For years, in order to allow a storyline to progress, professional wrestling creative teams have utilized the art of the “swerve.”
This is not the kind swerve like what Sable used to do with her goddess-like hips, or what happened to Kofi Kingston’s feet when he attempted a springboard just a couple weeks ago on Monday Night Raw.
In professional wrestling, “swerves” are initiated when either a face or a heel transition to their opposite in order to throw a wrench into another’s plans. For example, Triple H turning on Seth Rollins in order to allow Kevin Owens to become WWE Universal Champion was a swerve. Any of the thousand times a babyface joined the nWo was a swerve.
Swerves are intended to be enthralling surprises. On SmackDown, a swerve took place that saw Randy Orton giving Kane an RKO to give Bray Wyatt a pinfall victory over the “Big Red Machine,” followed by a “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mini promo from Orton later on in the show.
Unfortunately, nobody seemed to care. It was not like a “come home to your wife in her birthday suit on your birthday” surprise. It was more like a “Private Santiago spitting up blood during an intended Code Red” surprise.
Randy Orton’s swerve went over like a fart in church not because he is no longer an impact player. The blasé response took place due to the fact that “The Viper” chose Kane as his prey.
What is so unfortunate about Tuesday night’s flatlining fans is the fact that Kane’s resume should determine him to be kind of a big deal. He is a multi-time world champion, a 20-year-plus veteran, and has been a figurehead in some of the most shocking moments in WWE history, including a debut at the end of the first Hell in a Cell match that is easily a top ten all-time debut.
What is also so unfortunate is that WWE creative has apparently lost his resume, and not for the first time.
Kane was the hottest item in professional wrestling in June 2003 after being forced to unmask due to losing a match to Triple H. At the time, he apparently saw the light, forming a successful tag team with Rob Van Dam, delivering an impressive Spinarooni alongside Booker T, and delivering an excellent Hulk Hogan impersonation during a backstage segment with the “Immortal One” and The Rock (looking both up on YouTube is well worth it if you have a few minutes to kill).
The removal of his mask brought out a side a Kane even more violent than the one we had seen before, seeing the “Big Red Machine” set Jim Ross on fire, tombstoning Linda McMahon on the rampway, and executing a feud with Shane McMahon that, at one point, found Shane’s junior grapefruits being shocked with jumper cables.
Unfortunately, WWE Creative felt that Shane McMahon’s balls would serve as Kane’s brass ring. Soon after, he would be fed to the returning Undertaker at WrestleMania XX, knock up Lita in an angle that involved Gene Snitsky going all Gary Anderson on a toy baby, and would briefly serve as ECW Champion in WWE’s Saturday afternoon special version of the once-innovative company. Even a decent return to his dark ways in 2011 (equipped with a badass blowtorch mask) ended with him hugging Daniel Bryan.
He has since worn a suit and back again as both Corporate Kane, who is a heel, and Demon Kane, who his the old Kane that, apparently, pretends like Corporate Kane never existed. If Demon Kane is still a “demon,” then Val Venis is still doing porn.
Randy Orton’s attack on Kane would have been a bigger deal if WWE found a way to remind the crowd just how depraved the mind of Kane can be. This is man who has set a man on fire and shocked Shane’s giggleberries with a car battery on live television. But alas, we are in a state of WWE that adopts a PG culture, but has also embraced the New Era, a revolution in WWE that makes one think that it has finally realized that independent wrestling was actually doing things right. Both of these facts mean that Kane, over 20 years in with a weaker flying lariat, is a man without a country, causing him to be a man without fan sympathy on Tuesday night, and possibly forever more.