A few days ago, I was at my uncle's funeral. The man was elderly and had not been in good health for many years, but was a very kind man and great blessing to our family. Emotions ran high. Tears streamed and hugs hugged as my family said our goodbyes. Gathered in the back of the funeral parlor, my brother, my cousin, and myself spent the time contemplating the great eternal mysteries of life and death. And while this great tragedy unearthed thoughts of the deepest philosophies, we debated a quandary of the most existential nature:
Should Spongebob Squarepants be in Super Smash Bros.?
I said no, of course. Super Smash Brothers is celebration of Nintendo, putting together their colorful cast of characters to show off their abilities. There have been third party characters included, of course, but those characters have always been from games and usually had close ties with Nintendo or their products anyway. There was certainly no reason that I could see for placing an American cartoon character, with no real connection with battling anyway, My brother and cousin, however, insisted that Spongebob's goofy nature would fit in perfectly with the cartoony aspects of Nintendo's roster. There was plenty of speculation on our porous pal's antics could factor into his attacks. Summoning jellyfish, for example, or maybe blowing bubbles in the shapes of bombs.
They came up a final smash, where a stove appears and Spongebob flips Krabby Patties at his opponents. And since no character can be in Smash without his own stage, naturally Spongebob would battle inside the Krusty Krab while Squidward looks on with disdain from his cash register. Mr. Krabs and some of the other citizens of Bikini Bottom would occasionally walk by in the background.
Yeah, it was a silly conversation, and probably not the most appropriate thing to be discussing at a funeral. My brother and I have Super Smash Brothers on the brain. We just bought the latest SSB on Wii U a couple weeks ago and have been playing it ever since. We're a few months late to the party. The novelty has worn off for most people. The two of us, though, are still in the fandom daydream stage. Everyone goes through the same thing when I new one is announced. Who should be in it? What should their moves be? It goes on until slightly after the game's release, then the world moves on for a few years until the next one gets announced.
The names that get tossed around range from reasonable to bonkers. Goku gets tossed around a lot, as does Shrek, and I honestly wouldn't be surprised if my brother wasn't the first person to suggest Spongebob. Mega Man was a pretty popular request before actually being added in the most recent interation. Others get a little crazy. Anime characters especially. And of course, there's always that person who says, "WHAT? Of course Nintendo HAS to add Ranamuna Moji from Aimaina no Gemu XXVII!"
I tend to be a little more realistic. It's Smash Bros., after all, not MUGEN. A little thid party here and there is great, of course. And I certainly do my share of dreaming. That said, I don't realisitically think there should be an influx of non-Nintendo characters into SSB. But why can't we have a little fun? I've been thinking about it lately, and I've come up with a bunch of ideas for different characters. Sure, it's just fanboyish wanking that everyone does, but what is this idle chatter if not entertaining?
I've taken some inspiration from another blog I've been reading lately, Prowler64's What if _____ was a Pokemon? series. I'm going to take a page from that series and test out one of my own. Here I'll be analyzing some different characters from games and other works of fiction. Maybe this will become a series. Maybe not. Some will be more realistic, others not so much. I've picked out a rather off-beat one for our pilot episode, so I hope you enjoy.
The Big Red Machine, the Devil's Favorite Demon, one half of team Hell No and the Brother's of Destruction, it's KANE! In Smash Brothers' world of mascots and high fantasy, abstract attacks and sword weilders, what's more original than an actual professional wrestler? Classic Kane looks awesome and brings a much-needed grappling style to the series.
Kane is the brother of The Undertaker. They lived their early years in the family funeral home until a tragic fire robbed them of their parents and left Kane permanently disfigured. Kane was left to the "care" of government mental facilities, while the Undertaker was raised by Paul Bearer to become a force of darkness and eventually become one of the most dominant wrestlers in the World Wrestling Federation. This alliance would not last forever: in the mid-nineties, the two had a falling out, prompting Bearer to rescue Kane from a mental institution and bring him to WWF in order to get revenge on his brother.
Much of Kane's story has focused on the Undertaker. The two have had a very on-again, off-again relationship. They have been both bitter enemies as well as invaluable teammates on multiple different occasions throughout their careers. Kane's conflicts have not been limitted to his brother, however. The Big Red Machine has certainly made his mark on the rest of the sports entertainment world as well. He has had a history with plenty of other superstars, including but not limited to Mick Foley, D-Generation X, Triple H, Rob Van Dam, Edge, a claw machine, Mark Henry, Daniel Bryan, and more. He's also held his fair share of championships, though he has always been motivated more by causing chaos than seeking glory.
