Complete Transcript of The Broken Skull Sessions With Kane! This special is now available on-demand on the WWE Network.
This transcript is for the folks who don’t have the WWE Network. It’s a lengthy piece, I understand that, but it’s for the people who don’t have the time to watch the special or don’t have the Network in general.
The Rattle Snake and The Devil’s Favorite Demon talk about the following topics (Kane’s upbringing, Working in USWA/Puerto Rico, Dutch Mantell Stories, The Isaac Yankem/Fake Diesel Characters, The creation behind the Kane character, Kane’s historic rivalry with The Undertaker, His first blood match with Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Brothers Of Destruction, Tag Team Wrestling, Paul Bearer, Removing his mask in 2003, Team Hell No, His Segment with The Rock and Hulk Hogan. Finally, his long rivalry with Pete Rose)
Steve Austin: Hey, I’m Stone Cold Steve Austin and welcome to The Broken Skull Sessions. Today my guest on the show is one of the biggest, baddest, most intimidating men I have ever stepped in the ring with. He’s also one of the nicest human beings i’ve ever met. Today my guest is Glenn Jacobs, Mayor of Knox County, Tennessee. Also known as Kane. Glenn Jacobs, how are you?
Kane: Hey, Steve, how are you? I appreciate you having me on. Thank you.
Steve Austin: I appreciate you coming all the way out here.
Kane: Yes, sir, absolutely.
Steve Austin: You have been busy.
Kane: I have been pretty busy actually.
Steve Austin: You’re the Mayor of Knox County. Congrats
Kane: Thanks, man. I appreciate that.
Steve Austin: What possessed you to run for mayor?
Kane: Just trying to make a positive impact on my community. I have always been a little bit interested in government and politics. And it’s something I wanted to do. It’s literally one of those things where I woke up one day and got to thinking to myself, that’d be pretty cool if I did that.
Steve Austin: I was reading your book. I want to pick this book up right here. Check that out. Mayor Kane, I don’t read a whole lot of books, but I really enjoyed this read. What I enjoyed about it is, first of all, your story inside the squared circle and your travels. But also just the life lessons about you living the american dream and about being in america, the greatest country in the world. You sum up the american dream.
Kane: It’s simply the ability, the freedom to create the life you want to create. Like you, I played college football. I had a knee injury that ended my football career. Was struggling figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. I had always been a fan of wrestling and figured I had a skillset that I could be successful with. Got into it and thought, wow, this is a gift that I have. I was able to utilize that and live a life that I never thought I’d be able to do.
Steve Austin: Hey, man, the thing about this book — this is my last — it’s not a plug, it’s the real deal. What I liked about the book was a great story of everything that you accomplished in the business and all the hardships you overcame and taking advantage of opportunities that came upon you. But also the life lessons in there. If you ain’t a wrestling fan, I still recommend this book. It’s not a motivational book, but it’s just the way you look at life. I don’t know if it’s a deal because maybe your upbringing with your parents and when your dad was in the navy and in the air force. Not too many guys, you know, have a career in two of the armed forces. So I mean you would say that would be a starting point of how you were raised?
Kane: I think that’s part of it. My parents always taught us that we could pretty much do whatever we wanted to do. It was just a matter of not quitting when things got tough, you know. Just like everyone else, when I was a kid we went through a pretty tough time. I grew up in the 70s and the economy wasn’t roaring like it is today or any of those things. And we just kept going. My parents were very good about encouraging. Any time you had a setback, there’s always tomorrow, right.
Steve Austin: Hey, man, let’s jump into pro wrestling because you grew up outside the St. Louis area. So you grew up watching some good stuff. It’s not like you had your eyesight set up on, hey, i’m going to be a pro wrestler. But you saw some good action wrestling back in the day.
Kane: Sure did, man. Grew up outside of a town of about 300 people in northeast Missouri. If the wind was blowing right, we didn’t have cable. So if the wind wasn’t blowing right on a Saturday night, I got to watch All Star Wrestling out of Kansas City. So you had people like Bulldog Bob Brown, Ray Candy, Bruiser Bob Sweetan. Every once in awhile, Harley Race would come through. Once a month though, we’d go down to visit my grandmother on a weekend down in St. Louis. Had wrestling at The Chase. That was the best show in the country at the time.
