And of all people to rescue him, it was his half-brother, The Undertaker. Taker wanted to repair the bridges, and Kane, for lack of options, took him up on his offer.
He immediately saw a benefit, as the first major show after the brothers reuniting was the 2001 Royal Rumble. And sure, Kane didn't win the match. But, with a tad of help from Taker, Kane eliminated over one third of the combatants, 11 to be exact, lasting 55 minutes, and almost won but got tossed by Steve Austin at the very end. Oh, and he almost chokeslammed Drew Carey. It's all good.
He and Taker then went after the Tag Titles, but failed to win them at No Way Out thanks to Rikishi and Haku interfering.
Then, after taking them out, the two half-brothers looked for Wrestlemania Matches. Taker got HHH, and Kane got in Big Show's face. Add in Raven and the Hardcore Title (punishment for Raven using Commish Regal's picture of the Queen Mum in a match against Chris Jericho), and Kane had his WM match.
A match he would win, becoming WWE Hardcore Champion with a big boot and then an elbow drop off the stage. Unfortunately his reign lasted a mere 2 weeks or so before he lost the belt to Rhyno.
But he had more important things to worry about, as on the following Smackdown, he and Taker won the WWF Tag Titles, and thus were able to use their new belts to challenge the new dominate faction in the WWF, the Two Man Power Trip, HHH (IC Champ) and Stone Cold Steve Austin (World Champ). Thus a tag match for all 3 belts was signed for Backlash, but alas, the fact that whoever got pinned lost his belt meant that Kane and Taker's partnership was strained, and hence when HHH pinned Kane after Vince slid in the sledgehammer, Taker was nowhere to be found, and hence the Power Trip had all the gold.
But the next show, when HHH and Kane had another match, this time a one on one chain match for the IC title, Kane proved he didn't need Taker, all he needed was Steve Austin to mess up, as a Stone Cold chair shot that hit HHH gave Kane the match and the title.
Phase 19b- Kane, IC champ!
As Taker was busy with whoever was stalking Sara, Kane was left to his own devices for a while. After bowing out of the King Of The Ring tourney thanks to Big Show, then costing Big Show his match the following week, Kane tried to help Spike Dudley out by teaming with him against his brothers, the WWF Tag Champs. Alas the déjà vu wasn't strong enough, as Kane and Spike lost.
A couple of days later on Smackdown, Kane lost the IC title to Albert.
Thus proving that Kane being left to his own devices was a bad idea. Luckily for him (in a way), something came along to give him an obvious goal to work towards.
Phase 20- Kane- Loyal Lt. General in the InVasion.
Kane, while being a deformed, mutated insane monster, did like/respect/have some affection for the WWF. After all, they paid him, they allowed him to beat people up, they allowed him to make up with his Dad and Half-Brother, they did a lot for him. Hence, when the WWF was threatened from outside by WCW and then The Alliance, he was one of the main guys, along side The Undertaker, to fight for the WWF. He was one of the men in the Inaugural Brawl, and thus was front and center to see Austin defect (or rather, would have been had he not been suplexed through the Spanish Announce Table).
So, to prove a point, Kane and Taker teamed again and destroyed Sean O'Haire and Chuck Palumbo to win the WCW Tag Titles, and then challenged the then WWF Tag Champs, Chris Kanyon and Taker's old buddy, DDP. And Kane and Taker destroyed them totally, unifying the Tag Belts and proving their dominance.
This didn't last long however, as the week before Unforgiven they lost the WWF Tag Titles to the Dudley Boyz thanks to Steve Austin, and then (after sending Kronik packing from the Invasion and almost killing Stevie Richards' career at Unforgiven) the week after losing the WCW Tag Titles to Booker T and Test.
After a couple of weeks off, Kane returned to lose to Test at No Mercy thanks to crooked refereeing. But he didn't let that get him down, and thus, he was there for the WWF, and at Survivor Series, he was one of the 5 men who defended the WWF in the Winner Takes All match, and hence, while he got eliminated a bit early, i.e. third, he still helped the WWF win, and thus should get some of the credit.
