The lights go out. The arena goes dark. The pyro roars. The music hits. And the red glow sparkles all over the stage and in the ring. Everyone knows who comes out from behind the curtain.
That must be Kane.
“The Big Red Machine” was one of the most feared characters in all of professional wrestling at the height of the Attitude Era in WWE, then known as the World Wrestling Federation. When Kane came to the ring, the fans knew he was going to raise hell and bodies would be strewn across the apron.
Glenn Jacobs, the current mayor of Knox County, Tennessee, who is best known for his time as wrestling star Kane, debuted as the masked character in 1997’s Bad Blood after weeks of build-up and being billed as brother of The Undertaker. He was packaged as an arsonist who survived a traumatic incident involving The Undertaker, who was billed as Kane’s half-brother.
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At Bad Blood, The Undertaker took on Shawn Michaels in the first ever Hell in a Cell match. Kane made his debut that same night and ripped the cage door off its hinges to enter the ring and put the fear of God into The Undertaker and the rest of the WWE Universe.
Jacobs told Fox News Digital in a recent interview that he was “forced” to repackage himself as Kane after a handful of failed gimmicks during his first run with the company. He was initially disappointed by the character’s early ideas until he helped make it his own.
“They scared me because he was The Undertaker’s brother and you can’t ask for anything better than that. That’s literally the Holy Grail of characters in WWE,” he said. “When I first saw the character in the concept art, it kind of threw me off because it wasn’t what I had in mind for the character. It wasn’t what Undertaker had for the character and some other people I had talked to. We Everyone thought he was going to be a lot rougher and look like Michael Myers or Jason Vorhees – you know, someone who had been institutionalized and escaped or something.
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“Vince McMahon’s idea was that Kane was really hiding his failings and compensating for all the things that made him weak and all that stuff by being a superhero and the word with Kane wasn’t bad, actually, it was good . Kane to look cool and be cool. And that was one of the times I realized that Vince was a genius because he had taken a superficial psychology on our part and gone much deeper into it and into the mind of this character already deeper than I had. .”
In April 1997, Kane’s build-up with The Undertaker really began. Legendary manager Paul Bearer helped the hype when he threatened to reveal a secret the Undertaker had kept for years and later told him that Kane was alive and coming.
Jacobs explained that he knew the character would work when his music hit and fans were stunned into silence.
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“It was that moment when he came out and had that kind of reaction and really a connection with the audience because there’s that moment of silence where everyone’s trying to figure out what’s going on,” he said. “And then there was this collective. … Vince screams it over the headset, but I think everyone was already going, ‘That’s got to be Kane!'” right?
“Just to have that moment and that kind of connection, that’s when you realize… That was the first time in my career that I was like, ‘Oh, wow, this is really what it’s like to be a WWE Superstar. I knew it was going to be a big deal then. Of course, I didn’t realize that it would last for over 20 years and I would be able to do all the really cool things I could do. But I mean, again, initially knowing you were going to work with the Undertaker, you knew it was going to be successful. The question is how successful and how long it will be, how long it will continue.”
Jacobs really had to go through the nine circles of hell to make it to the top of the WWE. He was Unabomb, Isaac Yankem, DDS and was packaged as a fake Diesel after Kevin Nash left the company to join World Championship Wrestling and begin his career with the NWO.
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Jacobs told Fox News Digital that his passion for the business and doing whatever it took to make it work outweighed his frustration with the other characters not working, and that he shared a valuable life lesson.
“First of all, being a WWE superstar in any capacity is a great job. It really is,” Jacobs said. “Although I may not have been exactly what I wanted to be as creative, I’m still doing something that I really enjoyed and that not many people get the chance to do.
“And also, I realized that I could prove my worth to the company just by showing up to work every day, working hard, having a good attitude, doing the things I needed to do and eventually, hopefully, my break would come. Same thing in life, right? If you do the right things, eventually, hopefully, an opportunity will come. It doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed, but it could, and that’s always been my attitude – if I kept at it, eventually I’d get that big break. I thought it was when I first got to WWE, and of course that was a big step forward. , not exactly where I wanted to be, but still, a huge step forward.
“I think this is actually a life lesson, not just for my career, but for life in general. There are many people who have been in much worse situations than me and continue to connect and eventually have huge success. “
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The mythology of the rise of Kane and Jacobs will be chronicled in the final episode of “Biography: WWE Legends” on A&E Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT.