Induction: Kane, Rey, and the Burlap Bag – A demon in the sack

25 Submitted by on Thu, 20 August 2015, 20:00

Or: If a tree falls in the forest, and no one’s there to hear it, does anyone pay to watch it wrestle Glenn Jacobs?

WWE, 2008

Like most Wrestlecrap inductions, this one is about Kane, who, with seven Wrestling Observer awards for Worst Feud under his belt, is one hell of a good sport when it comes to bad storylines.


However, unlike most bad Kane feuds, which are typically over-the-top affairs involving dummies, necrophilia, weddings, and miscarriages, this one was noteworthy for its underwhelming banality, hinging on coarse fabric and lengthy exposition.


After dropping his ECW title and getting drafted to Raw, Kane was thrust into a four-way match on Raw to crown a new number-one contender for the World Title. Unfortunately, Kane lost the match and snapped at the announcers, shouting, “Is he alive or dead?” and dragging Michael Cole into the ring before assaulting Jerry Lawler. burlap02 
burlap03 So who was this “he” of unknown vital status? Vince McMahon was a strongly possibility, having recently been crushed in comical fashion by the Million Dollar Mania set… 
…but there was also a chance it was The Undertaker, and that after 18 years Kane was just now starting to comprehend his brother’s gimmick.

“Hey, I get it now!”

burlap05 The next week, Kane started toting along a small burlap bag to the ring, and conventional wisdom said that his old mask was inside it.
The “he” who was ambiguously dead was therefore the old, masked version of himself, now known as “The Demon Kane.” burlap06
burlap07 Kane continued to go on random rampages, taking out fellow wrestlers and the occasional camera man, although he did have the courtesy to scream an apology to Cole and Lawler.
And all the while, he carried that little bag around like a security blanket. burlap08
burlap09 Fans suffered through these repetitive segments consoled by the prospect of Kane donning the mask once again until the angle appeared to come to an abrupt end, with a Kane calmly informing the audience that “he’s dead.”
As it turned out, this promo was just a meaningless development in the one-man feud, as Kane was back the next week with burlap bag in hand. One man had the courage to stand up to Kane, however, and his name was Jest Harvey — I mean, Mike Adamle. burlap10
burlap11burlap11b Adamle insisted that Kane hand over his burlap bag for the sake of the children and the educational system. See, it was back-to-school season, and the Raw GM didn’t want kids imitating Kane and scaring their teachers and classmates. Remember that this was Kane, the same person who had repeatedly tried to murder his brother, raped Lita, and hooked up Shane McMahon’s testicles to a car battery, but the straw that broke the Adamle’s back was Kane’s burlap bag and the thought of kids carrying their own burlap bags in the classroom. What a way to kick off the PG Era!
All I can say is that it’s a good thing the Parents’ Television Council wasn’t still hounding the company and blaming Raw for everything from kids’ “wrestling deaths” to the Columbine massacre, lest they pin the nationwide “burlapping” epidemic on Kane and WWE as a whole. burlap12 
burlap13  Adamle, channeling (and misquoting) his idol Ronald Reagan, told Kane, “Hand me that bag” the same way the Gipper told Mikhail Gorbachev, “Tear down this wall.” And while most people would not put the surrender of a small sack on the same level of importance as the re-unification of Berlin, it would be Adamle’s biggest accomplishment as Raw General Manager.
Adamle offered to help Kane with his psychological issues and laid out the story that he and everyone watching had already figured out: that the “he” who might be dead or alive was Kane’s masked alter-ego. That would have made much more sense than any other explanation, but Creative felt that would be too predictable and apparently switched the big reveal. burlap14 
burlap15  Thus, instead of pulling his own mask out of the bag, Kane pulled out Rey Mysterio’s. See, Kane, who resented Mysterio for hiding behind a mask, had brutally beaten Rey — off camera of course.
Normally in wrestling, the beat-downs that drive feuds occur on television, where they can be viewed by fans and replayed in an effort to create interest, build tension, and promote upcoming pay-per-view matches. This time around, WWE went with the Red Green approach, where all the action happens off screen, and the characters report back to the audience about the crazy scene they *just* missed. burlap16 
burlap17  Thing is, the audience didn’t even *just* miss the alleged beating of Rey-Rey; in fact, they were about six weeks behind on the shocking news. Worse still, so were the announcers and the rest of the WWE Superstars, who never even noticed that Rey had missed six weeks’ worth of shows.
Think of how lame Shawn Michaels’s first heel turn would have been if he had just shown up on Superstars one day and said, “Oh, by the way, I threw Marty Jannetty into a window last month.” I can’t imagine it would have made for memorable television had Roddy Piper simply declared that he had smashed Jimmy Snuka with a coconut when no one was around to see it. And would anyone care about Brock Lesnar’s match with The Undertaker this Sunday if he had ended The Streak in an empty-arena dark match? burlap18 
burlap19  Plus, this beat-down took place in the parking lot at Raw (between Rey’s victory over Santino and Kane’s loss in the main event), yet no one noticed Rey lying brutally beaten as they walked to their cars. Maybe they didn’t recognize Rey without his mask, assumed it was just some fan bleeding to death on the asphalt, and went about their business.
You’d think that Kane’s attempted murder of Rey would have been caught by one of the cameras set up in the parking lot in case one wrestler tries to murder another. After all, when JBL tried to murder John Cena the week after the supposed Rey-Rey incident, multiple cameras were right on the scene to capture it in full. burlap20 
burlap21  Over the following weeks, Kane tried his best to carry a feud that basically boiled down to, “Take my word for it: this did happen.” He also had to rationalize how, when he beat up everyone in sight and maniacally asked, “Is he alive or is he dead?”, he was actually just obsessing over Rey Mysterio. First, Kane didn’t know whether Rey was alive or dead after beating him so badly. Now, Kane knew Rey was alive physically, but dead “in spirit.” Well, that doesn’t count, Kane.
Finally, Rey returned for the Unforgiven pay-per-view, showing no scars from his life-threatening beating (or his nagging biceps injury that had allowed him only one match since February), for the convoluted Championship Scramble match against four other men, including Kane.