Phase 20b- Now what?
Of course, the following night everyone forgot about the Invasion, and focused more on the new Vince/Flair power struggle. Kane was a bit lost, since Taker was off doing his own thing, and Kane didn't feel that he wanted to keep teaming with him. But he liked being in a team, so he looked around, and up, and asked Big Show to team with him. Show agreed, right up until they failed to win the Tag Titles off The Dudley Boyz at Vengeance.
Thus Kane and Show began to play one-upmanship, Show hitting a bigger chokeslam, Kane tossing Big Show out of the 2002 Rumble with a slam, that sort of deal. This didn't really go anywhere, although it did lead to Kurt Angle having problems with Kane. So the two fought at Wrestlemania X8, and Kane lost thanks to a rope assisted roll up.
But then something odd happened.
Phase 20c- This is Kane?
Kane started to act…normal. For a very specific value of normal. After he was drafted to Raw, he started to act like a happy go luck wrestler, parodying Rock and Hogan just before he would team with them, in an affectionate way, you understand. It was strange, Kane was…becoming normal.
Perhaps the front office had gotten to him. Maybe, since he was once again by himself, he finally decided to try and do something about it. Or perhaps he had found the right combo of drugs. Regardless of what the cause, a couple of weeks after he began this transformation, the nWo beat him up, X-Pac beating him in a falls count anywhere match for old times sake, and then stealing his mask. Of course, he was injured, but regardless, Kane took some time off.
And in that time off, Kane's transformation continued, and when he eventually returned…my goodness.
Phase 21- "Freaks Rule!"
Kane came back the night after Summerslam 2002, when he came out to prevent the Un-Americans burning an American flag.
Well of course that's what they were gonna do. What, you think they'd burn a Nepal flag? Or a Storm Front flag?
Regardless, the fact was that this was not the same Kane as before. Now, he had a changed mask, now with an exposed mouth. His outfit was more exposed, less stuffy. And, of course, he began to talk like a normal guy. Of course, the true turning point was when he did a Kane-A-Roonie, thus signaling a very clear change in his life.
So why was this? What on earth could do this to a man? Money. Kane may be a freak, may be a monster, but he's not stupid. And at the time, Raw needed strong, marketable names and faces. And the front office really wanted Kane to be one of them. So, given the goal ("Be nicer, be more marketable"), and maybe some self delusion as to work done on his face and body, the new Kane was here to stay.
And regardless of the opinion of those who happened to like Kane as a marauding bastard of a monster, the new Happy Fun Kane seemed to be a Successful Kane. After beating the Un-Americans a few times, including at Unforgiven as captain of the American team, Kane challenged Christian and Lance Storm for the Tag Titles, him and a Mystery Partner. This turned out to be Hurricane, who defected from Smackdown, and the two won the tag belts.
Kane celebrated by thanking his ‘Kanenites', saying how Hurricane was cool for wearing a mask, and then he celebrated by kissing Terri.
Well there's no accounting for taste.
And then, a week later, Kane won the WWE IC title as well, and thus set up a meeting with HHH at No Mercy to unify the IC and the World Heavyweight Title.
And then 2 weeks after that, Kane single-handed won a 4 way TLC match to retain his Tag belts (Hurricane was injured by HHH and Flair).
And then…HHH said Katie Vick. And everything went to hell.
Well, more so than usual.
Phase 22- The dark period.
As I have said, Kane tried to keep his new Happy Go Lucky Normal Guy act up; hence he didn't reveal the truth behind Katie Vick. He let HHH go on with his guesses, while he felt the strain, losing the Tag Belts and then at No Mercy losing to HHH in the Unification match. And then, after a couple more weeks of the icky, Bischoff ended it all with a Casket match that Kane won, thanks to Shawn Michaels.
