With nearly five decades of experience and 102 years on Earth between them, The Undertaker and Kane are certified WWE legends. Whether you may also prefer to think of them as Mark Calaway and Glenn Jacobs, the Deadman and the Big Red Machine, or the Phenom and the Devil's Favorite Demon, they're better-known as the Brothers of Destruction, and that's obviously a reference to the fact that WWE canon has always insisted on Kane being Undertaker's half-brother. They've both had Paul Bearer serving as their manager and father figure, and aside from their numerous championships as singles wrestlers, the Brothers of Destruction also won their share of tag team titles during their time teaming up as two of the best big men WWE has ever had the pleasure of working with.
The titles, the brilliant, if sometimes confusing storylines, Paul Bearer's legacy – these are all things Kane and 'Taker want you to remember. But there have also been moments in each man's career that they'd prefer you bury six feet under – bad gimmicks, overly-confusing or illogical points in their canon, terrible storylines that have since made it to the annals of WrestleCrap.
That said, let's take a look at 15 of those moments (8 for the longer-tenured Undertaker, 7 for Kane) that the Brothers of Destruction would want you to forget.
15 Undertaker: Those Gobbledygooker Rumors
You've probably read reports of the boom-or-bust scenario Mark Calaway was facing ahead of his WWE debut at Survivor Series 1990. The boom, quite obviously, was debuting as The Undertaker, which we can all agree turned out pretty good. The bust, on the other hand, was the story that he was being considered to play the Gobbledygooker, which pretty much killed any chance that Hector Guerrero would be a success in WWE like his younger brother Eddie eventually became.
As it turns out, Guerrero himself denied the rumors that 'Taker was in line to play the Gobbledygooker, explaining that that god-awful turkey costume was meant to be worn by a smaller wrestler like himself. But regardless whether the rumors are true or not, even the mere rumor of being considered for one of WWE's worst gimmicks of all-time is something anybody, Deadman or not, would want you to forget.
14 Kane: The Corporate Years
As we've seen through the years, Glenn Jacobs' natural intelligence and sense of humor could work in his favor, even when he's supposed to be the Devil's Favorite Demon. Case in point? Just watch those Dr. Shelby segments during his Team Hell No partnership with Daniel Bryan. Corporate Kane, however, was a completely different story, as WWE's kayfabe Director of Operations was often made to look weak by babyfaces who feuded with The Authority, not to mention by Authority co-leader Stephanie McMahon, who never passed up an opportunity to demean the big, goofy, suit-wearing corporate stooge.
Indeed, Kane had been reduced to little more than a modern-day version of Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson during the rise of the Mr. McMahon character. And while that did work for J&J Security (Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble), as no one expected their onscreen comeback to last long, it was a disservice to Kane, who, despite his advanced age, was still supposed to be a full-time performer in the WWE.
13 Undertaker: Killing DDP's WWE Push
Diamond Dallas Page was a true success story in WCW – originally an untrained manager, DDP began training to be a wrestler in his mid-30s, and turned out to be pretty solid in the ring, while amping up his already-outrageous real-life personality to enhance his in-ring character. As such, DDP was one of the biggest names to debut during the whole WCW "Invasion" period in 2001, what with all those high-profile holdouts in the aftermath of the WCW purchase.
Unfortunately, DDP's WWE run was largely a bust, and while you can't really blame The Undertaker for it, it was that whole "Sara's stalker" storyline with 'Taker and his then-wife that made the future yoga master look like a tool in the WWE Universe's eyes. Not even a face turn and a switch to a motivational speaker gimmick could save DDP, as you don't just recover overnight from an angle where even an untrained woman half your size can beat you in the ring.
12 Kane: His Miraculous "Recoveries"
WWE logic sometimes can be an oxymoron. And that was certainly true during the angle where Kane was supposed to lose his mask if he lost in a match against Triple H. Well, he did lose that match, and he did fully unmask himself to the horror of the audience, looking very much like someone who had been badly burned since childhood, albeit if you had a fifth-grader heading WWE’s costume and makeup team. One week later, he looked like he’d just washed his face at Lourdes, with nary a burn or scar to show.
Prior to the unmasking storyline of 2003, Kane had uttered his first words, saying the DX catchphrase “suck it” in solidarity with then-teammate X-Pac. But it also boggles the mind as to how Kane, after being told by X-Pac that he doesn’t need a voice box anymore, suddenly started speaking fluently in the clear baritone we’re currently familiar with.
How did those two things all happen? We'll probably never know.
11 Undertaker: His Streak Includes A DQ Win
For 21 straight WrestleManias, it was like clockwork –you knew that The Undertaker was going to pin or (in his later years) submit his man, and walk away victorious, with another line added to his WrestleMania winning streak. Indeed, 'Taker was able to win via pitfall or submission in each and every year he had the Streak running, but there was one notable exception, and it came at WrestleMania IX, where he defeated Giant Gonzalez via disqualification.