Flair would come later, but he had Fritz Von Erich and Harley was there and all these different big names. I’ll never forget, I was a little kid watching tv and Baron Von Raschke comes on and they were doing this interview. He was a pretty intimidating dude, man. The interviewer would ask a question and Von Raschke says The Claw, The Claw will get them all. I’m like, dude, I am out. I turned the tv off. That was the end of my day that day. But yeah, I got to watch that. And then, of course, growing up when I got to my friends’ house and they’d have cable, we’d watch NWA and WWE, you know, and all that stuff. Yeah, it was a great time.
Steve Austin: So you mentioned you had a football injury. You are playing some basketball, but, all of a sudden, because of your physicality they said hey, maybe this kid should play football. Then you really started attacking the weights as well. Blow the knee out, it’s time to move on. And, all of a sudden, you think, hey, maybe i’ll give pro wrestling a try. Talk about getting into the business.
Kane: So, Hogan was at the apex, right. I’ll never forget, the first actual match, like the big-time match I went to, first WWE match at The Checker Dome in St. Louis. And Hogan came out and the music played. The roof blew off the place. I had never seen anything like that. So I said that’s what I want to do. I found a local group that was willing to train me and my buddy, Mark. And I mean it was extremely rudimentary.
In fact, my first lessons were in a ring that was set up in a hay loft of the promoter’s barn. And basically they taught you how to fall down a little bit. But that was where you started, at least where I did. Then I went down for a few months and Jeff Jarrett was having some classes outside of Nashville. So I went down there and learned a little more. Got hooked up with USWA. Eventually I went to the Malenko School of Wrestling.
Steve Austin: But when you say Boris Malenko, i’m thinking because Dean was such a hell of a hand, the man of a thousand holds — i’m thinking scientific stuff. And here you are, 6’8, 7-foot on television frame. What was the work like or what did he really teach you about the business that you needed to know? Because you were already in, but your training wasn’t up to snuff.
Kane: Exactly. They started all the way from zero. You got into more of the psychology, but the interesting thing about pro wrestling is you don’t learn until you get in front of people. And that’s when you start understanding the psychology and understanding how to get that reaction out of folks.
Steve Austin: It’s the best on the job training there is.
Kane: It is. And nothing can replace that, no sort of training can replace that.
Steve Austin: You are over here in the United States and you drove your — I didn’t know you were a car guy. You drove your Dodge Diplomat all the way down there. Did it make it in one piece?
Kane: It did. The whole way I was just saying, get to Tampa. I had to get from St. Louis to Tampa. It was a 12-hour drive or whatever. Yeah. And drove all the way across there. That thing actually stuck with me for about another three or four years.
Steve Austin: God dang, when I showed up in the USWA, I was driving an ’88 Hyundai Excel. And my payments were $154 a month. My brother cosigned on it and I couldn’t let it get repossessed. When you’re making $15, $20 a night, it damn near got repossessed a couple of times. Nonetheless, back to you. You ended up going down to Puerto Rico because I guess you had crossed paths with Dutch Mantell somewhere along the line. There’s a real good story in the book about heat as it goes with Dutch Mantell because he was the hottest heel in the territory. Y’all had done some dastardly things to the top babyface. In Puerto Rico, although I’ve never been, I have read a lot about it. They take their wrestling real serious down there, especially between the good guys and bad guys. If they love you, that heel was in trouble. Which is a good thing. But I always heard that they had a wire cage or something over there because they are throwing spot plugs, rocks, cups of piss. Tell the story.
Kane: Dutch has a big match. He was brilliant at booking that territory. He knew exactly psychology. He would have a loose faction, a stable of heels that kind of worked together, but they weren’t all part of the same thing. It was called, La Familia. Dutch was champion and he just turned Hurricane Castillo Jr, babyface. Dutch had beat him up that morning on TV. So, Hurricane is out of the picture, right. So Dutch is having a match with Rey Gonzalez, who was another one of the top babyfaces. The deal was if Rey won the match, Dutch’s manager was in a cage and the cage would be let down and Rey could have a match with the manager, right. Well, they end up, the manager slips Dutch steel knucks and he knocks Rey out and he wins the match. They get heat on beating Rey up. Just beating the crap out of him. The roof blows out. I’m like, what is going on? Here comes Hurricane Castillo limping through the crowd. The thing was in Puerto Rico when you punch someone, wooo, the whole place will do that. And they are woo, woo, woo.