He then tried to win the title again in the first Elimination Chamber match, but failed to win that. He then shockingly lost to Batista at Armageddon thanks to Ric Flair. But this led to a chance teaming the following night.
Phase 23- Fire & Smoke
For the next night on Raw, Kane teamed with RVD against DAVE and 3 Minute Warning, and they won. Thus a partnership was born. Despite a bit of a rocky period in the 2003 Rumble (RVD trusted Kane enough to let him pick him up. Kane then obviously tossed him out of the ring), the unusual duo was solid, Kane again just happy to have some sort of goal, some sort of leadership, which allowed him to ignore the dark feelings inside him.
But the duo's quest for the tag titles was for a couple of months oddly unsuccessful, the two messing up at crucial times, and seemingly unable to work out their differences. The duo were unable to win at Wrestlemania X9 on Heat, but they did win the belts the following night on Raw.
The two defended the belts successfully against a variety of opponents, Dudleys, LOD, anyone they put up against them. But slowly and surely, Kane lost his fire, a loss to Rene Dupree the final straw in several people's eyes. Certainly Steve Austin's, who beat on Kane to try and get his fire back. Eventually Kane and RVD lost the belts at Bad Blood to La Resistance (The original Dupree/Greiner version), and then they lost their rematch the next night when Kane used a Steel Chair to get them DQed.
And that brought out Evolution. They offered Kane a spot, since…they were manipulative bastards and would like to have a monster on their side. Kane seemed interested, but ended up with a World Title shot the next night, Title vs. Mask.
A match Kane would lose.
And then Hell REALLY Broke Loose.
Phase 24- He's Back…
For when the mask came off, Kane's inner demons were released. The mask, while it changed, was always a symbol. It always allowed him to hide himself from the world. But when he lost it, he lost that barrier. And thus he preemptively fought back, and began to take out anyone and everyone he damm well liked. Eric Bischoff, RVD at Summerslam, Jim Ross (via BBQ), Linda McMahon, Shane McMahon, whoever. Regardless of the consequences, he was letting his anger flow, and after all that time bottled up, it felt good. Shane, defending his mother's honor, proved tough, given that he kept coming back despite jumper cords to the crotch, a missed Leap Of Faith in the Last Man Standing match at Unforgiven, finally ending his problems at the Survivor Series in an Ambulance match.
And the same night, he helped Vince bury The Undertaker alive. That proved to be a bad move, in the long run.
Phase 24b- He Can't Be Back, He's Dead…
Kane's logic was solid. Taker represented everything Kane had been, human, likeable, one of the people. And Kane, now that he was finally ‘himself', and letting his anger and hatred rule him, had to stop Taker from the same pits and flaws he had fallen into. But he failed to get the job done. For, after failing to win the World Title at Armageddon when HHH stole the pinfall on Goldberg after Kane chokeslammed him, Kane continued his path of destruction…
Right up until the gong sounded in the 2004 Royal Rumble.
Thus began a couple of months of mind games, and the eventual match at Wrestlemania XX, when Kane was beaten by his half-brother with his father cheering on said half-brother.
Not the finest moment in any man's life. Nor monster's.
Edge beating Kane at Backlash the following month, complete with Edge's hand in a cast, just sent him further down the spiral. And when you head down a spiral like that, you step back and take stock of your life. And you realize what it truly important. And for Kane, he realised what that was.
Phase 25- You're Having My Baby!
Kane wanted a kid. So, out of all the options on Raw, he chose Lita, possibly because of her red hair. And Kane didn't want to bother chatting and wooing Lita, he just wanted to take it. Matt Hardy, then Lita's boy, had a problem with this. Although he was denied his right to fight Kane as Kane would attack him and not give him a chance to defend himself. This then had a follow on effect, as Kane was feeling good about Lita's acceptance of having Kane's kid in order to stop Kane attacking Matt, and thus he ended up as #1 Contender for Chris Benoit's World Title.