This won't be the only entry where we talk about what a horrific match that was, albeit not for a lack of trying from the Deadman. But why book him to win via DQ in the first place? Unfortunately, it's because of Vince McMahon's fixation with big men – at a legit 7'7" and a kayfabe 8-feet-tall, Gonzalez was supposed to look as strong as possible, complete lack of workrate and God-awful faux-nude bodysuit notwithstanding. Then again, 'Taker did win cleanly when he and Gonzalez tangled again at SummerSlam, and WWE had thankfully given up on the Argentine giant by that time.
10 Kane: Nearly Electrocuting Shane McMahon
As you'll see in this list, Glenn Jacobs has been in a plethora of bad storylines, while playing multiple bad gimmicks before he eventually became the Devil's Favorite Demon. He's a consummate pro, we can tell you that. And he's such a pro that he was more than willing to electrocute the son of the boss himself, Shane McMahon. Indeed, Shane-O-Mac has been through a lot of torture as an occasional wrestler, having repeatedly put his body on the line. And that includes putting his dude parts on the line, as Jim Ross so helpfully described it.
“KANE IS ATTACHING THOSE JUMPER CABLES…AND I HATE TO SAY IT, TO SHANE MCMAHON’S TESTICLES!”
Unfortunately, at least for the many fans willing to see Kane fry some nuts on Monday Night RAW, Rob Van Dam ran in to save the day, removing the cables and attacking Kane, effectively saving the McMahon family jewels in the process. It was classic bait-and-switch WWE booking at work, though we can't understand why WWE even wanted to go there, knowing that such a stunt would have potentially been fatal if it was real.
9 Undertaker: Wrestling Like An Old Man At Recent 'Manias
Assuming The Undertaker is really retired, he'll have a whole lot of WrestleMania moments to look back on. We'd probably say he doesn't want you to remember Brock Lesnar breaking the Streak, but WWE fan Ellis Mbeh's shocked expression ensures that that's something we'll be hard-pressed to erase from our memory banks, especially for those who feel the Streak should never have been broken. But after Brock broke the Streak at WrestleMania XXX, you may have noticed that 'Taker's age had finally caught up with him, in the form of "meh" matches all the way up to 'Mania 33.
Granted, Undertaker is now all of 52 years old, and we can understand why such a great worker would suddenly look less-than-impressive as he hit the big 5-0. But due to his well-documented hip problems, to say little of his advanced age, 'Taker's recent 'Mania matches saw him transformed into a mere shadow of the Phenom he should be.
8 Kane: All Those Bad Early Gimmicks
Instead of listing each of them individually, we've neatly bundled them up in one singular entry that Glenn Jacobs would prefer that you forget. As far as WWE goes, he was first introduced as Jerry Lawler's personal dentist, Isaac Yankem, DDS. Because Bret Hart's foot stunk so bad it ruined the King's teeth... and because bad puns. Then he was the fake Diesel because WWE wanted to show those tools at WCW that they owned Kevin Nash's original ring name, dammit. Finally, in 1997, WWE got it right and repackaged Jacobs as The Undertaker's devious half-brother, Kane. End of story.
Um...no, not quite. Even before he joined WWE, Glenn Jacobs was working some pretty awful gimmicks in the Memphis area. He was known as Unabomb in Smoky Mountain Wrestling, around the same time troubled, reclusive genius Ted Kaczynski was revealed as the serial-killing Unabomber. And in the USWA, he was the Christmas Creature, and it's a damn good thing WWE never thought of teaming him up with the future Balls Mahoney back when he was working as Santa's evil brother, Xanta Claus.
7 Undertaker: The Underfaker Storyline/Gap In His 'Mania Winning Streak
We could tell you that The Undertaker has been "killed" so many times, only to inexplicably come back from the dead, but since he says that "you can't kill a Deadman," we shall only look at one of those cases, which came in the aftermath of his loss to Yokozuna in a casket match at Royal Rumble 1994. (That also explains why there's a gap in his 'Mania streak at WrestleMania X, so we're effectively killing two birds with one stone here, wouldn't you think?)
With 'Taker ostensibly buried alive and taking seven months off in real life to recover from injuries, Ted DiBiase would introduce a fake Undertaker at WrestleMania X, played by Brian Lee. Not only was this "Underfaker" a less-talented worker, he was also noticeably shorter by a couple inches. And with numerous Undertaker sightings reported in the run-up to his return at SummerSlam, WWE felt the need to get a celebrity involved – Leslie Nielsen, sort-of reprising his bumbling role from The Naked Gun as he tried to solve the mystery of the two Undertakers.
It was bad comedy in a bad storyline, and after the real Undertaker did away with the impostor at SummerSlam, the fake version was thankfully gone from our TV screens...until he resurfaced three years later as kayfabe biker Chainz of the DOA.
6 Kane: The Fake Kane And May 19
Oh, The Undertaker wasn't the only Brother of Destruction involved in an impostor storyline. And likewise, Luke Gallows has nothing to be proud of either, as the Impostor Kane gimmick (and not Festus) marked his official WWE debut. But let's take a look at why the real Kane was facing an impostor in the first place – it all had something to do with the date May 19. The day when he supposedly burned his family to death. A day that had long passed when the fake Kane revealed himself, and when Impostor Kane beat OG Kane at Vengeance. Then the impostor was gone after a backstage beatdown from the real thing, and OG Kane was off to Europe for two months to promote his WWE Studios film, See No Evil.
