WWE Superstar Kane is one of the greatest to ever step into the squared circle. It feels weird to write that, but it’s almost impossible to disprove. He’s been a consistent part of WWE programming for almost 20 years, and in that time he’s given us some of the best storylines and greatest match moments in the industry.
When Kane, real name Glenn Jacobs, first entered the WWE it was as Dr. Isaac Yankem, the private dentist of Jerry Lawler. It was a silly gimmick that saw him wrestle Bret Hart a few times before it was ultimately scrapped.
That wasn’t the last of his terrible gimmicks however, as after Kevin Nash left the WWE for WCW, they attempted to simply replace him with another man under the same nickname, Diesel. It was an ill-conceived move, and as Nash tore up Nitro with Scott Hall, “Fake Diesel” and his buddy “Fake Razor” ultimately failed, leaving Jacobs without a gimmick and off TV yet again.
And then came Kane. Designed as the demon foil to the Deadman, the role fit Jacobs' large and imposing figure perfectly, and he became an instant hit with the fans. He went on to become a Grand Slam Champion (awarded for winning a primary, tag, secondary and tertiary championship at least once in a career), set many Royal Rumble records and become involved in some classic storylines (as well as a few stinkers, but we’ll ignore that for now. Less words devoted to Katie Vick the better).
It’s a mixture of his massive stature and athletic ability, his convincing power moves mixed with his surprising quickness, his ability to switch gimmicks and make it all work. Kane can be put into almost any storyline and work. He rarely puts on a bad match and he’s always entertaining, and that’s why he’s one of the greatest of all time. Not convinced yet?
Well, here’s 15 reasons why you should consider Kane as one of the best.
15 First Blood Match
Kane was involved in the first ever First Blood Match, and now WWE has gone PG, meaning we may never see a match like this again. A classic match at King of the Ring 1998 (though overshadowed by the Undertaker/Mankind Hell in a Cell match) against Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWE Championship. The match was concocted by Mr McMahon to ensure Stone Cold would lose the title. After all, who can tell if a masked man can bleed?
14 Rivalry with Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins was one of the few reasons to keep watching Raw during 2015, as he was consistently entertaining in the ring and on the mic as the WWE desperately tried to make Roman over in time to win the big gold by the end of the year (a plan that…almost worked). Him and Kane showed an obvious dislike for each other throughout the year, culminating in a championship rivalry for Hell in a Cell.
13 Flying Clothesline
When a small guy jumps off the top rope, it’s exciting but expected. It’s truly special when a big guy pulls off a top rope maneuver, and it’s even more special when it’s a part of their regular repertoire.
12 Surprisingly Decent Technical Wrestler
Big guys, especially in the WWE, are pigeonholed into a very specific role. From Big Show to Braun Strowman, the slow behemoths are expected to have several big powerful moves to dispatch opponents, acting more like monsters like wrestlers. And despite his athleticism, Kane has been in this role for a lot of his career.
11 Royal Rumble Performances
Kane, despite never winning a Royal Rumble, holds a few awards to do with the classic yearly match. Famously he held the record for most eliminations in a single Rumble, before Roman Reigns bested his score in the 2014 Rumble. However, Kane still has the most eliminations of all time with 44 over the course of 19 rumbles (Which is also the record for most rumbles entered). He also has the honor of knocking out the Rumble participant with the shortest time in the ring, after eliminating Santino Marella in a single second in the 2009 Rumble.
10 Inferno Match
Another classic match type inspired by Kane, with his fiery demon gimmick of a man burned alive being used as the backdrop for this flame-based match. The rules are simple – the ring is surrounded by fire, and you win when your opponent is set on fire. Kane has competed in all four of the matches that have taken place in WWE, though he’s won only once against MVP at Armageddon 2006.
9 His Unmasking
One of the coolest thing about Kane for many years was his mask. We’d seen a few luchadores and other masked wrestlers come through the WWE, but the story of a guy with a disfigured face gave Kane’s mask a certain enigmatic draw. How bad was his face beneath there?
8 Brothers of Destruction
One of the most dominating tag teams in WWE history, the Brothers of Destruction placed The Undertaker and Kane on the same side as they pursued tag gold. The two had similar but distinct move-sets, allowing them to show off their differences while using their similarities to create really exciting moments, such as when they pulled off the Double Chokeslam.
7 Team Hell No
Controversial choice putting Team Hell No above the Brothers of Destruction (and I admit to being biased with D-Bry not only being my favorite wrestler, but also retiring recently), but for my money he made a far better team with Daniel Bryan. Kane does one of his best comedic performances throughout this run, while Bryan grows from fan favorite to main eventer.
6 He’s Still Going
A lot of people often question why some wrestlers, like Big Show and even Undertaker, are still pushed to compete at their age when they should be firmly retired by now. The crowd even chants “please retire” to Big Show during most of his matches. Kane is sometimes brought up in this conversation, but not as often. Why? Because the guy can still go.
Being consistent while staying within a gimmick can be easy. You learn how to utilize your characters strengths over time, and the ability to put on a great match every week becomes second nature. But being able to do that whilst also changing the way your character works? That takes talent.
3 Rivalry with The Undertaker
Kane and The Undertaker will go down as one of the best rivalries in the history of the WWE, there is no doubt about that. A monster created to be the perfect opponent for The Phenom, Kane put on some spectacular matches with his storyline brother. Their match at WrestleMania XIV was an amazing way to cap off a year of build-up, with Kane kicking out of multiple tombstone piledrivers. Their rivalry resurfaced several times during the years, spanning from 1998 all the way to their most recent encounters during 2010.
2 The Demon's Debut
A good debut can make you, a bad one can break you. The Shockmaster in WCW debuted by falling through a wall with his sparkling Stormtrooper helmet falling off. He didn’t last. Chris Jericho interrupted The Rock and gave a typically great Jericho promo. He became one of the most decorated and celebrated heels in company history.
1 He’s Just Awesome
The Miz may constantly proclaim he’s awesome, but Kane just is. There’s so many Kane moments to list here, I doubt I can fit them all in. On an episode of Raw in 2002 he defended the Tag Championships in a TLC match singlehandedly, beating off three other teams on his own. It was his chokeslam that kept Goldberg down for the three count (though Triple H was the one that made the pin), a feat that was only achieved twice in WWE, and only once from a wrestling move rather than weapon. Do you remember when he snapped his leg into place by stamping the ground? Or his amazing Last Man Standing match against Shane McMahon at Unforgiven 2003 where he avoided Shane’s senton off the top of the titantron to pick up the victory?
Kane has been involved in so many memorable moments over the years it makes him impossible to forget, and the more you remember them, the clearer the conclusion becomes: Kane is one of the best of all time.
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