But then he failed to beat Chris Benoit. Still, no great loss, he still had Lita. Plus he took out Shawn Michaels too. Then Matt beat Kane at Vengeance. This Kane would not let slide, and it all ended up at Summerslam 04, "Til Death Do Us Part", and Kane winning the right to marry Lita.
And such a lovely wedding it was, what with fire and Lita swearing she loved Matt Hardy and Matt getting chokeslammed off the stage and what have you. Such wonderful memories. But then, Kane's plans backfired on him. Since he wanted Lita to have his kid, and thus he married her to make sure she stuck around, that gave her the ability to sign matches. Hence, his loss to Shawn Michaels at Unforgiven was her fault.
This pissed Kane off. So the next night, he demanded a body to beat up. Eric Bischoff gave him one, some nobody named Gene Snitsky. And then…
Phase 26- Well then whose fault is it?
Snitsky's chair shot killed Lita and Kane's baby, via cause and effect. So Kane directed every single molecule of hatred towards Gene. Hence, what little tactical thinking Kane had failed him at Taboo Tuesday, and Gene won the match via crushing Kane's throat, thus taking him out for a while.
Phase 27- It's his fault now.
Kane returned at the end of the year, and quickly ended his problems with Gene via repeated and vicious head droppings, and various other beat downs. Eventually the two men settled their differences, or at the very least decided to stop butting heads, and Kane moved on. He competed in the first Money In The Bank match, but failed to win. He then came to Lita's aid as she began to like having him around as back up, helping him beat Viscera at Backlash for instance. However, this turned out to be a ruse, Lita helping Kane out in order to set him up so that her REAL man, Edge, could get a win over Kane in the Gold Rush tournament and truly clean up.
This pissed Kane off even more than he'd ever been before. (Kane's anger is like Super Sayians in Dragon Ball Z. There's always another level to find). He sank into a depression, eventually snapped out of it, beat Edge at Vengeance, then ended up Tombstoning Lita and driving off with her in an Ambulance, thus getting himself in trouble with the law. And since he had no out clause like he did last time the police had a problem with him, he had to lay low for a while, and disappeared for a bit from our screens.
Phase 28- Back again.
When he returned, he almost immediately (thanks to Taboo Tuesday's voting) won the tag titles with Big Show, defending them constantly and being the most dominate tag champs in quite a while, also being a stanch defender of Raw, since Raw had been his home since the split and had pretty much allowed him to run wild. Hence he and Show defended Raw proudly, and got several key victories over SD, until eventually the Raw vs. SD thing ended, Kane and Show lost the tag belts to the Spirit Squad, and then May 19th began to come up.
Phase 29- A date and a fake.
Someone decided to play mind games with Kane. Someone who knew him well. Quite possibly someone trained, or at least advised by Paul Bearer, which would explain why the Fake Kane who eventually showed up, in full old school costume, knew so much about Kane. Alas, whoever he was, he didn't count on Kane being dominate when he really had to. Hence, despite Fake Kane winning at Vengeance, the next night, Kane totally destroyed him.
Today, Kane seems in another one of his down times. He has lulls, when he doesn't seem to have a drive, a goal, a partner, nothing really going on. And while in the short term, that's good for everyone, really it's not. For when Kane is in a lull, he's recharging. He's recharging his hate, and his anger, and his monster tendencies. And eventually, he'll let them out…
This was not an attempt to explain Kane. That's something that's practically impossible. And while a feasible idea, a possible story has been laid out, it's probably not true. What is true, is that one has to admire Kane. All he has been through, all that pain, all that suffering, all that heartache, those few moments of joy spread across years. Despite all that…
He still gets up in the morning. And he still fights. The darkness has been trying to extinguish this light for a long time. And while it will eventually, it will not be for a long time yet. For the fire still burns. And will continue to do so for quite a while. And that is something to marvel and respect.