1997 Kane vs 2002 Brock Lesnar

1997 Kane vs 2002 Brock Lesnar

Image Courtesy of Whatculture.com

The next fantasy matchup we will be looking at is one that would have been a hard hitting, high impact affair. A clash of incredible power and explosive strength, mixed with an athleticism that betrays both wrestlers bulky frames. The two wrestlers I am referring to are Brock Lesnar and Kane. "What's this?" you ask. "We have seen them face each other before!". True, but not in the way that I am proposing. You have seen them wrestle each other, but way past their respective primes. The closest we got to seeing them slug it out in their heyday was at the Royal Rumble 2003. My fantasy matchup however, takes us back even further in time. 

In 1997, Kane arrived on the scene, and began destroying everything in his path. He was built up as a monster with supernatural abilities and seemingly impervious to pain. He was outright scary, such was the aura that surrounded him. Not only was he seven feet tall and weighed around 326 lbs, he was also deranged and unhinged, giving off a Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers vibe. Without uttering a word, he struck people with lightning, he mauled people with hammers, he exploded machinery at will, and he set his own brother, The Undertaker, on fire. His wrestling ability was also extremely impressive for a man of his size. In addition to performing a devastating Chokeslam and Tombstone Piledriver, he would also do a top rope diving clothesline and enzuigiri. And to add to how dangerous he was, he was controlled by his mouthpiece, and father, Paul Bearer. Bearer had announced that Kane was his "personal instrument of destruction", and that's exactly what he was. This was the original Kane, before years of bad booking turned him into a grossly underused, glorified jobber. At the start, he was built up to be indestructible, remorseless, and evil. It is this 1997 era Kane that will be featuring in this fantasy matchup.

In 2002, Lesnar arrived in the WWE and quickly established himself as a wrecking machine. He stood 6ft 4 inches, weighed a shade under 300 lbs, and was every bit as strong as he looked. In addition to his explosive power, what also made him intimidating was his agility and athleticism. He moved as quick as someone 100lbs lighter. It was incredible to watch. He dominated his initial opponents, the Hardy Boyz, winning matches by knockout, rather than pinfall or submission, which in professional wrestling is extremely rare. It must also be noted as a forgotten piece of history, that in his first couple of months, the F5 was not his main finishing move. The F5 preceded a spiral powerbomb, which had tremendous force behind it. Much like Kane's initial run, Lesnar had been built up to be invincible, and within a matter of months he had bulldozed his way through the roster, won King of the Ring 2002, and captured the WWE Undisputed Title from The Rock at Summerslam 2002. Lesnar was also supported by someone in his corner - his "Agent", Paul Heyman. Heyman, fresh from his days as the Alliance's heel commentator in the 2001 invasion angle, still had a ton of heat on him. People loved to hate him, and he played the part of the wiley, smart, mouthy, cowardly heel manager perfectly. He was Lesnar's mouthpiece even then, as apart from a period around 2003-2004, Lesnar seldom had any microphone time. Not that he needed it with the incredible oratory ability of Paul Heyman in his corner. Lesnar remained undefeated until Survivor Series 2002, when the Big Show was the one to finally get the 3 count, albeit with the treacherous Heymans assistance. It is the pre Survivor Series 2002 Brock Lesnar, with Heyman still in his corner, that will be facing off against Kane in this matchup.

Image courtesy of Sportskeeda.com

Image courtesy of Sportskeeda.com

If I could book this match, I'd grab a time machine and send Kane and Paul Bearer forward to 2002 to face Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. They would face at the Survivor Series for the WWE Championship, with Lesnar as the defending champion. It goes without saying that this would be built up as a battle of the behemoths, with plenty of sabre rattling from both Heyman and Bearer in the weeks leading up to the showdown. Each manager would claim that their wrestler is more dominant than the other, and Kane would ramp up his sadistic streak, making examples of unfortunate superstars who crossed his path. He would brutalise Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore with a hammer, and destroy Los Guerreros after interrupting a tag match after they offended him backstage. Such was the brutality that Stephanie Mcmahon was forced to take action to protect the Smackdown main event at Survivor Series. Lesnar and Kane were to be kept separated until the match. Lesnar had proved to be a caged animal, eager to be let loose, despite the insistence of Heyman that he should wait. He took out his frustrations on his opponents, decimating them and repeatedly calling out Kane. Kane would not come out to face him, instead preferring to remain silent and motionless behind Bearer, who taunted Lesnar from the Titantron, while Lesnar seethed in the ring. 