Here, Chris Jericho scores the last pinfall on Kane to rob interim champion Batista of CM Punk’s title.


 burlap23 The feud dragged on for the next few months, with Kane getting disqualified — twice — before getting pinned by Rey in a no-holds-barred match — also twice. Once, Rey’s mask was on the line, which guaranteed a Mysterio victory, since WWE wouldn’t dare take away a popular masked man’s mystique and marketability by making him just another boring grappler.
After all, they’d learned their lesson from that unmasking debacle with Kane. What ever happened to that guy? burlap24
burlap25 Along the way, Kane and Mysterio wrestled countless tag team matches against each other, culminating in Rey beating Kane with one move to eliminate him from Survivor Series.

Despite Rey ostensibly seeking payback from the evil psychopath who had pushed him to the brink of death, every match saw the luchador do the same fancy, high-flying moves as always.


Look, I understand that it would be hard for Rey to convincingly pummel the seven-footer with his fists, but when someone tries to kill you and nearly takes away your livelihood, your revenge fantasy probably won’t involve flying head-scissors and surprise double-leg cradles.

Amidst the fan apathy toward this tiresome and nonsensical feud, there was one moment that did pique the audience’s interest.


That was when Kane appeared in a pre-taped promo wearing his old mask, just in case anyone on Creative still thought that swerving the fans and putting Kane on the losing end of a feud with a man half his size was a better idea than putting him back under the mask.

Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He also runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws. Follow him on Twitter @Art0Donnell. Email at:
25 Responses to "Induction: Kane, Rey, and the Burlap Bag – A demon in the sack"
  1. Down With OPC says:

    Is it live, or is it Memorex?

  2. Mortuary Matt says:

    “the straw that broke the Adamle’s back” ….
    I am still laughing about this and will probably quote it for life.

  3. Dan Sheldon says:

    Did you say May 19th?

  4. John C says:

    And it’s another one of those magical Kane-voluted storylines for the win. At least if they were promoting another crappy Kane movie out of this it would have some purpose. “Sack It To Me”, starring Kane as a serial killer who outwits Ace Detective Mike Adamle by leaving obvious clues to every crime and watches Adamle botch everything he does.

  5. TheDude says:

    And to this day wwe continues to misuse the fuck outta Kane. They started off so well too. So of course they followed that up with a decade of stupidity. Good ol wwe.

  6. Cameron A. says:

    I still find this angle better than Kane’s 2014 masked angle, where I guess wearing the mask swapped Kane’s corporate powers for…demon powers? I dont know; it was never explained. At least there was a POINT to the Kane/Rey angle, even if Santino Marella summarized it in one promo ( better than Kane did this entire feud.

