I’ve been rewatching some early 21st century WWE, and I’ve reached Mania XX and the aftermath. Now obviously, knowing what ended up happening, it can be easy to second guess Benoit’s victory – but I actually wanted asked about the title defense against Kane at Badd Blood.
Kane at that point had been unmasked for about a year, and I will always say that they had a real chance with him to put him into that upper tier of psychotic monster heels right after he took the mask off. Him torturing the McMahons and the whole company seeming legit afraid he was going to murder them was great, but then they actually had Shane being competitive with him and just ruined it. However, by post-Mania XX they’ve arguably rehabilitated him as being evil incarnate with the only exception being a fear of Taker. So then they make him Benoit’s first major challenger after the pair of HHH/Michael’s triple threats.
So Benoit survives that defense but then goes on to job out to Orton at Summerslam in that disastrous babyface experiment. Kane meanwhile goes on to have a “you killed the baby I raped into Lita but then we bonded over” feud with Snitsky, which he arguably loses.
Is there any part of this they got right? Would the right call have been to put the title on Kane here as the unstoppable monster until the right babyface could slay him? Or was it all pointless since HHH was getting the title back inevitably?