Things eventually boiled over when Bearer came to the ring the Smackdown before Survivor Series, and launched a tirade of personal insults at Heyman, goading him over his failures at ECW, as a commentator and the ill fated Alliance. Heyman would storm to the ring, and return fire, mocking Bearer for his failure to protect his son from the funeral home fire, promising that Lesnar would finish the job that Kane's brother, The Undertaker, started. They got in each others faces, but then Kane appeared through the crowd, clambered over the barricade and climbed in the ring behind Heyman. Lesnar forced his way past security backstage and ran down the ramp to his agents aid, dodging fire and lightning that Kane conjured up. Undeterred, Lesnar lept into the ring and tackled Kane into the corner, as Heyman and Bearer scattered. Lesnar managed to get a few shoulder thrusts in before Kane shoved him off with tremendous force. The fight was immediately broken up as the whole roster poured out of the lockeroom to separate them. The stage was set for an explosive encounter.

The match itself was a highly combustible, hard hitting affair. Kane made his entrance first, and Lesnar didn't waste any time with his entrance, sprinting to the ring, finally let off the leash. Kane ducked a clothesline and Lesnar tasted shoe leather, floored by a big boot and then a massive uppercut. Kane forced Lesnar into the corner and began to unload with hard shots. Lesnar gained the upperhand temporarily by getting his foot up from an attempted turnbuckle clothesline, and got in his first german suplex of the match. Kane immediately sat up and clotheslined Lesnar. This would set a pattern for the early stages of the match. Both men, being accustomed to being the most physically imposing in their matches, attempted to exert their dominance, hitting each other with high impact moves. Lesnar would get momentum, only for Kane to sit up and put Lesnar down again. 

The match would take a violent turn when Lesnar managed to clothesline Kane out of the ring. Kane landed on his feet and pulled Lesnar to the outside. Lesnar immediately countered and rammed Kane into the ring post. Lesnar would attempt to F5 Kane through the Spanish announcers table, but would be distracted by Bearer. Lesnar dropped Kane, and went after Bearer, but the referee got in the way and ordered Bearer to back off. During this time, Kane grabbed a lead pipe and hit Lesnar over the head as he turned round. Seeing the referee turn around, Bearer distracted the referee again, this time knocking him out. This allowed Kane to assault Lesnar with the steel steps, opening up a grizzly wound on the champions forehead as Heyman looked on in horror. Bearer taunted his rival manager from the other side of the ring as Kane threw a bloodied Lesnar in the ring, and delivered a devastating Chokeslam. Kane pinned Lesnar as Bearer motioned to the back for another referee to come down. Another referee did indeed come sprinting down, but he did not make it to the ring, as Heyman, in desperation, tripped him up and then knocked him out with a hard punch. This wiped the smile off of Bearer's face, and this time it was Heyman's turn to grin, much to the delight of the audience. Kane was enraged, and left the ring to chase Heyman down. Bearer grabbed Heyman and held him as Kane charged, but Heyman escaped Bearers clutches at the last second, ducking Kane's big boot, which landed on Bearers face instead. Kane, angered even further at taking his own father out, continued his pursuit, as Heyman ran into the ring. Kane climbed into the ring and sprinted towards his prey, but Lesnar leapt to his feet and gave Kane a series of german suplexes, screaming maniacally as blood poured down his face. Kane managed to sit up for the first couple, but was then worn down, recovering more slowly each time. Then Lesnar gave Kane a belly to belly suplex and brought the house down with a thunderous F5. Again, the match was without a referee, and this time it was Heyman who motioned frantically for a referee to come down. Brock appeared to have won as the third referee counted, but Bearer had recovered, and pulled the third referee out and laid him out. Heyman snapped and tackled Bearer to the ground.

Lesnar went for another F5, but Kane countered it into a Tombstone piledriver. The second referee climbed into the ring and counted, but Lesnar managed to get his foot on the bottom rope at the last possible moment. Kane completely lost his mind at this point, and Chokeslammed the referee. He then went to Tombstone Lesnar again, but the champion escaped the move, and rammed Kane into the corner, pummeling him with shoulder thrusts, before Kane shoved him off, mirroring what happened on Smackdown. At this point, a fourth referee came down and called for the bell, disqualifying both wrestlers for abuse of the officials. Stephanie McMahon came out to the top of the ramp, and furiously declared the match was over, and ordered security and other wrestlers to separate the two opponents and their brawling managers. She screamed at Kane and Bearer as they were escorted up the ramp as Lesnar and Heyman were surrounded in the ring. Lesnar was handed his Championship belt, and with bloodstained hands he held it up in celebration of surviving an encounter with the Big Red Machine with his reign still intact.

All in all, a savage ending to a match between two powerful and dangerously unpredictable opponents. The Kane fan in me wanted to give him the win, given how he generally gets booked to lose big matches. He was at his best in 1997, but I felt that he had met his match in the 2002 Lesnar, so it was too close to call either way. I felt a double disqualification would be a favorable and more realistic outcome, reminiscent of the Lesnar vs Undertaker match at Unforgiven 2002 which ended in a similar fashion.