Kane, in his time, has been one of the coolest, craziest, and most macabre characters to have ever graced World Wrestling Entertainment. Shy of The Undertaker, the Big Red Machine has probably had the darkest of story arcs (at least when he was still engaging).
But now he has become all too soft (in more ways than one). IF it looked like there was a chance that Kane could be restored to his former glory, then this author would certainly agree that he should keep slogging through the muck that is the WWE jobber position, until things returned to the way they should be, but it is certainly too late.
A character change could work for Glenn Thomas Jacobs; he could find himself playing some sort of fun loving baby-face perhaps. But there is no future for Kane other than retirement, and below are just a few of the reasons as to why that is sadly the case. Pulling that big red machine into the back yard to rust seems to be the only way out here, lest it fall apart in the ring… which certainly has begun.
15. The Old School Is Out
There is a new school in the WWE, and it has nothing to do with the Attitude Era, unfortunately. There are very few wrestlers still working today who are from that time when the World Wrestling Federation still existed. When Kane debuted in 1997, there was an essence that came with him, and it was such that could give kids nightmares. But in spite of what the parents and the company thought: the kids wanted to be scared. The feud between Kane and Taker could only have worked if Kane frightened fans. People needed to know that there was a force that could rival that of Taker, and they needed to believe that, somehow, Taker could overcome the odds, and right wrongs, save the day, and either bring Kane to the light, or send him back to Hell. The scariest thing in the WWE today is that Goldust is somehow still trying to be relevant, and Total Divas is actually a successful television show.
14. Anger Management?
It’s understandable to have Enzo Amore taking sensitivity training (however stupid the segment ultimately was), but to have Kane: the Big Red Machine, the monster, taking anger management classes… there is nothing more that needs to be said, but all the same: to try and strip the one thing left that the character, after unmasking, talking, and re-masking could still use to make a comeback… World Wrestling Entertainment has lost its step with its most dedicated and seasoned wrestlers. There is a new attitude, but it revolves around making a mockery of everything the old school used to stand for, as if it was some embarrassing time for the company. The above segment isn’t even the only session Kane has, and by no means the most ridiculous one. He might say he’s the “Devil’s favourite demon”, but that’s certainly no longer the case. It seems to be that one should lose favour with the Devil when one decides to listen to management and try and lose the attitude.
13. A Sort Of Champion
Having held over twenty championships, this big red monster has not had the number of WWE championship runs that he deserves. Again, it’s far too late for him now, but the number of tag team belts he’s brought home really makes one think that the WWE never saw Kane in the light of a true champion. In spite of the fact that he obliterated every wrestler in his way when he started out, he had a champion title reign that lasted only one day. He did become the first wrestler to have had the World Heavyweight, ECW, and WWE championships, but he’s only ever had each once. And regarding the tag championships that he’s won… Kane should have never teamed up with anyone other than The Undertaker (which thankfully did happen for a time). To be fair, Mankind was not an unfortunate tag partner either (especially given the incredible feud between Mankind and Taker), but X-Pac, Rob Van Dam, and Daniel Bryan? Goodness no. In the words of Daniel Bryan: “No! No! No!”
12. Corporate Kane
…It is hard to not notably sigh at this point, and the article is not even near halfway through. There was a time when Kane seemingly completely gave up the ghost of his tortured, Hell-bound story… and damn near literally sent his whole career down the same road of good intentions. Technically he was a heel in this period; part of The Authority, but it was enough to lose him plenty of credibility. Handing Stephanie McMahon his mask, Kane pledged his allegiance to her and her organization (which he did in real life, being perhaps one of the most reliable wrestlers in the business, and one of the most loved), and donned a suit and tie to reinforce the pledge. After a brief stint of him interfering with matches and getting his ass kicked, Stephanie berated him, and told him to find that “Big red monster” again. So the following week, he was masked once again, and in one version or another of his black and red jumpsuit. They really needed to make up their minds with Kane, so that the next entry wouldn’t happen, but alas…
11. DJ Kurly Kane
This happened… this actually happened. DJ Kurly Kane, Daniel Bryan’s personal beat boxer. No, of course wrestlers are not often thought of as fantastic actors. Their jobs hinge on their ability to do their best impression of Days of Our Lives-style “acting”, while wearing spandex and rolling around on each other (it’s already more like a soap opera than people think). There have been times also when wrestlers had a go at music. Surely there are some who have a knack for it (after all, they are people too), but in this case, Daniel Bryan is no rapper, and Kane is certainly no beat boxer. Apart from their lack of musical talent, the fact that this segment exists, while Kane is masked… it really is a disappointment, and again loses Kane even more credibility. Having put so much effort into being a monster, the executives at the WWE throw it all away, just to have a segment that isn’t even funny. Though I guess Kane is still sort of a monster here. He does, after all, kick a dwarf towards the end of this video.
