On Monday’s Raw, The Shield brought back their vests and crowd-pleasing entrance. The group had only reformed a week prior, and on that night Dean Ambrose had boasted that The Shield could destroy three, four, five or six guys. The Miz took that comment to heart, using those words to convince Kurt Angle to make the six-man tag at TLC a three-on-four handicap match: The Shield vs The Miz, The Bar, and Braun Strowman.
Not content with only upping the ante, and his team to four members, The Miz announced that he had recruited a fifth. While Angle tried to prevent a further addition to the Intercontinental Champion’s team, he compromised by announcing that the Raw main event of Roman Reigns vs Braun Strowman – inside a steel cage – would feature the added stakes that if Strowman won, The Miz could have his fifth guy, but if Reigns won, Strowman was off the team and TLC would revert to the original three-on-three.
Curtis Axel, member of The Miztourage, looked poised to take that fifth spot should it be won. He was even on the receiving end of a crowd chant early in the show. However, he would later find himself dangling upside-down following an off-screen Shield assault. The Miz was surprisingly cool with this; Axel was never the fifth man.
Braun and Roman brought their hard-hitting style to the caged main event. Cesaro and Sheamus threatened interference before being run off by Ambrose and Rollins. Reigns set up for his spear on Strowman, the win in his sights, and then – pyro! An arena drenched in crimson and an amped up version of a two-decade old entrance theme. A demon rose up from beneath the ring, from Hell itself. Kane had returned.
The Big Red Machine took out Reigns with a chokeslam, Strowman joined in with a powerslam on his foe. Adding insult to injury, Kane hit a tombstone piledriver before Strowman hit the final nail into the coffin of Roman Reigns. The Miz stood atop a ladder on the stage and proudly introduced the world to the fifth member of his army: Kane.
A couple of years ago it was common for crowds to chant ‘Please retire’ at a couple of WWE stalwarts, namely Big Show and Kane. Both, it was felt, were past their prime and had overstayed their welcome. So why does a Kane return feel so fresh all of a sudden in 2017?
1. The Surprise Factor Glenn Jacobs is currently running for mayor of Knox County, Tennessee. With an election coming up in 2018, it was assumed he’d not have a lot of time to spare in playing the role of Kane in WWE. Add in the fact that he’s not been seen on television in almost a year, Kane’s return here served as a great surprise to pop the crowd. In this day and online age, it’s hard to pull off any genuine surprises, and it’s not often that a bonafide superstar return has much of an impact anymore. Therefore, this was the perfect time to reintroduce Kane; nobody had any idea it was coming and the guy’s a future first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Besides, with that election looming it’s not like he’s going to outstay his welcome again.
2. It Makes Sense From A Storyline Perspective Kane has beef with The Shield. As part of Team Hell No with Daniel Bryan, he was involved in the first ever Shield match along with Ryback at TLC 2012. Kane, Bryan and Ryback lost that match. In fact, they lost quite a few against the young upstarts. Now that The Shield is back together, five years on, of course Kane would want to gain some semblance of payback, especially at the same pay-per-view in the same match type.
Not only that, but The Miz (presuming he put in a call to acquire Kane’s services) would likely have pointed out how Reigns had ended his brother The Undertaker’s career at Wrestlemania this year. Kane and The Undertaker may have had an unsteady relationship over the years, but whether they are currently on good terms or bad, what Reigns did to the Dead Man surely bothers him greatly.
3. If Big Show Can Do It As mentioned above, Kane and Big Show were both recipients of the ‘please retire’ chant. In 2017, though, Big Show upped his game and helped make Strowman a star with a series of stellar matches. Kane looks to still be in tremendous shape. Let’s see if he can keep up.
4. Two Decades Of Destruction This latest return falls twenty years and eleven days after Kane’s original debut. WWE celebrated The Demon’s milestone anniversary with a series of videos on its YouTube account, but nothing lives up to a fresh batch of carnage dished out by the man himself.
The upcoming TLC will also mark another milestone for the man who holds the record for most WWE pay-per-view matches. Kane’s 171st match on a WWE special event will also be his first in 2017, meaning he will have wrestled on at least one PPV each year since 1997.
5. He’s Kane Of course he is. But what he isn’t this time around is a corporate stooge or emotionally unstable. Instead he’s the monster we all know and love. He’s The Big Red Machine, The Demon, the brother of destruction. He’s Kane.