Storylines for Kane have gone up and down. His tenure in WWE has long outlasted Paul Bearer and the Undertaker. Perhaps the most significant event was Kane's unmasking. For much of Kane's career, he had hidden his face behind a mask under the guise of being disfigured. In 2003, Kane underwent a storyline in which he was publicly and permanently unmasked. Of course, since Kane's real life actor Glenn Jacobs has a perfectly normal looking face, this led to Kane becoming a generic strong bald guy for most of his run since then. Fans have been split on the quality of Kane's storylines since then, but with a couple exceptions (such as his recent team-up with Daniel Bryan) the consensus is that Kane's character hasn't quite been the same since. Despite this, Glenn Jacobs' undying loyalty to WWE and its fans have made his character retain its special place in the hearts of the WWE universe, especially those who remember his early badass years.
Kane is an enormous human being. Even in an industry built around gigantic men, he dwarfs most of his competition. Keeping with the fire theme, his outfits are typically red and black. It all combines to make him one of the most visually appealing (not to mention intimidating) people on the roster.
Any adaption of Kane would have to be based on his masked looks. The classic one is the most obviously. I personally prefer the black tanktop-style outfit that he used in the early 2000's. Any of Kane's masked outfits would work. Since a couple are just the same things with swapped colors, I don't see why there couldn't be multiple alternate outfits in Smash.
The character most similar to Kane would be Ganondorf. In fact, the inspiration behind this very article came when I was noticed that Ganondorf's side-special is extremely similar to Kane's signature move, the Chokeslam. Kane would function very similarly, being slow but powerful and fighting with his fists. Kane's Chokeslam could function the same way as Ganondorf's, or it could be used as a down throw. Another staple of Kane's arsenal that deserves representation is the Tombstone Piledriver. I can see this working similarly to Bowser's side special.
Another fixture of the Kane character is the fire motif. Kane has had a very heavy association with fire throughout his career. In addition to his signature entrance taunt (more on that in a second) early Kane would sometimes throw fireballs (in one of the worst special affects in WWE history, I might add.) This could easily transfer over to Smash in order to spice things up (hehe) and give Kane a little more variety. to a primarily close-range fighter. Certain parts of Kane's body, like his fists, could be burning to add a little visual flair (hehehe) as well.
Of all the different aspects of Kane's character, few are tied so closely as his entrance. Kane is one of the most prolific users of pyrotechnics in all of wrestling. He frequently announces his entrance with an explosion from the stage, and always lights up the arena with his awesome ring pyro. Once inside the ring, Kane will stand in the center and slowly lift his arms over this head before throwing them down, signaling pyro explosions from all four corners of the ring.
This entrance is effectively Kane's signature. More than his moves, his mask, or anything else, Kane and his pyros are inseperable. This is essential and needs to have some kind of presence in Super Smash Brothers. Fortunately, there are a number of ways it could manifest. A taunt, an entrance or winning animation, or a basic special move are all viable options. I think, though, that something as awesome as Kane's pyro deserves a bit more glory. It could function perfectly as smash attack, perhaps an up smash in the same vein as Palutena's, replacing the big blue laser things with a column of fire.
Yet another option would be to use it as Kane's Final Smash. When using it, Kane would start raising his arms in the air. During this time, the ground would start to glow on random spots around the arena, allowing opponents a short time to get out of the way. Then, when Kane throws his arms down, they erupt into guysers of fire, causing massive damage and potentially KOing anybody unfortunate enough to caught in them. There are plenty of possibilities, and it could even be used for more than one, though I'd hate to see it get over used as well. Personally, I like the Final Smash and Up Smash ideas the best.
Extremely unlikely. Then again, if you'd asked me a year ago, I'd say there was a better chance of Kane in Smash Brothers than there was of CM Punk in The Flintstones, so I guess you can't say it's impossible. WWE does have a history of branching out and getting experimental with their video games. There have been two experimental mobile games in the last year (trading card game SuperCard and MK-like fighting game Immortals, both of which were generally well recieved). Let's not forget their 2003 Twisted Metal-esque Crush Hour, either. So while the chances of WWE ever having a direct relationship with Nintendo are a million to one, I don't think it's completely unimaginable, either.
With that said, if WWE ever DID find itself in a position where a representation in Smash were a viable option, I doubt Kane would be their go to man. Far more likely would be one of the faces of the company, like current superman John Cena or the legendary Hulk Hogan. I doubt an aging tweener like Kane would be in the running. Even if they did decide to go the "dark anti-hero" route, there's no doubt that The Undertaker would be their first choice before his lesser-known little brother. Still, Kane is one of the more recognizable and well loved characters among big fans, so we can still dream.
So, have I convinced you that Kane is the perfect choice for Smash Brothers? Of course I have. How do you think he would play? Or perhaps you can think of a better WWE superstar to stand toe-to-toe with Mario and Link?
I'm thinking about turning this into a full fledged series, at least until the novelty wears off and I lose interest in the game. So if you liked this, be on the lookout for more issues of A New Challenger Approaches, where I'll discuss other characters having a chance in Smash, from the likely to the absurd. Thanks for reading!