Tales from beneath the ring
Thanks to intervening broski John Cena, United States Champion Zack Ryder narrowly avoided being dragged into the unknown by Kane Monday night.
Emerging through the ring canvas like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Big Red Machine’s freakish powers were on full display following Raw SuperShow’s 2-on-3 Handicap Match main event. With his plan stymied by the Cenation leader, Kane descended back into the darkness, followed moments later by a towering inferno that shot straight up through the opening in the mat.
Never before has a Superstar summoned up the flames of hell - especially after using that same portal to leave only moments before.
Although the fire gave Kane’s cruel plot a demonic tinge, this past Monday was not the first instance of a Superstar rising from beneath the ring to attack a foe. That honor belongs to Kane’s half-brother, The Undertaker.
Almost 16 years ago, The Phenom unexpectedly made an appearance during a Cage Match main event between Hall of Famer Bret Hart and “Diesel” Kevin Nash at WWE’s In Your House 6. Embroiled in a rivalry with Nash at the time, The Phenom tore through the canvas during the title bout’s waning moments and yanked Nash under, preventing Big Daddy Cool from escaping the cage and setting up Hart for the victory.
As a frantic Nash was pulled into the abyss against his will, plumes of smoke began emanating from the hole. When he re-emerged moments later, Nash’s shocked countenance confirmed that whatever transpired down there was not quite of this world. (WATCH)
Bursting through the ring is an eerie strategy that has typically been the domain of The Brothers of Destruction, but it also served as a platform for at least one massive debut.
In February 1999, the WWE Universe was treated to its first glimpse of Big Show when The World’s Largest Athlete made his presence known during a steel cage showdown between “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and his sworn enemy, Mr. McMahon.
The cage ensured that Mr. McMahon’s lackeys in the Corporation stable would not give their boss an unfair advantage, but it provided Austin little security from attacks from below. Late in the match, Big Show rose through the ring floor to interfere on The WWE Chairman’s behalf - the first of many lasting impressions made by The World’s Largest Athlete.
Whereas Big Show hid under the squared circle as a way to catch The Texas Rattlesnake off-guard, the area just below the ring floor has always taken on a decidedly mysterious hue whenever Kane and The Undertaker are involved. (WATCH)
During an October 2010 edition of SmackDown, the WWE Universe got to see what happens when the two forces collide. On that occasion, The Deadman treated The Devil’s Favorite Demon to an experience not too dissimilar to what almost happened to Ryder Monday night.
Facing then-World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton in a title-free bout, Kane was distracted when The Undertaker’s trademark gong sounded and the arena went dark. When the lights turned back on, the vengeful Kane, confident of his sibling’s presence but unsure of his exact location, began searching for The Undertaker. The momentary distraction provided The Viper with enough of an opening to hit an RKO for the win.
Post-match, The Undertaker again conjured up his powers, turning the arena dark once more before bursting through the ring floor. Unlike Kane’s failed attempt Monday, The Phenom successfully dragged a maskless and unwilling Kane into the darkness. (WATCH)
That was then, though. Now, The Big Red Machine is not only back, but he seems more powerful than ever before, as evident by his fire show Monday. And he’s focusing all that power, fueled by hate, squarely toward Cena.