When it comes to intimidating, dominant forces on the WWE landscape, few can rival The Brothers of Destruction. Yes, The Undertaker will go down on the shortlist for the greatest of all time, for not only his talent, but his longevity and ability to evolve over a period of decades. Kane is no slouch either, though. While his resume isn’t quite as rich at the main event level or as a world champion, he nonetheless stayed relevant across two decades-plus.
Amidst these two men’s legacies and intricate storyline histories, it can be easy to miss that they’ve each had their share of excellent matches. This article takes a look back at five matches from each of the Brothers of Destruction that have become forgotten gems.
10 The Undertaker Vs. Bret Hart, SummerSlam 1997
When wrestling fans think back to the second half of 1997 in WWE, there is plenty worth remembering. The Undertaker battled Shawn Michaels in the very first Hell in a Cell Match (which was a classic) and the following month saw the Montreal Screwjob.
SummerSlam 1997 set up the fall, though, most notably including The Undertaker dropping the WWE Championship to Bret Hart, when special guest referee Shawn Michaels counted the pin. The bout was a brilliant way of bringing the top three stars of the company together in a tangled web with all of them at each other’s throats. Accordingly, the Hart and The Undertaker delivered at the high level fans would expect of them and HBK was terrific in his conflicted heel referee role.
9 Kane Vs. Kurt Angle, SmackDown 2001
When Kurt Angle got in the ring at or around his physical prime, there was little doubt that he’d pull off a good-to-great match if he had a capable dance partner. While Kane hasn’t exactly built his legacy on great ring work, there’s a real argument that he peaked around 2001 when he still had a monster’s aura, but also enough experience to be a reliable hand.
Angle and Kane got together for a match on SmackDown the summer of 2001 that has largely been lost to the sands of time, but nonetheless reflects much of the best work of both men. That includes a surprisingly human side of The Big Red Machine when he was ultimately forced to tap out.
8 The Undertaker Vs. Batista, Survivor Series 2007
For how long The Undertaker’s WWE tenure has been, fans tend to focus on his early and late work, like his original run as a monster heel, or the latter days of his WrestleMania streak. In between those times, The Dead Man had a too often overlooked program with Batista. Yes, they had a very good match at WrestleMania 23, but they had quite a few other encounters as well.
Survivor Series 2007 saw The Animal and The Phenom clash inside Hell in a Cell. Their bruising big man chemistry carried them to another instant classic. It was the return of Edge, though, that pushed this match to the next level with a twist at the end.
7 Kane Vs. X-Pac, Armaggedon 1999
Kane had a heated issue with X-Pac, in an oddball case in which the monster face chasing after the conniving heel worked beautifully. This cage match featured the intrigue of Kane only being able to win by pin fall, while X-Pac could win by escaping the cage, adding an extra dimension of intrigue to the encounter.
In the end, Kane would win, highlighted by a clothesline off the cage and a big Tombstone to finish off his rival. The program would go on, but for this night it felt as though X-Pac had gotten what was coming to him.
6 The Undertaker Vs. Brock Lesnar, No Mercy 2002
The Undertaker’s feud with Brock Lesnar from 2014 to 2015 tends to stick out in wrestling fans’ minds. It included The Beast ending the WrestleMania streak, their SummerSlam 2015 main event, and a Hell in a Cell Match.
The Dead Man and Lesnar waged war earlier, though, during Lesnar’s original WWE run. At this stage, The Undertaker went above and beyond to put the young star on the map as a bona fide main eventer. That not least of all includes their Hell in a Cell clash. With a fun sub plot of The Phenom wearing a destructive cast—a fouled up attempt at kayfabe putting him out of action—the two staged a unique battle.
5 Kane Vs. Shane McMahon, Survivor Series 2003
In 2003, Kane lost a match to Triple H with the stipulation that he had to unmask. In a fun angle to follow, The Big Red Machine turned as monstrous as he had been since his debut, and Shane McMahon fell into his crosshairs. The speedy dare devil against the vicious big man dynamic was a lot of fun, and came to a head in this Ambulance Match.
While there are critics who will suggest Kane should have been more dominant over McMahon at this stage, the match was nonetheless an entertaining brawl in which Kane did capture the victory.
4 The Undertaker Vs. Kurt Angle, No Way Out 2006
Late 2005 to early 2006 saw WWE in flux as injuries plagued SmackDown, in particular. Kurt Angle got pulled from his heel role on Raw to become the face world champion of SmackDown, filling the void left by Batista. Accordingly, Angle did what he did best in turning in great match after great match.
Angle may have had no better outing in this era than his No Way Out bout with The Undertaker. While The Phenom may have objectively been past his physical prime, he was arguably at his peak as a worker, having added MMA-informed striking and submission holds to offense. In the end, it was Angle’s technical style that allowed him to eke out a pin while still keeping The Dead Man a very viable threat at the top of the card.
3 Kane Vs. Jeff Hardy And RVD Vs. Christian And Chris Jericho Vs. Bubba Ray And Spike Dudley, Raw 2002
Kane and The Hurricane made unlikely tag team champions in 2002, and came into an even more unlikely situation when they were forced to defend their titles against the three other top tag teams on Raw in a TLC Match. To make matters even odder, The Hurricane was out of action, meaning Kane entered the ring solo against six other men.
There were no bad TLC tag team matches in this era, and while this certainly wasn’t the greatest of the bunch, the match nonetheless lived up to the hype. Kane, in particular, acquitted himself nicely as he overcame the odds in his monster face role to hold onto the titles.
2 The Undertaker Vs. Jeff Hardy, Raw 2002
Well before WWE was prepared to go all the way with Jeff Hardy as a world champion, he got a fun one-off opportunity at the WWE Championship as a massive underdog against the Big Evil incarnation of The Undertaker. To even up the odds and give Hardy a compelling chance, this was a Ladder Match.
The bout to follow was a lot of fun with Hardy taking advantage of his speed, agility, and high flying antics to get fans to buy into a number of false finishes to suggest he might take the title. The Undertaker won, but had arguably the best title defense of this reign here, and helped establish Hardy as a future player at the top of the card.
1 Team Hell No And Ryback Vs. The Shield, TLC 2013
The Shield has become the stuff of legend after producing three bona fide main event guys in Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose. Before any of the three were stars independently, though, they made a name for themselves as a unit, routinely putting on excellent six-man tag matches. Their very first outing came against Ryback, Daniel Bryan, and Kane.
With Bryan as the work horse for the face team, Ryback and Kane held things down as big, imposing monsters for the young faction to overcome. This bout—billed as a TLC Match, though contested under unconventional rules without anything suspended over the ring—was electric. It not only got over Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns as threats, but established Team Hell No in particular as foils for them.