Steve Austin: Boy, when you’re getting that feedback, you’re on fire.
Kane: So Dutch takes off. As he comes back to the locker room, he gets tripped coming around the corner and hits the side of a bleacher and cuts his eye like all the way around. Well, by this time the whole place has gone nuts. And I remember they had these security guards, they weighed about a buck 50. I get Dutch in the locker room and I look out again. The security guard has got his jacket pulled up over his head like in a hockey fight, just getting pummeled. So I pull the security guard into our locker room to save him. Two of the other guys were in the ring with Dutch’s Manager. They were stuck. I mean you couldn’t get out to them, right. They were out there about 10 minutes and then the SWAT Team showed up. It was the real deal, you know. And Dutch is over there. I think he had like 14 stitches in his eye. It was a hairy night.
Steve Austin: Those were the days. When you get that kind of heat, that’s money drawing heat. That’s when you get people to pay money for tickets because they want the good guy to whip that ass. You came back from Puerto Rico and you have a long history with Jim Cornette. Cornette has always been good to me with advice and stuff like that. You were working there as The Unabomb. Now, it’s not any association with The Unabomber.
Kane: No. Cornette thought the name was cool.
Steve Austin: I was just talking to him just the other day. Dude, I thought your work when you got to Smokey Mountain was really good.
Kane: I was really fortunate.
Steve Austin: I have heard you speak of your work and you said you didn’t really kind your gears until Fake Diesel and we’re going to get there. But Taker comes down there and you guys have a match in ’95. That was a damn strong match.
Kane: This is a really good match. Taker even back then was always really good to me. We got along really well.
Steve Austin: Maybe that was a test or he goes back and says hey, I can make some money with this guy. But nonetheless, that physical matchup, there’s not a whole lot of opponents in WWE for a guy like Undertaker or a guy like yourself. So it was a match made in heaven. All of a sudden, you get a phone call and you think okay. And then they hit you with Isaac Yankem and you’re from Decatur, Illinois. Even in the paper, they explain Decatur, you get it? The whole thing, it’s almost like the ring master. I have had my bad gimmicks before as well. When you got that news, were you just like are you kidding me?
Kane: Yes. I flown up to New York to go to Stamford and JJ Dillion was still head of talent relations and I have this meeting with Vince. Vince asked me if I was ever afraid to go to the dentist? I hear all this stuff about Vince and how he’s going to get in your head. Im sitting there, why is he asking me that? I’m going through this kind of checklist of stuff trying to figure out what is going on and I said no. And then he says good, because I have always wanted to do this character. Isaac Yankem, a wresting dentist, get it? I Yank ‘Em. Then he did the Vince laugh, the first time I ever heard it. Of course you heard the Vince laugh too, right? Like this is going to be great. I had never been so happy in my life. And then I had never been so distraught either. I was way up here, oh, that’s great. How am I going to do that, right? I remember just flying back home thinking, how in the world am I going to pull that off? And I talked to Cornette about it. I was like, man. Jim was like they’ll figure something out. A couple of months later, he’s like have you talked to Bruce Prichard or Vince? I’m like no, I haven’t. He’s like well, yeah it’s going to be the dentist. I was like, man. We were doing the vignettes and they show me the outfit and my name is spelled out in teeth and I hear the music. Everybody else gets hard rock music and i’m sitting here with a dental drill.
Steve Austin: You come and debut, you know, as Isaac Yankem with Bret. And you are working a hell of a match with him as well. I thought your work was really good.
Kane: I didn’t have any confidence. I just didn’t.
Steve Austin: Was it because of the gimmick?
Kane: It was because of the gimmick and then also, man, I was watching Bret Hart on TV. I’m watching The Undertaker on TV. I’m watching all of these guys like, man, and you get out there and I just wasn’t prepared for that. That gimmick took a lot of wind out of my sails as far as I didn’t know what to do, how do you do it. Yes, how do you do that?
