Glenn Jacobs On The Inception Of The Kane Character, Bret Hart, His Relationship W/ Vince McMahon & The Undertaker


On The Isaac Yankem Gimmick:

He’s a dentist [laughter]. It wasn’t my idea [laughter]. Another guy that I owe a lot to is, of course, Jim Ross. Jim Ross was on hiatus with WWE, but he was working as Cornette’s announcer. JR likes big guys and he got me a tryout with WWE, so I was super excited….within a couple of days, Cornette talks to me and says, ‘They’re gonna sign you. They want you.’ I’m thinking this is awesome and that this is exactly what I want to. I get a call and they want me to meet with Vince [McMahon] and JJ Dillon, who is the head of talent relations….I’ve never been in a limousine before so I’m thinking to myself, ‘I have made it. I’m a WWE Superstar. It doesn’t get better than this.’ They take me to the office in Stamford, CT….Vince walks in….and asks me, ‘Have you ever been afraid to go to the dentist?’ I think this is one these things where I am going through a personality test or something. I’m like, ‘No sir.’ He’s like, ‘I’ve always had this idea for a wrestling dentist: Isaac Yankem. I Yankem.’ Then he starts doing the Vince laugh…I’m sitting there trying not to react and he says, ‘I’ll think you’ll be great for it.’ Then he walks out. I’m sitting there from feeling like I was on top of the world to feeling like the world had fallen on top of me, ‘A wrestling dentist?’

On Working With Bret Hart:

The gimmick just wasn’t something I felt comfortable doing, but I had the opportunity to work with people like Bret Hart, legitimately one of the best of all time. In fact, my first match was at SummerSlam and it was against Bret. We were the semi-main event at SummerSlam and it doesn’t get any bigger than that, frankly. That was a huge deal and Bret’s always been good to me. Luckily, I think later I had much more success with the Kane character. I look back on that now and wish I had been doing Kane when Bret Hart was there in WWE. I think we would have had some killer matches and much more of those. He was always great to me and working with him was a tremendous learning experience. That’s for sure.

On Becoming The Fake Diesel:

I came home from overseas and Vince explained what they wanted to do and that I was gonna be the Fake Diesel. The concept or storyline was excellent because what happened is that JR would turn heel and he was gonna prove that he was actually the creative mind behind WWF’s success and that it could be replicated with anybody and it was gonna be me and Fake Razor [Ramon]. The problem was that JR was not really a heel character. People like him and that didn’t work very well. A lot of times when we’re looking at storylines, the concept looks great, but it just doesn’t work in reality. So much of what we do is based on if the audience accepts that and they didn’t really except this whole thing. No matter what it’s still the Fake Diesel and the Fake Razor, but at least I wasn’t a dentist anymore.

On The Inception Of The Kane Character:

I’m not sure exactly who it was because so much of what we do is a collaborative effort. The story as I understand it is this. This was right after the Kuwait trip that Big Van Vader was arrested. He was detained in Kuwait and Undertaker needed an opponent. They’re panicking because, ‘Who is Mark gonna work with at the next pay-per-view?’ So, they come up with this idea that was Kane. It wasn’t even called Kane yet. It was called Inferno, which was the character’s original name. Basically they were gonna hot shot it and they were gonna use me because physically I could match Mark’s size. They would put me under the hood and no one thought about the other characters, but then Vince was liking the idea. The story is great. You had these two brothers that were almost mythical creatures. The other one tried to kill him in the fire and all this back story they had going into that and that’s where they came up with the character Kane.

Bruce Prichard always love the name Kane. In fact, he had a son named Cain and I pitched that too, ‘You know Inferno sounds like a cartoon name. Kane, you know, Kane and Abel and all that stuff.’ When Taker first debuted at Survivor Series in ‘91, I think, he was Cain The Undertaker and he was Cain The Undertaker for two weeks and they dropped the Cain part and just called him The Undertaker. Then you had the backstory of ‘Taker’s original name and was that an homage to his brother and all that stuff? Of course, I’m thrilled because I’m gonna get to work with Undertaker. It can not get any better than that.

On How The Kane Gimmick Changed Him Personally:

Not only am I in a great spot, but like you said I have this awesome gimmick and people bought into it from the very beginning. It wasn’t one of those things where you had babyface or heel, it was just cool. It was awesome and it changed my energy and my outlook as a performer because you always have that part of you that kinda has to buy into things to be able to pull it off and I was able to buy into this.

On His Relationship With The Undertaker:

We already had a conversation two years prior when I was Isaac Yankem. That’s a lot of the reason that when I got the Fake Diesel character that it was a lot more successful because I realized what I had to do because Mark already had a conversation, but after the Kane deal it wasn’t like he ever stood up and said it, but I understood. A lot of times, again, I’d mess up and feel bad about it and the reason I’d feel bad is because I felt like I’d let him down. He had invested so much in the character. The first night I dropped him. I tombstone pile drived The Undertaker. That never happens. That made me right off the bat and anything I would do to mess that up hurt him because he had done that for me. I would go to him once and awhile and say, ‘So and so wants me to do this,’ and he’d counsel me, ‘Do whatever you want to do, but I wouldn’t do that, if I was in your spot.’ That was awesome for me.

On His Relationship With Vince McMahon:

A lot of what I’ve done even outside of WWE and outside of wrestling, with success I’ve had in other areas, is because of things that I’ve learned from him just by watching how he does things and approaches business. The thing about Vince is you really have to be at his level and you have to act like you are at that level with him. I think he always values people’s input, but you have to be confident, I guess. I’ve learned with Vince the more I’m confident about what I’m talking about and the more strongly I feel about something, the more he respects my opinions and that’s a good spot to be in. He does listen to his talents.

A lot of times, you walk in and think you’ve accomplished something and walk out like, ‘I just came out and am doing the same thing I didn’t want to do when I went in.’ A lot of times I have been able to be like, ‘This is why this is not a good idea or this is why this is a good idea,’ and he does end up listening to you because he trusts you, especially the longer you’ve been there, especially with a guy like me. He realizes i’m not in there just for me. I’m in there because I may have a different perspective than he does, but it’s still in the best interest of his company. I’m not in there just trying to do something myself. Another thing about Vince is that he’s super loyal. If you’re loyal to him, he’s going to be loyal to you.

Jacobs also opens up about his matches with Austin and why losing the WWE Championship was more memorable for him than winning. Readers may listen to all that and more HERE.

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