As noted, future WWE Hall of Famer Kane was recently a guest on the Talk Is Jericho podcast. He spoke to Chris Jericho about his character beginnings and he revealed he originally was supposed to be a one-off before Vince McMahon changed his mind.
"WWE was looking for an opponent for The Undertaker," Kane said. "They needed someone for an upcoming pay per view. I was supposed to be just one and done. Vince McMahon loved the idea so much and really got invested in it."
Kane, whose real name is Glenn Jacobs, debuted in 1997 to much fanfare and immediately captivated the audience during his rivalry with his on-screen brother The Undertaker. Kane said the reason he's considered one of the best characters in the history of professional wrestling is because of the great way the WWE hyped the character prior to his debut.
"The reason that Kane, a lot of people say that maybe Kane was one of the best in WWE history. The reason before that was because of a three to four-month buildup of the character that you never saw," Kane said. "Paul Bearer started talking about him. He had this whole backstory; this whole elaborate backstory, and then of course we got into Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels at In Your House. They had forgotten about Kane for a few weeks as he was off of people's radar. Then, in the middle of the match, here I come. It actually haunts me until this day because people would say to me, 'That's Gotta Be Kane!' Vince McMahon was doing commentary at the time and said that so I have been hearing it for the past 22 years."
According to Kane, McMahon was heavily involved in crafting the presentation for the character and he would push Kane out of his comfort zone. In McMahon's mind, he was making the character cool, which would've been unexpected by the audience members who would've expected him to be crazy.
"Kane dons the mask because he is horribly disfigured, unstable. Mentally insane and crazy, so I thought it would basically look like he had escaped from an institution. Then, I get the creative for the costume and it looked like a superhero. I had worn a cape at one time. I wore it only like once, but it was like this superhero thing and so I called Vince McMahon, which was uncomfortable because here I am, I finally get my big break and I am already complaining about it. I said to him that it would be more of what I had described," Kane said. "Vince McMahon said, 'No, the operative word for Kane is 'cool.' That was his vision. He said that he wanted Kane to be cool. He said that everybody is going to expect Kane to be crazy, but I am going to do the opposite of that. The reason why Kane dresses like that is because inside of his mind he has to make up for the disfigurement of his face by looking as cool as he possibly can."
Kane also revealed where his trademark mask originated from. He said aside from an early incident that busted him open, he never really had any issues with the mask. Kane said it never affected his breathing, but it did have a downside as wearing it led to the loss of his hair.
"The mask was actually specialized by people in New York city who do S&M stuff. It was funny because they were really nice and professional people. The mask was leather and it was molded so it was hard when I first got it. I remember one time that I had a match with someone. I gave him a powerslam and our heads hit. I looked down and there was blood on the mat. I was wondering what he was bleeding from. I didn't realize it was me. The thing was it was the little corner of the mask that was sharp. That was the only incident that I really had," he said. "The mask was really hard. It had leather [things] that held on the straps. At the time that was my real hair, which went halfway down my back. I was extremely proud of it. The thing about it was that with those brass [things]; when I pulled the hair with the straps and the [things] they would end up shredding my hair. Each time I would have to spend a half hour untangling my hair in the shower. As real as it sounds, that was really the only challenges. It never affected my breathing."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Talk Is Jericho
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.