Steve Austin: How do you do that? I remember watching
Kane: That had been something when Vince — and I heard it was Bobby Heenan’s idea of the wrestling dentist, but Vince was very invested. That was one of those things he thought was going to be a great character. And you also have to remember the time frame we’re looking at. Everything was extremely PG and it was kind of cartoonish at that point. So that’s something that he had wanted to do for a long time. Vince wanted it to be successful. It’s just something I couldn’t sink my teeth into it.
Steve Austin: Well, I remember watching this because I wasn’t in WWE then. But I remember watching it like, man, this dude is big and he’s bad and he’s scary. But I just don’t like the gimmick. The gimmick wasn’t good, but it was a foot in the door. That’s what you have always said. Make the most of an opportunity. Before we get to the next opportunity, which wasn’t a good one — before we get to the ultimate opportunity, I’ve got to take you over to Kuwait. Because I had Taker in here and we were talking. I didn’t realize this, but just kind of reading about you, you were on that trip to Kuwait where all the shenanigans were going on. Big Van Vader no longer with us, god rest his soul. Really nice guy and a great big man. So he goes over there and gets in trouble. And they detain him. He was on a talk show with Taker. Whatever happens, happens. And so that was a reason to say hey, man, we need somebody for Taker.
Kane: Yeah. Leon was working with Taker And they needed an opponent for the next PPV for Mark. And it was supposed to be Leon. That’s what I have always heard anyway from like Bruce and Cornette. That was kind of the impetus behind the idea of Kane. When they presented it to Vince and put me under a mask, so they wouldn’t know who I was and all that, when they presented it to Vince, he liked the story so much, he was like why are we going to waste it on one match? And that’s when you get the whole back story and all that stuff.
Steve Austin: Well, Fake Diesel, let’s just write that off because it was what it was, right?
Kane: Yeah, it was another step in the right direction.
Steve Austin: I mean dude, you were committed. You are trying your ass off. Ain’t for a lack of effort.
Kane: No, but what the Isaac Yankem character did is actually allowed me to show I could work as the Fake Diesel character. Because I got over the stuff of being intimidated and my confidence came back. I tried to pull that off. I think at this point, too, Vince realized the kid has got some talent and he’s willing to go out there and try. So it kept me in the game.
Steve Austin: That’s interesting. That’s one of the things that, when Vince gets a chance to understand you or say, hey, man, this guys is not a flake, he’s always going to be on time and he’s dependable. Dude, if you are willing to be Isaac Yankem and be Fake Diesel, pretty good kid. So I mean that lets you know, I mean attitude has a whole lot to do. And i’m not talking about the attitude era, but the aptitude to do things, says to Vince here’s a guy I want to put some chips in and invest in. Do you agree with that? You can come in there with the coolest look and this that and whatever, but if you are a flake and you ain’t dependable, you are gone.
Kane: You have seen it. I have seen it. They have the rocket and they are strapped to it going to the moon and they start acting the wrong way. That becomes very premature and all that ends. I have seen that time and again.
Steve Austin: And there’s always another one around the corner to take your spot.
Kane: There is. There’s gonna be a thousand people that want your spot. So do the right thing, be professional. That’s absolutely right.
Steve Austin: Let’s talk about Kane. How was that idea presented to you? This is one of the greatest gimmicks of all time.
Kane: It was actually I think a phone call. It was either Cornette or Bruce. It was one of those things you know as soon as you hear something that’s money, right? Because we’re going to put you with The Undertaker. Basically, you’re his brother, so you’re going to be equals to the Undertaker. And how much better can it get than that? So, that’s how it was broken to me. And then over the next several months, of course, had all the different things and stuff that you do. And just that process.
Steve Austin: So talk about the costume and the mask.
Kane: Yeah. So, I went to Binghamton, New York and they were having whatever TV taping that it was. I thought it was going to be like an escape from a mental institution, kind of the Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers look. I get that, right. The SuperHero. And I call Mark and I’m like, dude, this is not at all what I envisioned. He’s like not me either. Why don’t you call Vince and see where his mind is at? So I talked to Vince. And I still didn’t have one of those relationships where I felt like I could call Vince on the phone. I felt it was really important. So I call him and I explain my position.
Steve Austin: And that’s hard when you have been there yet and you are still working on the relationship and you’re trying to repitch the idea that he’s gifted on you. So you are second guessing him, but it’s your concerns. You’ve got to be the guy.