10. Just A Jobber Now
As aforementioned, Kane (or Glenn Thomas Jacobs) is certainly one of the most reliable and well loved wrestlers in the business today. The reason? Because he’s willing to do anything for the company if they think it’s the right direction to go in. And it’s clear that he’s willing to do anything. He’s willing to: lose the mask, lose the attitude, gain a voice, beat box, regain the mask, lose the mask, gain a suit, lose the suit, and regain the mask. There is seemingly nothing he will not do to help out around the company. Unfortunately, his dedication to the higher ups (who clearly haven’t much imagination when it comes to story these days) is what has made him nothing more than a jobber: a wrestler who turns up, helps other wrestlers reach the stars, then packs up and goes home with a decent cheque. If Jacobs wasn’t so damned nice… or if he didn’t have his insurance business and possible political career to think about, it is entirely likely that he would have really dished out some great ideas, rather than just accepting those of the horrible writers in the executive lounge.
9. Hell No!
Yes! There have been several poorly chosen tag team partners for Kane. Admittedly, apart from The Undertaker and Mankind, Daniel Bryan is probably the next best thing that Kane could have hoped for. RVD, X-Pac and others just weren’t popular enough by the time Kane joined them to help his career in any way. However, Daniel Bryan (though not wrestling now), continues to bring character and charisma to the company. Unfortunately, while Bryan certainly made stardom in the WWE rather quickly, in order for Kane to make the team work, he had to give up a lot of his edge… and then end up rapping, taking anger management, and getting hugs from an emotionally vulnerable Daniel Bryan. The ways in which Kane has become a mockery of what he once was is sad and revealing. What’s the revelation? It is time for Kane to take a walk. Head back home. Be with his family, and get into politics. He’ll do a good job: he’ll make all of the big wigs happy while the people lose interest. There was a reason this tag team was called “Hell no!”
8. Never Mind The Wedding… Kane In White?
The start of this story wasn’t all that bad. Kane decides he has fallen in love. That’s perfectly acceptable. Even demons should be allowed to love. Even the next step is great: having professed his love to Lita and been spurned, Kane takes the most obvious next step in their relationship— he kidnaps the “love of his life”. Going along with this tortured and villainous angle was great. It was like bringing the real Kane back, even after losing the mask. It makes one reminiscent of the abduction of Stephanie McMahon by The Undertaker all those years ago. To be fair that was for sacrifice, and not love, but it was great. It showed Taker working in cahoots with Vince, the corporate figure head of the company, but instead of conforming to the company, Taker had Vince as part of his Ministry of Darkness. A much better played story. Unfortunately, Kane then sets up a wedding, in which he wears… a white suit. Too much! Lita wears black just to spite him, and while Kane’s vows are indeed lathered with villainy, the whole segment was far too contrived and silly. Just be the true villain, steal her away, and be done with it.
7. Oh Brother…
Some of the greatest matches of all time were between Kane and The Undertaker. It was impossible to have a match between these two that wasn’t exhilarating and on fire (often literally). After their epic feud came to a close of some sort, they even teamed up. And what a devastating team they could have remained. But either way, whether fighting each other or against other, they were the pair that made World Wrestling Entertainment. Kane’s initial story was so closely tied to Taker that there’s no way he should ever have split, save to find other dark characters to play with. If Kane, unmasked as he is now, was to join the Wyatt family (at least when they were still a scary element— before they too became a joke), then there could have been an amazing Hills Have Eyes vibe to the WWE that would have made every darkened corner, of any stadium, a place to be feared. But, the writers upstairs seem to find the humour in everything… especially in things that aren’t funny, so Kane and Taker went their own ways, and yes, Taker had that bit of time when he was a biker (horrible), but he kept the “dead man” motif, and did return as classic Taker again and again. Kane has nowhere to go now… unless his brother can save him one last time.
6. Gotta Keep It PG…
Inferno matches, casket matches, buried alive matches… Hell in a cell matches. Things used to be a lot darker in the WWE. Things used to have… attitude. Now everything must be PG. Yes, there’s still plenty of sexual innuendo to be had and all manner of sexism. These things seem to be ok, but true villainy is something the company shies away from. And it is this very thing that has led to the joke that Kane is now. Abduction, rising from Hell, vengeance for the death of parents, brotherly feuds; blood, fire, brimstone, and thumbtacks… all of these made that era of wrestling entertaining. Now the storylines are soft and safe. This brings up an earlier point: fans want to be scared; they want the nightmares to come. If their heroes have nothing to save them from, then how are they heroes? People should need to be saved from the Big Red Machine. Kane should be the Devil’s favourite demon. Now that Paul Bearer is gone (since the WWE loves to use dead wrestlers as part of story arcs), it would be the perfect time for him to go off the leash, and really rip up the company (or at least it would have been perfect a few years ago when it happened). Sometimes things just need to be at least PG-13.
