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Destructive Brothers – A Brothers of Destruction Retrospective

Real first draft headline there, am I right? The first couple editions I did of this had a broader theme. The Great Khali retrospective touched on the idea that sometimes the who matters less than the how. The Motor City Machine Guns deep dive reflected my own evolution when it comes to enjoying TV sprints. Why do I want to write about the Brothers of Destruction you may be asking? They have a cool theme song. That’s about it. Kane’s intro and pyro leading into Rollin’ is probably the coolest tag team entrance ever and it makes me wanna watch their matches. Not much else to it really. Maybe I’ll learn something along the way.

Like with Khali I put out a call for great BoD (that’s shorthand for Brothers of Destruction rather than Brian O’Driscoll for all you Irish readers out there) matches on the very helpful Twitter machine:

Last time I put out a call to Twitter and after I published the article a bunch of people were like “You missed the best Khali matches!” That was the point of the Twitter open call! You snooze you lose! Anyway, Brothers of Destruction.

Undertaker and Kane vs. Animal and Droz – WWF Heat (September 6, 1998)

Well this is a little anti-climactic, isn’t it? The first televised match of one of WWE most legendary super teams was a random match on Heat. That’s nothing against Heat, C shows are awesome, but there’s not a tonne of pomp and circumstance there. Though I guess more people watched this match on Heat than any match in TNA history so what can I say really. First note: Undertaker’s Ministry era theme was absolutely incredible. They really knew how to drive home ‘Taker’s aura through his theme song alone. You could tangibly feel his presence. Shane O’Mac was a delight on commentary. Hawk interjected via phone call to announce he was going to rehab, which was one way to do that I guess. This was a strange match, it was weirdly competitive before Undertaker won with a heel hook (I think, it may have been a DQ but I’m not entirely certain). What an inauspicious start for such a legendary team.

Undertaker and Kane vs. Kurt Angle and Triple H – WWF Raw (July 17, 2000)

If the premise of this entire column is me wanting to write about an act that I like the theme song of I might as well just talk about everybody’s themes. My Time was easily Triple H’s best theme.

Wait…WAIT! The WWE Network edits out American Bad Ass. First Maven’s wonderful theme. Then DDP’s Smells Like Teen Spirit knockoff. Then Jeff Jarrett’s Chosen One WCW theme and now Rollin’. Is there no lengths WWE will go to avoid paying (probably extortionate) music licensing fees? I am very mad on the internet right now. If I get to Rollin’ and it’s not there I will be furious.

Anyway, back to the match after I was briefly distracted by theme song betrayal. I watched this mostly because it looked cool and there was a tonne of star power involved but the best part was a wild pull apart brawl between Jericho and HHH after the match. Oh well.

Undertaker and Kane vs. Taka Michinoku and Funaki – WWF Heat (February 11, 2001)

The Brothers of Destruction return to their birthplace of Heat. The first of the Twitter recommended matches. Kaientai’s promo was overdubbed with a dramatic vaguely Japanese sounding man speaking English and it was very problematic. Kaientai issued an open challenge and immediately regretted what they did. Kane killed Taka with a chokeslam but Funaki broke up the pin to prolong their suffering. That was ill-advised. Undertaker then held Funaki in the air for like ten seconds before also killing him with a Chokeslam. They then won after stereo Last Rides. This was a delight. Two big lads squashing too poor little lads way out of their depth. I like when squash matches are fun.

Undertaker and Kane vs. The Dudley Boys vs. Edge and Christian – WWF No Way Out (February 25, 2001)

THE WWE NETWORK DOESN’T EDIT OUT ROLLIN’! This whole rewatch isn’t for naught. While they were generally treated as a super team, I always preferred ‘Taker and Kane as a regular team – seeing them interact with the actual tag team division was always more fun for me. Here they faced two of the best teams of the generation in a tag team tables match, as a sort of precursor to TLC 2 at WrestleMania 17. JR said at one stage “They’ve got a taste for wood now!” and I swear he was actively trying to work sexual innuendo into his commentary. He did it too often to be an accident. This was the worst kind of tables match – the first person to put an opponent through a table would win – so it was built more around teases than anything else. Were this an elimination match of some sort it would likely have been much more fun. It was still a nifty combo of personalities, not to mention HAKU AND RIKISHI of all people interfered to take the BoD out of the match. I’d like to think in an alternate universe somewhere Undertaker and Kane vs. Haku and Rikishi was a WrestleMania 17 match.