Kane: It is. And he appreciated that. That’s what he said. Very respectfully, of course, because I was just flabbergasted that they would give me this kind of opportunity. But then what Vince explained to me me caused me to realize he’s a genius because he said yeah, we could do that. He’s like it would be fine. He said he would have done that type of stuff before. He’s like what you have to understand about Kane is he’s trying to make up for these inadequacies. So, that’s why he dresses like a superhero because he’s mentally all messed up. And that’s what’s the really messed up part is that he’s making a determined effort because of how he views himself, because he’s a physiological monster to look like a superhero. And when he said that, i’m like yeah, that makes all the sense in the world. And it completely flipped my perspective on what the character was. I remember another time, we were talking about it. It was actually with JR and I think Bruce. And we were looking at the costume and the finale one with the mask and with the eye. Someone said something about evil or whatever and Vince said no. The operative word with Kane is cool.
Steve Austin: What was it? What is it Bruce or JR that came up with the idea for the eye?
Kane: It was JR. It was Marilyn Manson. Said it would be cool. Then I think Marilyn Manson had two and so we did just one.
Steve Austin: That’s an awesome picture on the screen. That’s a great mask. And I had this mask right here. Man, this is like leather. It’s pretty pliable. It’s got these straps on. But the original mask, it’s not a hockey mask. It’s more fitted. This is back in the day, you can’t find these things everywhere or anywhere. But you find some people, a couple that makes them in New York.
Kane: They actually did S&M stuff, so they made bodices and this sort of thing.
Steve Austin: How did you get in contact and say, hey, I need a black and red mask?
Kane: It was Terry Anderson, did our wardrobes and everything. Nicest people in the world, you know. Then you go to their shop in New York, i’m like, oh my god. But she has a process. I had to have the head mold and all that stuff. And they made the original ones. And Terry was able to kind of figure it out. And by this time, we had the bust of my head. So she would make them from then. The thing about that mask, though, is — and that’s my favorite one. People always ask what’s your favorite outfit? That’s my favorite outfit.
Steve Austin: I didn’t like the one without a jaw. With your exposed chin.
Kane: No, that’s the one I like, man. It had all the mystique and that was it, right. The problem with the mask is traveling all the time with it being made out of leather, you know how it is. You put it in your bag and it’s all wet and sweaty and it would lose its shape pretty quickly and start going — like that one, it was supposed to be red and black. By the end of the mask lifetime, life cycle, it was sort of all brown.
Steve Austin: How long could you get out of a mask?
Kane: Man, four of five months. And then I would have more. I’d keep a good one for TV.
Steve Austin: Here’s the thing, man. Terry Anderson used to make all of my stuff, my Stone Cold vest and black trunks and I had a couple of them. When you’re out on the road in the full bodysuit man and you’re sweating your ass off, like a lot of guys, wash your stuff in the sink and hang it up to dry. But sometimes, you know, as the road goes on, dude, those things are a living nightmare to take care of.
Kane: Yeah, absolutely. I had the full body suit, so i’m getting my sweat, i’m getting everybody else’s sweat and the mat and everything that goes with it.
Steve Austin: Here’s the thing. We are going to get working with the mask. But half the problem there was with your long hair and the rivets in that thing, it was like a pain in the mask, right?
Kane: That’s exactly right, man. I would spend half an hour after the match showering. I would just pack conditioner in my hair and take a wide tooth comb and just try to get all the tangles out. I’d pull it through those rivets, which connected the straps to the mask itself. And they would shred my hair. So i’m dealing with split ends. My hair was real long, halfway down my back and it was beautiful. But it was a huge pain to try to take care of.
Steve Austin: But also talk to me about working with a mask because it just seems to me — I mean are you making facials like you normally would, but they are just covered by a mask?
Kane: Yeah, I would over-accentuate everything because I realized since people couldn’t see my face, I had to rely more on body language. But it all starts with your face, so I was doing facials under the mask. But probably like with that, the head tilt, I learned that from my St. Bernard, Annie.
Steve Austin: Tell me the story of that. Because, man, I remember when you first started doing it, a lot like your dog, you are motioning and all of a sudden — I mean with you doing the mask, it was just freaky.
