Why Kane is one of the all-time greats in WWE:
According to one of my friends, WWE recently released a t-shirt which reads “KANE: The Devil’s favorite demon but nobody’s favorite wrestler”. The shirt turned out to be a joke, but it sent home the numbing realization that Kane has been one of the most overlooked, underrated WWE talents in modern history. In this article, I will offer up 7 reasons which, to me, summarize why Kane could and should be considered one of the true greats of his generation.
1) Intriguing gimmick
Since 1997, Kane’s gimmick has been one of the most fascinating and captivating aspects to WWE programming. When you look back through the annals of Kane’s history, you are reminded of moments which took your breath away, and of his involvement in WWE’s attitude era. The Undertaker’s casket being set on fire, Pete Rose being tombstoned, and the electrocution of Shane McMahon’s testicles really begin to paint a picture of some of the crazy things that Kane has been involved in down the years. Such moments should not be taken lightly, as they are the essence of what has been a stellar career, and have helped to transform a simple gimmick into a hall of fame-worthy career.
Perhaps the biggest reason why Kane is one of WWE’s many success stories is down to his versatility both as a character and as a performer. There were times when Kane could send shivers down your spine witnessing his demented behavior, fiery entrances or spectacular rivalries, and there were times when Kane could have you in hysterics, watching him argue and bicker with Daniel Bryan, Goldust and The Hurricane. These traits are not to be taken for granted. It is an extremely impressive quality as a performer to be able to make somebody laugh and fear you, and have the ability to retain your intrigue and credibility as a wrestler.
3) Willingness to elevate others
Kane was never going to be the biggest star in the WWE. His arrival in WWE as the younger brother of an already-established main event caliber superstar presented something of a glass ceiling for The Big Red Machine. In a career spanning almost two decades, nobody has put over more stars, both future and current than Kane. NOBODY. Whether it was Orton and Batista as part of Evolution in 2002, Umaga & MVP in 2006, or Bray Wyatt in 2013, no talent on the roster can say that they have helped to elevate those around them more so than Glenn Jacobs can.
4) Constant re-invention
Kane’s look and attitude has changed over the years, a LOT. From masked, to unmasked, corporate to demon, our resident monster has always found ways to re-invent himself and fit in with the product at the time. During the attitude era, Kane was associated with fire and the obsession of destroying his older brother once and for all. In the ruthless aggression era, a newly-unmasked Kane wanted desperately to set his foes on fire, with RVD and JR being two of his more unfortunate victims, and in the PG era, Kane’s run with Daniel Bryan was not only hilarious but created one of the most successful and beloved dynamics in modern wrestling. Whether you liked it or you didn’t, you cannot deny the stages of development that the Kane character has experienced over the years. And on a side note, how cool would it have been to see paperwork shootout of the ring posts instead of fire during his Corporate Kane stint?
5) A legacy away from The Undertaker
It takes real talent, a lot of time and effort, and hard work to break away from the greatest wrestler of all time, The Undertaker, and forge a legacy on your own. Kane will of course always be known as Taker’s half-brother, but is that ALL he represents? Definitely not. An 11-time tag team champion, who made fans laugh at him and fear him has brought more to the table in the last 17 years than almost anybody. His feuds with Edge, Triple H & Shane McMahon took Kane to another level, and helped to keep his character fresh and interesting. Kane could have been introduced and gotten rid of after one simple storyline with his brother, but WWE kept him around, and he was allowed to flourish.
6) Excellent as a heel or a babyface
Whether you are a Kane fan or not, all of you will be able to recall at least one thing the man did that entertained you. Kane’s multiple runs through the years as a monster heel were rooted deeply to the development of his character, but his work as babyface, individual or as part of a tag team were equally compelling. I truly believe that the Kane character is a face character at its foundation. I think this because fans can sympathise with and support a man that has psychological problems if they know what caused them. The back-story behind Kane provided fans with insight into his character, and whether he was a heel or a face, we all secretly wanted to root for him as we wanted somebody so scarred to finally be happy and at peace.
7) Spotless record outside of wrestling
Allow me to throw some names up in the air & I want you, the reader, to try to guess the relevance of each one; Kurt Angle, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and Jeff Hardy. If you thought ‘World Champion’ was the link I was after you were wrong. Each of these men reek of controversy and tarnished reputations. Arrests, drugs & various other scandals have diminished fan support for each of these men over the years. On the other hand, Kane is somebody that you will not find a bad thing written or said about. In no shoot interview has anybody had bad things to say about Glenn Jacobs, and in no online report will you read about Jacobs becoming involved in any kind of backstage heat or controversy. This alone is a credit to him as a man and an employee to a company that he has served so admirably for so many years.
Despite his present work not being of the high standards that he himself set in years past, I feel it is important to recognize one of the most intriguing careers in WWE history, and to respect and appreciate a man who could well be heading for retirement this year. Thank you Kane.
Are you a fan of Kane? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised. Follow me on Twitter @OliverNorgrove