5. Halle Berry Gets The Call From Kane
Promoting her new film The Call, Halle Berry did a segment on Monday Night RAW. One of the announcers, David Otunga, called her, letting her know that he gave her number to someone who might call her… surprise, surprise, she gets another phone call seconds later. Who’s the caller? Kane! This is the man who used to be unable to speak (at least not without assistance). Now, the initial part of the call (given that he had been spoken for at this point and people have largely forgotten that he wasn’t able to) could be taken as creepy. Once the tension clearly breaks, it is even kind of funny. Jacobs has the timing for comedy, it seems, but Kane is the wrong character to use for comedy. To go live on the WWE, and make like Kane is just a huge fanboy of Halle Berry, even if in some sort of pretty creepy way, just loses the plot entirely. There are other, at least somewhat creepy characters on the roster who could have made this segment work just as effectively, for sure. Instead, the company feels the need to take one of the darkest characters (if taken seriously), and make a joke out of him.
4. He Speaks… And Without The Electrolarynx
When Kane debuted, he didn’t talk. Not at all. He would stand there, and then would devastate everything around him by either beating people up, or lighting them, and everything else, on fire. The only way he would speak, at first, was either through violence, or through The Undertaker’s former manager, Paul Bearer. This made the plot between these two incredible characters absolutely electric. Paul turning on the one brother to support the other in his effort to kill… breathtaking. The family feud angle can’t be praised enough with this pair. Regardless, Kane eventually found himself an electrolarynx, which was a tiny device that he would hold to his throat, click on, and it would create a rather synthetic voice to play through the sound system. It was a cool angle to make him able to speak without compromising his character. It really was. But then, once he as unmasked, and it became clear that everything about his backstory was clear bullshit (or at least that the writers didn’t feel they needed to even pay it lip service), somehow Kane was just able to speak. Now to be fair, his voice can be made to be wonderfully creepy and terrifying, but without explanation as to how he can suddenly speak… nothing can be done to rectify the situation.
3. Scooby Doo, Where Are You?
Alright, it’s true that The Undertaker has also featured on Scooby Doo before, and might think that would detract from his character somewhat, but the show is about ghosts and mystery, and Undertaker is the “dead man”. One would think that the same sort of angle would work for Kane, however that is not the case by any means. Taker didn’t need the cartoon to keep him relevant (he’s still one of the most popular wrestlers today, and he only wrestles once or twice per year). Kane, on the other hand, seemingly needed to have this bit of promotional push to gain favour with kids (so they knew just who the Hell he was). It makes sense that John Cena is there because kids love him (even if no one else does), and Sin Cara is the requisite minority (since he’s not used for much else in the ring), but Kane actually needed this gig to continue to be relevant. And surprise, surprise, he is in no way frightening. Sure Shaggy and Scooby are afraid of everything, but in comparison to some of the “ghosts and ghouls” the Mystery Machine has come across, the Big Red Machine isn’t even in the contest for scariest monster.
2. Unmasked And Unscathed
Part of the big storyline with Kane and Taker was that Taker was responsible for the fire that killed their parents (and so far as Taker knew, his brother as well). This made the revenge plot for Kane, having come from the fires of Hell, an amazing story arc to follow. It was gripping, and engaging. The unmasking of Kane, in spite of the silly storyline surrounding it, could have been an amazing plot point as well, but it was overwhelmingly disappointing. Again, part of Kane and Taker’s story is that Kane has been horribly burned. This is the reason for the red jump suit, black gloves, and mask. So once unmasked, one should expect something rather grotesque and perhaps out of A Nightmare On Elm Street. What fans got instead was a relatively unattractive man, with a bunch of makeup around his eyes. Now fans knew that he wasn’t truly burned, and that, when still wearing the mask, the black around his contact-filled eyes, was nothing more than makeup. But that being said, hire a makeup artist to do some prosthetic burn makeup. There are ways of making it stick, even during a match, and the rampage that ensued after being unmasked that included setting Jim Ross on fire, and tombstoning Linda McMahon would have been far more frightening. If they made Kane a mix of characters from Wes Craven filmography, he would still be a fan favourite today.
1. How Did It Come To This?
Oh look, he still has the dark makeup, at least under his eyes, if not all the way around them. A pointless homage to what Kane used to be. Regardless, the above promo photo is not quite to scale. Shane McMahon is just over six feet tall. Kane, on the other hand, is billed at seven feet tall. He used to be called the Big Red Machine, and the Big Red Monster. Then, for some reason, he was put against Shane McMahon in an ambulance match. That’s all well and good. It’s nice that Shane stood up for his mommy getting pummelled by Kane. That makes sense. However, that match should have lasted maybe five minutes, and only because Kane took his time to hurt Shane more than he needed to. There is no contest in terms of physicality between these two men. Shane, at the time, was light and high flying, and Kane was… a monster! The only way the little upstart should have been able to pull off a thirty-minute match, is if he had his posse come and try and help him, as Kane took them all to task. The fact that the match happened is justified, but the time it took… Kane no longer has any credibility. Jacobs is a great jobber, and should remain, with a new character, but Kane needs to be retired before more harm is done to his memory.