By Eddie McDonald, Columnist
When it comes to professional wrestling, versatility goes a long way in terms of success, growth and adaptation. Different gimmicks are trialed through until one sticks. When it comes to Glenn Jacobs, versatility has been integral for his career to blossom into what it has today.
I sometimes ask my readers topics they’d like me to discuss on the platform I’m allotted. I do this not for help doing my job, but for a sense of purpose. If I can write about something that at least one person wants to read about, that’s a win in my book. So shout out to my guy Wavy for this dope topic selection.
Now, back to Mr. Jacobs. Here is a guy who tried some things prior to WWE and then in the early stages of WWE, before finally finding his calling as Kane, the half-brother of The Undertaker. But before that, let’s take a look at his career prior to donning the Kane character.
Jacobs got his big start in Smoky Mountain Wrestling, ran by Jim Cornette, where he wrestled as Unabomb. While in SMW, Jacobs teamed up with Al Snow and the two were known as The Dynamic Duo. Jacobs later went on to win the SMW Heavyweight Championship. What really got Jacobs career a bit of a kick start was a match with then WWE Champion, The Undertaker, who would have a profound effect on Jacobs career, but more on that later.
Not long after losing to The Undertaker, Jacobs was signed by WWE. He originally continued to use the Unabomb name, before finding a little bigger role. Jacobs then transitioned to Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS, the personal, villainous dentist of Jerry “The King” Lawler. With a new henchman, Lawler would use Yankem to try and rid the WWE of his arch nemesis Bret “The Hitman” Hart. Lawler’s plan was foiled as Yankem was defeated by Hart via countout, disqualification, steel cage match and then a tag team match pitting Yankem and Lawler vs Hart and Hakushi.
In September of 1996, the WWE promoted the returns of Diesel and Razor Ramon, despite the fact that Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, who portrayed those characters respectively, bolted earlier in the year for rival WCW. Jim Ross was presented as a disgruntled employee, and he debuted Diesel and Ramon, but it wasn’t Hall and Nash. Instead it was Jacobs portraying Diesel and Rick Bognar portraying Ramon. The duo did have a tag team title opportunity, but ultimately lost to Owen Hart and The British Bulldog.
Fast forward to October of 1997 to where Jacobs debuted his new persona of Kane, by costing The Undertaker a number one contender’s match against Shawn Michaels inside Hell in a Cell at the Badd Blood pay-per-view. Now a little backstory of why this was so significant. For months, Paul Bearer claimed that The Undertaker’s little half-brother, Kane, was still alive and that he was coming. Taker did not buy this, until October 5, 1997 when a burst of Flames went off, the lighting turned red and out comes Kane, who then rips the door off the cell.
The WWE desperately needed another big man to square off with Taker and they hit a home run with the selection and Jacobs hit a grand slam with his presentation of a new character. Kane would cost his brother yet again a few months later at the Royal Rumble, interfering and assisting Michales in retaining the WWE Championship in a casket match. After the match, Kane would proceed to set the casket on fire! This would lead to the first of two WrestleMania matches between the Brothers of Destruction, a name the two would later use when teaming up together.
The half-brothers also competed in the first ever inferno match, where the ring was surrounded by flames and the only way to win was to set your opponent on fire, which Kane was the one who got the flames.
At King of the Ring 1998, Kane defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin in a first blood match to win his first WWE Championship. Now the caveat of this match was the fact that Kane wore a full body suit at all times, leaving only his arm exposed. The Undertaker came out to cost Kane the match, but did the opposite when he struck Austin in the head with a steel chair, thus busting the Rattlesnake wide open and giving the championship to Kane. The reign would be very short lived, as less than 24 hours later, Austin defeated Kane to reclaim his title.
Kane then went on to team up with Mankind, winning the Tag Team Titles twice. Then the Brothers of Destruction formed to wreak havoc on the WWE. Kane turned on his brother by aiding Austin in a buried alive match, which did not sit well with the Corporation, who then had Kane admitted into an insane asylum.
Kane didn’t speak for a while and then when he did, he used a device to help aid him. He started to develop more of a personality and then joined forces with X-Pac, winning the Tag Titles twice with him too. Kane, the demonic character, even had a love storyline, where he was dating Tori, who later turned on him and aligned with X-Pac, which sparked a feud between the two.
In 2001, Kane eliminated a then-record 11 superstars in the Royal Rumble. He also won the Hardcore Championship in a triple threat match against Raven and Big Show at WrestleMania 17. Later that summer, Kane and Taker teamed up to face DDP and Kanyon at SummerSlam inside a steel cage, where the Brothers of Destruction walked away with the WWE and WCW Tag Team Championships.
Kane would later get into a program with Triple H, and the infamous “Katie Vick” angle would be born. If you do not know about this angle, just use Google. Kane was a bit of a tag team specialist, later teaming up with RVD and won the Tag Titles yet again. After the two lost, Kane moved back to Triple H in a program for the World Title. In a match on Raw, Kane would face The Game for the title, but if Kane lost he would have to remove his mask for good. Kane did lose and had to unmask, then choke slammed RVD. In an interview with Jim Ross a week or two later, Kane ended the interview by setting JR on fire.
In part two, I will continue take a look at the versatile career of Jacobs, starting with his feud against Shane McMahon in 2003.
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