Although he made brief appearances for the company as Fake Diesel, Dr. Isaac Yankem, and Mike Unabomb, Glenn Jacobs has portrayed the character of Kane for the majority of his WWE career. Kane, as anybody familiar with the past two decades of WWE programming knows, is a psychotic pyromaniac, never far from anger or some diabolical deed. He is the illegitimate son of WWE Hall of Famer Paul Bearer and the half-brother of The Undertaker, who was responsible for a fire which tore through the family home when they were children, leaving Kane horribly disfigured. Writing it all down, it’s obvious that Kane’s is a pretty messed up story and one that would never fly in modern day WWE.
Of course, the Kane character is fictional and completely removed from who Glenn Jacobs is as a person. In reality, Jacobs is a proud family man and the father of two grown daughters with Crystal, his wife of over 20 years. He is famously passionate about politics and is rumored to be considering a run for the Knox County mayoral seat in 2018, most likely as a Republican. He is, according to dozens of wrestlers who have worked with him in the past, one of the nicest men in the business. In his time with WWE, he has amassed a collection of loyal friends both in the back and in the office. He has been a teacher to some of the younger guys on the roster and a shoulder for his contemporaries to cry on. If, as the saying goes, no man is an island as long as he has some friends, Glenn Jacobs is landlocked.
Here are 15 WWE superstars you didn’t know were Kane’s close friends.
15. Dolph Ziggler
Had Dolph Ziggler lost his match to The Miz at SmackDown’s recent No Mercy pay-per-view, his likely would have been another emotional retirement speech in which the person saying goodbye thanks Kane for everything he has done for them.
The Big Red Machine and The Showoff have forged an unlikely friendship over the years, one which had a chance to develop further earlier this year when the two were cast in the WWE Studios production Countdown.
Like most movies from WWE Studios, Countdown is a heinous piece of work which undoes a century of moving picture evolution, but it seems Kane and Ziggler managed to have some fun while filming it. Kane has gleefully recalled filming a scene in which his character attempts to shoot Ziggler in the groin.
Ziggler, like Kane, has an interest in politics and has spoken about the possibility of pursuing a career in government following his retirement from professional wrestling. The co-stars likely had some lively political debates between scenes.
14. Matt Striker
A lot of people fail to realize that Kane is a great mind. He holds a degree in English Literature from Northeast Missouri State University, so it is no surprise that he formed a close friendship with Matt Striker, who worked as a school teacher before getting involved in the wrestling business.
Kane and Striker worked together a number of times throughout the latter’s WWE career and Kane was even Matt’s final opponent before he was released from his WWE contract.
Despite the fact that Matt Striker is no longer employed by WWE, he has remained close friends with Kane and his family. Those who follow Striker on Twitter will likely have seen him interacting with Kane’s wife, Crystal, who uses the site to keep in touch with a number of current and former WWE superstars.
In WWE’s New Era, the roster is brimming with young superstars trying to make a name for themselves and many of the veterans are quietly being phased out. In fairness, this is long past due, but it does mean the older guys have to look out for each other.
In 2016, Kane and Goldust are two of the longest-tenured performers on the WWE roster and really are the last of a dying breed. They have seen it all, from the Attitude Era to the squeaky clean programming WWE has been producing for the past couple of years. They have partied hard and worked harder, often times performing through injuries of varying degrees of seriousness.
When Edge was forced to retire from in-ring competition, he gave a tear-jerking farewell speech in which he lamented the end of his career and thanked his closest friends for giving him so many happy memories during his years on the road. One of the more notable names which came up in the speech was Kane, who had been a close friend of Edge for over a decade.
Following the speech, Edge had an emotional walk through the backstage area, where he shook hands and hugged many of his co-workers as they formed a guard of honor. He found himself sharing a passionate embrace with an out of character Glenn Jacobs in what was one of the earliest examples of WWE leaving kayfabe behind.
11. Mark Henry
Like Goldust, Mark Henry is one of only a few veterans left on the WWE roster, though he has been absent from WWE television in recent weeks and months.
