Kane has been around in WWE for 21 years, but the man who portrays The Big Red Machine, Glenn Jacobs, has been around even longer. Two years before he became Kane, Jacobs had a couple of other WWE gimmicks including being a Diesel imposter and a deranged dentist named Isaac Yankem.
Jacobs reflected back on these early, terrible gimmicks when he joined the X-Pac 1,2,360 podcast.
"Conceptually [fake Diesel] sounded pretty cool, but it just didn't take off that way and I don't think the audience really ever got behind it," stated Jacobs. "But again, for me it got me more experience and I was determined to make that succeed.
"As for the Isaac Yankem character, it didn't succeed the way I wanted it too. It was due to me, [as] with the fake Diesel character, it was the fact that it was never meant to be. But I felt I had done my part to make it as successful as I could have made it."
Jacobs' run as Yankem came in 1995-96 which was the tail end of WWE's "New Generation" era. This time period was filled with inflated gimmicks like Doink the Clown and Duke "The Dumpster" Droese, but Jacobs never found a fit as Yankem.
"[Isaac Yankem] came out in a time where WWE was shifting philosophies, where we were going from a purely PG product and getting into much more edgy and the Attitude Era was still a couple years away," said Jacobs. "But I was kinda the last of the over-the-top characters we had... Frankly, I never got into the character. I always make the pun that I couldn't sink my teeth into it [laughs].
"It wasn't me, and I couldn't make it work plus I was still pretty green at that point. I was still trying to figure out my way around through this whole thing. And here I was in WWE… and I am in the ring with these guys that I've watched on TV... You know, ' Oh gosh what am I supposed to do?' And you can't have that attitude, I mean you have to have the attitude of 'I belong here' and I didn't have it at that point. It was certainly not my favorite character but now they've made a wrestling action figure out of it so I have to like it [laughs]."
By 1997 Jacobs became Kane and still portrays the character today. The Kane character still has a semblance to when it was first introduced, but it has also evolved over the years. Jacobs credits X-Pac with helping him with that and allowing fans to see a different side of Kane.
"It was great. It helped me out tremendously," Jacobs said of teaming with X-Pac. "Because up until that point Kane had just been like an emotionless monster and what that did for me, our tag team, was it really helped round out my character because it showed that Kane has feelings and all that stuff which I never had before. It humanized me enough that people could relate much better…. And all the stuff we got to do man, it was a blast, and like you said a lot of times when you have tag teams that are bookends, having something that contrasted so much and was so unique... We could have great matches with anybody."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit X-Pac 1,2,360 with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Sources: X-Pac 1,2,360
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.