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Burning Desire
By: Laura Bryson - WWF Magazine January 2000

Masks - we all wear them. It is an integral part of human nature to construct different facades in order to blend into a crowd--or to protect us from hurts and betrayals inherent to social relationships.

Such guises are psychological protection--differentiating us from the animal kingdom, whose armor takes the form of physical attributes--claws, horns, stingers and shells.

Despite the savagery elemental to our own species, the most catastrophic violence is that which takes its toll on our psyche.

Kane, who has been judged by Federation Superstars and fans alike as developmentally challenged or as a sociopath, hides behind a mask of red and black. However, as time has revealed, he is not a monster dwelling behind his shield--he is a man. The only valid difference between Kane and the rest of us is that his mask just happens to be visible.

Tragic--that is the word that best describes the life Kane has led. From witnessing the fiery death of his mother, which also scarred him, Kane spent his youth locked away in a dark dungeon, isolated from the world--his own father, Paul Bearer, holding the keys.

Kane's time in the Federation has also been composed of a series of hurts and betrayals. From enduring manipulative and evil games orchestrated by his father and half-brother, Kane also learned of the harsh reality that it was the Undertaker who had purposely set the fatal fire years ago.

Federation owner Vince McMahon turned on him, as well, committing the Big Red Machine to an institution for the mentally unsound. And to finish off the path of betrayal, Chyna led Kane on, only to stab him in the back at WrestleMania.

However, Kane's relationship with X-Pac has taken a different route. He and X-Pac have seemingly developed camaraderie based on trust and affinity.However, what is significant about their alliance is what it has exposed about the man behind the mask, allowing the world to catch a glimpse of who Kane really is.

Kane is not a monster lurking behind the plate of red that hides his face. Rather, he is a human being in the truest sense. Perhaps childlike in his display of raw emotion, Kane is extremely sensitive and loyal.

But he is also mature in the face that he is able to express it. Some have argued that X-Pac "gave" Kane his heart--but the truth is that X-Pac's own demonstration of loyalty merely guided Kane to find what was always there inside of him.

Kane has taken tremendous steps this past year--he has spoken for the first time without his voice box and has defied the manipulative ways of Undertaker. Kane has stood on his own two feet, demonstrating courage and character--the most noble of human attributes. However, there is one more step Kane needs to take before he can fully come into his own--before the rest of the world will ever be convinced of his full humanity--that is to take off the mask.

Behind the mask we will not find a monster. No, we will find a man who has been able to overcome a tragic life--a man to whom all of us can look for inspiration.

But until he takes that final step he will remain trapped by the prison he has been cast into, for the fortress around his heart and soul will eventually cave in, crushing the life out of him.

Yes, Kane could turn into his worst enemy. However, a question remains--is there anything that could drive Kane back into his shell, never to surface again? He has tasted the bitter seed of the worst betrayals yet has survived--some could argue, prevailed.

But perhaps the one thing left to make or break the Big Red Machine is love.

The most powerful and compelling of emotions, love has the ability to move mountains--or destroy them. It can be the cause of the most tortuous, heart-wrenching sorrow. Yes, love just may be the key to unmasking Kane--or locking him away for the rest of his life...

Kane's mask is the embodiment of years and years of betrayal by the hands of those he should have been able to trust. But when that mask comes off--watch out world. Not because we will find a monster underneath, but because we will find--perhaps for the first time ever--a real man.