  7. ChrisV says:

    They always botch the return to Kane’s dominate ways so quickly too.
    He was supposed to be an unstoppable monster again, yet he lost time after time to Rey.
    How was anyone supposed to take him seriously as a threat again after that start.
    I guess we’d just have to wait for he next botched return of “the demon Kane” six months later.

  8. Hulk6785 says:

    “Adamle insisted that Kane hand over his burlap bag for the sake of the children and the educational system. See, it was back-to-school season, and the Raw GM didn’t want kids imitating Kane and scaring their teachers and classmates. Remember that this was Kane, the same person who had repeatedly tried to murder his brother, raped Lita, and hooked up Shane McMahon’s testicles to a car battery, but the straw that broke the Adamle’s back was Kane’s burlap bag and the thought of kids carrying their own burlap bags in the classroom. What a way to kick off the PG Era!”

    Well, Mike Adamle was an idiot.

  9. JK Lee says:

    Man good entry for reminding of a feud that was really out of sight out of mind for even recalling it. Kudos too for the Red Green note-an episode on syndication on TV just happen to come on and talked about fights off screen to that classic opening music!

  10. Enhancement Talent II, Mark 3 says:

    A reference to The Red Green Show???? Atta boy Art!!!!
    Great induction.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I never even heard of this before, but it looks like it was hilariously terrible.

  12. Kurt says:

    The induction says this feud lasted for months and yet I do not remember one single moment from this storyline! That’s gotta be a testament to how bad it was.

  13. Doc 902714 says:

    Yup..this Rey Mysterio beatdown by Kane happened off-camera just like the infamous “fight” between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart prior to RAW in 1997 did or even Pat Patterson becoming first IC champ in a Title tournament win in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil….Gotcha!

    Kane would get his payback and finally score a few wins against Rey Mysterio two years later when he would defeat Rey for the World Title via cashing in his MITB bank briefcase just hours after winning it at the first MiTB ppv and again at SummerSlam the following month. It was somehow even lamer than this yet made more sense in theory.

  14. Adam says:

    Yeah, I either missed or forgot all of this… but it just makes that Championship Scramble match even dumber. Not only did Jericho shake off a ref stoppage-level beating, because that’s nothing compared to the Orton Kick of Doom, but Kane gets pinned twice off the same move, while in “hell monster push #13”.

    Adamle missed his shot, to send The Kane to therapy years early. At least that would have been funny-stupid.

  15. JimbobJones says:

    Burlap sacks ain’t no joke, man!!!

    When we were kids, me and my brother were having a sack race. He wasn’t wearing any shoes, and tripped in such a way that his big toenail got shoved back into his toe (and had to go to the hospital where they yanked it out — yes, this is true, and I could imagine it had to hurt like hell).

    So, your joking about burlap sacks is too soon, man. TOO… SOON…

  16. Mister Forth says:

    This angle really shows what happens when you don’t plan anything out.

  17. Jerichoholic Ninja says:

    Fantastic induction Art, lots of great jokes. I remember that Adamle promo and how ridiculous it was. Though to be fair, the reveal of him having Mysterio’s mask was a bit of a shock.

    And a Red Green reference! To be fair, descriptions do sometimes work better than seeing something in comedy. But in drama and action, if there’s an explosion you want to see it, damn it!

  18. Gotchism For Life says:

    As a Canadian living in Florida for the past 4 years, the Red Green pic made me nostalgic. Now if only I could go to Tim’s for a double double and a maple glaze.

    Anyway, I wonder what would have happened to Glen Jacobs if he stayed in Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi then moved onto Battlarts. The Kane character was good until he teamed up with X-Punk.

  19. Redsox4life says:

    At last, Freddie Prinze Jr.’s only contribution to WWE finally gets inducted.

  20. Redsox4life says:

    Got to note, this storyline had a major continuity error in that Rey was in a mini-feud with Santino Marella when Kane started carrying around the burlap sack and that was a few weeks before the “off-camera beatdown”. So what exactly was Kane holding in that sack for those first few weeks since it clearly couldn’t have been Rey’s mask?

    • Art0Donnell says:

      Rey wasn’t seen on camera after Kane started flipping out, although Santino kept talking about “Rey Mastrio” in promos.

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