Kane’s friendship with Henry is very much based on age and experience. Not only have they been around the world and competed in all sorts of matches together, they have done so while both weighing over 300 pounds.
Their negative experiences as absurdly large men in a small world have brought The Big Red Machine and The World’s Strongest Man closer together than all the mutual interests in the world. The two are so close, in fact, that you could almost imagine them hugging if either man was able to fit his gargantuan arms around the other.
10. Vince McMahon
There aren’t many guys who have been loyal to Vince McMahon from the moment they signed their contract right up to the present day. Though there are a couple of performers who have been under WWE contract for longer than Kane, he deserves extra credit for his refusal to leave the company despite being stuck with a variety of ridiculous gimmicks before being given something that had any chance of succeeding. As mentioned already, he played such loathed characters as Fake Diesel and Jerry Lawler’s personal dentist.
Kane could have left WWE for the greener pastures of WCW during the Attitude Era but he refused to do so, instead opting to stay loyal to Vince McMahon and, in the long run, it did wonders for him. He was presented with the WWE World Championship, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and a plethora of other championships and accomplishments throughout his career as a regular performer.
Vince McMahon is famous for being good to those who are good to him and by this point he no doubt considers Kane a personal friend and not just another employee. Whatever is next for Glenn Jacobs in the wrestling business, he can always be sure of a job with WWE.
9. Shane McMahon
Kane has not only built up a great relationship with Vince McMahon but with the entire McMahon family. Over the years, he has grown particularly close with Shane McMahon, who has managed to become “one of the boys” despite the fact he is the boss’ son.
When Shane first began competing inside the ring, many were skeptical of his skills and few guys in the back were willing to work with him. However, Kane stepped up to the plate in 2003 and gave the younger McMahon some of the greatest matches of his career.
Their most memorable bout came at Unforgiven that year when the two squared-off in a Last Man Standing match, during which Shane dove from the TitanTron. Shane missed Kane but was successful at cementing himself as one of the most daring competitors in the history of WWE.
8. Rey Mysterio
This is one of those friendships which comes about through a mutual friend. Towards the end of Edge’s time as an active competitor, he had two close friends: Kane and the Master of the 619, Rey Mysterio. The trio would often travel together and they were all involved in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture around the same time, so they were in each other’s company almost 24/7.
At the 2010 Money in the Bank pay-per-view, Rey Mysterio put Kane, who was cashing in his just captured Money in the Bank contract, over, giving him his first world title win since he defeated “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in 1998.
This victory finally pushed Kane into the main event and made him the guy for the first time in his career. The Big Red Machine owes the resurrection of his career to Rey Mysterio’s selflessness, something which he readily admits.
7. Mick Foley
Kane and Mick Foley experienced the biggest moments of their respective careers on the same night: King of the Ring 1998. It was at this event that Kane was victorious over Steve Austin in a First Blood match for the WWE Championship. Just prior to this encounter, Mick Foley, performing as Mankind was hurled off the top of the Hell in a Cell cage by The Undertaker, flying his way straight to the Hall of Fame.
Because of this night and others like it, Kane and Mick Foley have immense respect for each other, something which their affable personalities make easy for them to express. Earlier this year, Mick even took to Facebook to honor The Big Red Machine on his 19 year anniversary with WWE.
6. Paul Bearer
It was Paul Bearer who introduced the WWE Universe to Kane back in 1997. The pasty faced mortician revealed to the world that The Undertaker had a half-brother whom he believed had been killed in a house fire when they were children. Bearer announced that Kane had, in fact, survived the blaze and was coming to the then World Wrestling Federation in order to exact revenge on his older brother.
With Paul Bearer as his mouthpiece, Kane tore through the WWF roster in the late ’90s and became a major asset to the company. Bearer and Kane would work together on and off for much of The Big Red Machine’s career, with their final pairing coming in 2012, just one year before Bearer’s death at 58.
