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The Devil's Favorite Duos: A history of Kane's tag team partners
New WWE Tag Team Champion Kane is a pretty angry guy. Give him credit, he’s working on that (among other issues) in his therapeutic tag team with fellow WWE Tag Team Champion Daniel Bryan. The odds of them coexisting are a bit of a long shot, but then again, Kane has always been a better tag team partner than the WWE Universe might remember. In fact, if you can get past the Chokeslams, bi-weekly descents into madness and his grumpiness in general, Kane has proven most fortuitous to competitors looking to make an impact in the tag team scene.
So, while The Big Red Machine makes his latest pass at the twin titles, we look back at some of Kane’s other tag team partners: the crazies, the stoics, the small, the big and, of course, The Hurricane.
The Big Red Machine got himself a partner in crime not long after his WWE debut, teaming with the deranged Mankind to win the WWE World Tag Team Championships from the incumbent New Age Outlaws in August 1998. The masked men were a formidable duo as champions, bringing an element of unpredictability to each match as a result of their fractured psyches. But The Devil’s Favorite Demon ultimately turned his back on Mick Foley’s masked personality, which wasn’t all that surprising: Two broken minds don’t make a whole.
“Bickering” doesn’t even begin to describe the contentious back-and-forth between Kane and his brother throughout The Big Red Machine’s first few years in WWE. The two cost each other championship matches, Tombstoned each other for kicks, and even clashed at WrestleMania … all while occasionally (key word: occasionally) putting their differences aside for the odd tag team match here and there. Of course, on those rare instances that they were on the same page, though, the brothers weren’t so much WWE Superstars as a force of nature.
In April 2001, Kane and The Deadman managed to coexist peacefully enough to capture tag team title gold, defeating Edge & Christian for the World Tag Team Championships as The Brothers of Destruction. That particular reign was short-lived, but the twosome would soon make history by defeating Diamond Dallas Page and Kanyon in a steel cage at SummerSlam 2001 to unify the WWE and WCW Tag Team Championships (self-high fives all around) for the first time in history.
Of course, in a classic instance of “one step forward, two steps back,” the partnership would inevitably dissolve and end in something along the lines of Kane being set ablaze, Undertaker being buried alive, or some horrifying combination of the two. You know, typical brotherly tiffs.
Allow us a brief moment to gush here: This tag team was awesome. One of the most left-field pairings in the history of WWE, Kane’s union with the rowdy D-Generation X stalwart not only saved The Big Red Monster from The Corporation’s attempt to institutionalize him, but it showed the WWE Universe a whole new side to the theretofore silent demon in red. Rolling with the anti-establishment crew loosened up The Big Red Machine in a huge way. Before long, Kane had himself a girl (Tori), a couple of World Tag Team Title reigns, and even learned to speak without the aid of his signature voicebox. Given that he was hanging around DX at the time, you can probably guess what his first two words were.
Like we said: awesome.
Sadly, Kane’s team with X-Pac came to an unceremonious end when Tori dumped The Big Red Machine and took up with his tag team partner (that jezebel!!!!), which led to a long, brutal rivalry between X-Pac and The Devil’s Favorite Demon that culminated at WrestleMania 2000 in a tag match. In one corner, flanked by Tori, was X-Pac and Road Dogg, and in the other was Kane and his partner … Rikishi, joined by Paul Bearer (arm candy all around). Despite the unconventional pairing, the big men made handy work of their opponents, neutralizing the D-O–Double G and opening the window for Kane to seal X-Pac’s fate with a furious Tombstone Piledriver that rattled The Show of Shows to its core. As for Tori? She suffered a fate worse than death: a Stink Face from Rikishi. Few Attitude Era memories were as satisfying as seeing the woman who tore out Kane’s shriveled heart get a face full of dimples on The Grandest Stage of Them All; surely an instance of a punishment that befit the crime.
And no, despite his slightly loosened up attitude, Kane did not partake in the customary Too Cool dance. He did, however, beat up Pete Rose … again.