This was a rather weird way for WWE to promote Kane's bad horror movie, but it's far from being the worst such angle he was ever involved in. There are a couple that stick out in particular, but we'll be getting to them soon enough. Oh, don't you worry about that.
5 Undertaker: His Early 'Mania Matches
We already covered The Undertaker's post-Streak matches at WrestleMania, and noted how they weren't quite what we were used to seeing in classic 'Mania encounters against the likes of Shawn Michaels and Batista. Thing is, they were still better than some of the Deadman's first few WrestleMania matches, where he was given the unenviable task of making certain opponents look competent in the ring.
The best example of this came at WrestleMania IX, an event routinely mentioned as one of the worst, if not the worst WrestleManias of all time –that was where 'Taker defeated a horribly-inept Giant Gonzalez via DQ, as previously mentioned. Two years later, he had the returning King Kong Bundy, who was never a great worker to begin with. Heck, you can even consider Sycho Sid at 'Mania 13, even if he didn't really poop his pants while being chokeslammed by 'Taker to close out the match.
While it might not be considered that "early," what about Big Boss Man at WrestleMania XV? That match wasn't as bad as the others mentioned above, but it did end with the gruesome sight of Boss Man hanging from the Hell in a Cell structure.
4 Kane: Lita's Miscarriage – It Wasn't Snitsky's Fault!
Saying that Kane is no stranger to bad gimmicks and even worse storylines is like preaching to the choir. And while this storyline wasn't the worst one Kane was ever involved in, it comes pretty damn close. It all started with an obsessive Kane kidnapping Lita after his loss to The Undertaker at WrestleMania XX, and announcing that he had impregnated Lita in hopes of continuing his legacy as the Big Red Machine. Ultimately, Lita would miscarry, and it was no thanks to ostensible jobber Gene Snitsky, who hit Kane in the back with a steel chair, causing the big guy to fall on the much smaller Lita.
With Snitsky established as a baby-killer who kept insisting that the miscarriage was not his fault, that allowed Kane to turn face. He would, however, be injured in kayfabe by the similarly tall and intimidating Snitsky, and that allowed him to film See No Evil. That debacle is saved from this list because he was at least passable as the psychotic Jacob Goodnight (see what they did there) in a film that largely featured overaged Aussie actors playing troubled American teens...and occasionally losing their fake accents.
3 3. Undertaker: His Original Ring Name
Technically speaking, The Undertaker has always been The Undertaker in the 27 years since his debut at Survivor Series. But when he was first brought out to the ring by Brother Love, which is a gimmick Bruce Prichard may or may not want you to forget, 25-year-old rookie giant Mark Calaway was advertised as "Kane the Undertaker." Or is that Cain the Undertaker? The spelling has differed depending on the source, but the pronunciation is nonetheless the same.
As you can obviously see, The Undertaker was being billed partly under the ring name his kayfabe half-brother would eventually use, doing so at a time when Glenn Jacobs hadn't even made his wrestling debut yet. It makes the whole Brothers of Destruction canon even more confusing, which means 'Taker would probably be happier if few people, if anyone, remembered the "Kane" bit from his Survivor Series 1990 introduction.
2 Kane: Katie Vick
It's been almost 15 years since the storyline played out on WWE TV, and up to now, it's still recognized by many as the worst thing to ever be associated with Kane. It's the Katie Vick storyline, and if you still need a refresher on the storyline, it took place in 2002, when Triple H tried to make his feud with Kane personal by talking about his high school sweetheart, Katie Vick, whom a then-teenaged Kane supposedly had sex with after she got killed in a car crash. No surprises here – Vince McMahon thought that booking his future son-in-law and one of the company's top big man in a necrophilia angle would be a barrel of laughs.
It's no shock either that Vince may have been the only person to appreciate the Katie Vick angle, which culminated in Triple H humping a cheerleader mannequin in a casket while wearing a Kane mask. Fans took a hot dump on the entire angle, and we'd say Kane would also like to forget anything and everything Katie Vick-related, especially when it's his turn to look back on his career as he (presumably) gets inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
1 Undertaker: He's Just A Regular Guy Named Mark
One of The Undertaker's most defining characteristics as an in-ring performer is his relentless dedication to kayfabe. You won't see him playing video games against his younger counterparts on Xavier Woods' UpUpDownDown YouTube channel, nor would you see him dropping his facade on a late-night talk show. As far as you, the fan, should be concerned, he's the Phenom or the Deadman, and he's there to make sure all his rivals rest in peace.
However, when the cameras are off, and we have every reason to believe that they may be off until his inevitable Hall of Fame induction (or farewell match, in case he isn't retired after all), he's just plain old Mark Calaway, husband to Michelle McCool, and father to four children, three with his ex-wives, and one with the former WWE Diva. While other wrestlers are comfortable with people knowing them as regular guys and girls away from the ring, The Undertaker is as devoted as he always was to kayfabe, and we don't think things have changed, now that he appears to be (operative words: "appears to be") retired after 27 years in the WWE.