Kane has credited Paul Bearer with turning him into a star, saying he never would have been able to develop in the ring or on the mic if he didn’t have the master manager to learn from. Alongside Bearer’s children, Kane inducted the Bearer into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014.
5. Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan, like Kane, is well-liked by pretty much everybody who has encountered him since he started out in the wrestling business in the late 90s. It is no surprise then that the two are pretty close friends outside the ring.
Bryan and Kane were involved in multiple feuds together during the former’s heartbreakingly short WWE career, but their most famous storyline saw the unlikely duo placed in a tag team dubbed Team Hell No by fans. As Team Hell No, Daniel Bryan and Kane captured the WWE Tag Team Championships, which they then held for an impressive 245 days.
In his retirement speech earlier this year, Daniel Bryan thanked Kane for the role he played in his development as a WWE superstar and referred to him as “Somebody who looks like a monster, but is the smartest man I know.”
4. The Big Show
As we saw with Daniel Bryan, nothing brings two people together in professional wrestling like being placed in a tag team. Kane and The Big Show have tagged together multiple times throughout their careers and even managed to capture the WWE Tag Team Championships. They most recently competed alongside each other in the excruciatingly protracted Authority storyline which saw fans chant “please retire” at both men, so they probably spent a couple of nights holding each other and sobbing softly.
As well as teaming with each other, Kane and The Big Show have gone one-on-one in some pretty heated encounters which have provided fans and both men with countless, though very different memories. Kane tells a story about scooping Show onto his shoulders and refusing to slam him, instead, holding him aloft for as long as he could purely to irritate the giant. There aren’t many people on the WWE roster who could get away with behaving in such a manner while in the ring with The Big Show, and it says a lot about the pair’s relationship that Show didn’t strike Kane with a Knockout Punch the moment his feet touched the ground.
3. Brie Bella
Thanks to his relationship with Daniel Bryan, Kane has had the chance to build a close friendship with Brie Bella, who is the wife of the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion and current SmackDown General Manager.
Like Kane’s friendship with Bryan, his relationship with Brie Bella seems like it really shouldn’t work. Bryan and his bride are both extremely environmentally conscious people and do all they can not to harm Mother Earth (Daniel even enthusiastically purchased a compost toilet). Kane, on the other hand, is rather to the right in his political views and associates with many people who don’t even believe global warming exists.
Still, there is no logic in professional wrestling, or relationships, for that matter. In fact, Brie Bella enjoys working with Kane so much that she once proposed a storyline which would involve her becoming pregnant and Kane being revealed as the father.
Speaking of Kane and babies, let’s get to his relationship with Amy “Lita” Dumas. Kane and Lita first began working together in an absurd storyline back in 2004, which saw her become kayfabe pregnant with Kane’s child. The baby died in the womb following an accident which may or may not have been Gene Snitsky’s fault.
Owing to Kane’s remarkable charm and ability to befriend anyone, he and Lita grew quite close during this storyline, so much so that it wouldn’t be all that surprising if it turned out Lita was actually pregnant with Kane’s baby.
After Lita’s real life affair with Edge became public knowledge and the couple didn’t have to hide their love any longer, Kane was able to enjoy being with two of his best friends at the same time. He must have felt like a child of divorce when Lita and Edge broke up.
1. The Undertaker
Mark “The Undertaker” Calaway is undoubtedly one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time and is the only figure more important to Kane’s career than Paul Bearer. The Undertaker and Kane have worked together countless times throughout the years. They have been bitter rivals, reluctant partners, and the best of friends, so they have had plenty of time to get to know each other.
As well as considering The Undertaker a close friend, Kane describes him as a teacher and credits him with the improvement of his ring psychology, which he was lacking in when he first appeared in WWE. According to Kane, ‘Taker was always looking out for him in the early days of his career and was more than willing to put him over to help establish him as a major star.
If rumors are to be believed, The Undertaker was so dedicated to making Kane a top star in WWE that at one point he suggested The Big Red Machine be the one to end his famed WrestleMania winning streak.