Turner and Hooch. Batman and Robin. The Tick and that guy in the moth costume.
Kane and The Hurricane.
Few duos have had the crime-fighting potential than this wacky tag team, born out of camaraderie between the two “freaks” who struck up a bromance when they won the World Tag Team Titles from The Un-Americans in September 2002. Working together under the mantra “freaks are cool!” (and also “chicks dig the mask,” but that’s a separate conversation entirely) “Hurri-Kane,” as they came to be known, fought in the name of underdogs everywhere (including during a monumental Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match in which Kane defended the twin championships by himself against three other duos). Hurri-Kane may have long faded into superhero legend, but they were certainly the tag team WWE needed and deserved.
Rob Van Dam
Kane’s current rivalry with Daniel Bryan has taken him deep into anger management, but Bryan isn’t the first partner who thought The Devil’s Favorite Demon could use a little bit of mellowing out. That, of course, would be Rob Van Dam, the ECW Original who teamed with Kane in 2002-2003 and captured the World Tag Team Championship in the process. RVD, who was always an expert at staying chill outside the ring, attempted to impart his lessons onto The Big Red Machine. He never did manage to make Kane’s aloofness match his own, but he did bring out a funny side to the monster … until Kane was forced to unmask and promptly went off the deep end, attacking RVD in a fit of fury. Things went downhill from there, but we’re sure Rob would want us to remember the good times. They had a good thing going with that tag team, but it just wasn’t meant to be, man. You know?
Big, meet bigger. For as many times as Kane and Big Show have clashed in the ring (and they’ve fought a lot), they also made up one of the more dominant tag teams in WWE history when they decided to set aside their differences and put a plus-sized hurting on some fools. Their first stint as a tag team was a short one in 2001, when they unsuccessfully challenged for the WWE Tag Team Championships at Vengeance. They would eventually claim those titles four years later, winning them from Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch at Taboo Tuesday 2005. These big boys ran rampant for months with the titles around their tree-trunk waists, but a lapse into insanity on Kane’s part tore the union asunder.
The year 2011, however, saw the team reunite after an ongoing conflict with The Corre forced them to put aside their differences and get the band back together. After briefly choking each other out, even Kane was forced to admit the obvious to The World’s Largest Athlete: “You complete me.” They won the Tag Team Titles from The Corre soon after, only to lose them to David Otunga & Michael McGillicutty a few weeks later after the New Nexus interfered in their match. Even then, the team might have prevailed had Mark Henry not inducted both Kane and Show into his Hall of Pain, putting both men out of action for several months. One can only hope another run together is on the horizon down the line. We’re sure Show would have Kane at “hello.”
Which brings us to Daniel Bryan. An odd love quadrangle (love rhombus?) between Kane, Bryan, AJ Lee and CM Punk eventually settled down into a bitter, one-on-one rivalry between Kane and the “No!” man after AJ became Raw General Manager and Punk moved on to instigate John Cena. However, given Kane’s general disposition and Bryan’s increasingly volcanic temper, the rivalry actually became too intense for WWE. After poor Josh Mathews got caught in the crossfire, catching some air courtesy of Kane following his loss to Bryan at SummerSlam, AJ laid down the law and decreed that both men would undergo anger management counseling to work out their issues in a healthy way.
We’d be lying if we said steps weren’t made, but the therapy remains very much a work in progress. Case in point, Bryan and Kane embraced in a full-on hug in the middle of the ring … only to nearly beat each other into unconsciousness only moments later. The next week, their therapist Dr. Shelby instituted a radical, last-ditch effort at therapy: The two would unite and challenge The Prime Time Players for the No. 1 contenders’ spot for the Tag Team Titles. Against all odds, the two picked up the victory … but only after Kane Chokeslammed Bryan onto a prone Darren Young following an overly aggressive tag-in, allowing the “No!” man to pick up the win. We reiterate: work in progress.