Undertaker and Kane vs. Diamond Dallas Page and Kanyon – WWF Summerslam (August 19, 2001)

Okay…now I feel like the WWE Network is actively messing with me. Rollin’ was used for Undertaker’s theme on the Network version of No Way Out 2001 but it is then inexplicably replaced by You’re Gonna Pay. Don’t get me wrong, You’re Gonna Pay is a great theme song…but why? Why is it used in one place but edited out in another? Goddammit WWE Network. You had one job. If you wanna see the purest Undertaker and Kane entrance in all it’s wonderful, brilliant badass glory just watch the main event of the July 16, 2001 Raw. Grrr… Anyway, the whole Undertaker/DDP thing was very silly but it was entirely worth it for that initial DDP reveal where he got an absolutely ginormous reaction. The vast majority of this match was Kane and Undertaker absolutely destroying the WCW invaders. They whipped their ass every which way. Kanyon and DDP would occasionally battle back using the cage (I guess I should’ve mentioned this was a cage match) or just simply run for their lives but their respite was brief. Undertaker eventually allowed Kanyon to escape solely so he could obliterate DDP 2 on 1. It was a fitting end to a rivalry built around wife stalking. Of course Undertaker would want to kill him.

Undertaker and Kane vs. Kronik – WWF Unforgiven (September 23, 2001)

They were Kronik all right. Got ’em.

Allow me a brief interlude about Biker Taker. Biker Taker was easily my favourite incarnation of the Undertaker. He wasn’t some supernatural force of nature. He wasn’t some abstract Deadman. Nor was he some unbeatable deity. He was simply a grumpy veteran who was fed up and just wanted to ride his motorcycle and beat up some dweebs. He was grounded. He was human. And he was infinitely more compelling and versatile as a character. The legendary Undertaker character will go down as one of WWE’s greatest creations for good reason, but it was as the American Bad Ass that he was most interesting. It truly felt like his yard. Plus he had a series of absolutely kick ass theme songs. That helped too.

Undertaker and Kane vs. John Morrison and The Miz – WWECW (April 15, 2008)

After a year as a pretty regular team in 2001, the Brothers of Destruction would disappear until 2006. But who cares about that when you could watch them on WWECW instead! Miz and Morrison became the kings of ECW as The Dirt Sheet drove them to find their stride both as a team and individual performers. This was the show where Mike Adamle debuted on ECW and I am blessed. Adamle was great. Well he wasn’t, but he was amusing and that’s basically the same thing. Joey Styles was leaving to head up WWE.com. Once again I must reiterate how good the WWECW theme song was. This was a Match of Champions featuring the ECW and World Heavyweight champions vs. the tag team champs. At this stage Undertaker and Kane were used as a legacy attraction. A legendary team to roll out for very special occasions. Adamle referred to Miz and Morrison as MNM and somewhere Joey Mercury and Melina died inside. This was a really neat match, driven by a unique mix of personalities and the sheer novelty of seeing two young guns take it to a legendary team. Undertaker and Kane were just so much fun as WWE’s resident ass kickers.

Undertaker and Kane vs. Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper – WWE Survivor Series (November 22, 2015)

The most recent and likely the very last time Undertaker and Kane teamed together. The entrances alone made this worthwhile as Kane summoned his brother with fire to combat the Wyatts as a casket displaying every past incarnation of The Undertaker was suspended above the stage. 25 years of the Deadman displayed at once. The match was almost secondary, this was both a celebration and as it would turn out a last hurrah. WWE’s resident gunslingers went to war one final time and dispatched the pretenders to their throne with relative ease. The Brothers of Destruction stood shoulder to shoulder together one last time.

I guess I should try to tie this whole thing together, right? Brotherhood is a strange thing. It’s not something you choose rather something forced upon you. Some times you fight. Some times you hate each others guts. You may even try to burn or bury each other alive now and again. What’s that? Only wrestling brothers do that? Never mind then. Nonetheless there is little stronger than the bond of brothers. Through countless absolutely terrible singles matches, the Brothers of Destruction always came back together as brothers to become something significantly better than they ever were as rivals. They were better, strong, and considerably more entertaining aside one another than they ever were opposed. And if that’s not as striking a display of the intimate magic of brotherhood then I don’t know what is.

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