kane vs. MVP — Armageddon, Dec. 17, 2006
The fourth — and final — Inferno Match took place at WWE Armageddon 2006 between MVP and Kane. It was the first time in six years that the dangerous match type took place. It was the final match between the Superstars in a three-match series that saw MVP victorious in a Street Fight and Steel Cage Match. Although The Big Red Monster didn’t have luck on his side in his previous bouts inside the literal ring of fire, the match was closely associated with him — giving him in important mental edge.
Although talented, MVP was definitely out of his element as flames engulfed the ring, stopping him from executing a top-rope maneuver or escaping. Unable to avoid Kane’s fury, The Ballin’ Superstar was ultimately set ablaze in a horrifying scene, giving The Big Red Monster his first Inferno Match victory.