Kane: It was freaky. I remember Bruce telling me that you get more out of that head tilt than you would doing a 20 minute promo. The thing is again, he had the mystique and no one quite knows what’s going on inside Kane’s head. And then you do the head tilt and everybody is like, what does that mean? Good or bad? Generally it meant somebody was about to get Choked Slammed. Nonetheless, one day I was working with my dog and I noticed she would tilt her head this way or tilt her head that way and I thought that was pretty cool. I tried it and sure enough, the audience reacted. And that’s where the whole head tilt thing came from.
Steve Austin: When you didn’t have any confidence and when you were Isaac Yankem or Fake Diesel and you are trying to — with the work style, I mean it’s always great when it is character based. When I turned into Stone Cold Steve Austin, I really had a base of what to work. When I was Stunning Steve, I never really knew what that was or who that guy was. It was just a name Dutch Mantell made up. So I was trying to emulate Ric Flair because he’s the goat. So when I turned into Stone Cold, I said okay, here’s how i worked. With respect to everything you were doing, when you put on that mask and that outfit, did you feel entirely different as a human being?
Kane: Yes. As corny as that sounds. It did, man. Everything changed. And I had sort of a model because it was somewhat based off what Taker did, right. But I also became my own. And yeah, I would put the mask on. And, of course, I was always Glenn. There was something that kind of changed. You could do some things automatically. You didn’t have to think about how do I more or how do I do this. It’s kind of like your body and your mind already knew what to do.
Steve Austin: When you made your debut, it was at Badd Blood and it was going to be a Hell in a Cell Match. And it was between Shawn Michaels and Undertaker. And you went out there after the match or was it during the match?
Kane: It was during the match.
Steve Austin: You proceed to tombstone, Undertaker. Hell in a Cell was going to come back later. It was a great debut. You almost didn’t make the show.
Kane: Yeah, my buddy Mark shows up at the house. I had flown into St. Louis a few days early. Grew up close to there and that’s where Badd Blood is at. My buddy Mark is like, man — I didn’t get a rental car because i’m riding with whoever. My buddy Mark is like, yeah I will take you down to the show. He pulls up in the worst beater of a car I have ever seen. I don’t even know what it was. Anyway, we are driving and I look down and smoke is coming out of the cassette player. I’m like, dude, your car is on fire. He’s like what? And then there’s a big pop and smoke starts coming out of everywhere. And we pull over and it’s before cell phones. It wasn’t like now where you could just call someone. And i’m completely freaked out. I’m like, man, this is my big break and i’m sitting on the side of the road in whatever this car is and it’s smoking, you know. And luckily he was able to call a friend of his and he came down and took us to the show. Yeah, I almost didn’t make it to the show. And I was not happy.
Steve Austin: So once you made your debut and it was great. How did you like that music?
Kane: It was the first time I ever heard it. It was awesome. The thing about this is, this is my favorite version of the character, man. The music, everything.
Steve Austin: Hey, man, what are you thinking as you were walking? Dude, made you look like just an animal.
Kane: So did, Earl Hebner. And then, of course, Taker’s reactions too, man.
Steve Austin: You hear that? That’s that quiet, that hey, man, what is going on? That’s that quite respect. It’s like, what is this? That ain’t silence because it’s boring. It’s because no one knows what to do. They don’t know what to think. Like what happened.
Kane: Yeah. You look back now, of course, you have this entire history of stuff. But imagine you’re sitting there and you have no idea what in the world all this is. You know, if you are at the arena, you don’t even know that’s Kane. You might think so. But you don’t hear Vince screaming that’s gotta be Kane. It’s one of those deals like, what in the world just happened, right? And got to remember it, too. At that point, Undertaker, that didn’t happen to him. I mean that never happened to him. So that whole thing was just done well as it possibly could have been done.
Steve Austin: Talk about the communication between you and The Undertaker. Because obviously you guys hit it off when y’all had that match in ’95, two big guys, very similar builds and would have gone on to do great business with each other. Jut as far as when you assumed that character and became that character, what was the communication like as far as, hey, lay back on this, more of this, etc.
Kane: He always wanted more aggression, no matter what.
Steve Austin: But he had a coming to jesus meeting with you at one time.
Kane: That was before I became Kane. That was when I was Yankem. Yeah, I had a match with Taker when I was Isaac Yankem and he basically said, dude, look, you know, if you want to stay here, you’re going to have to be a lot more aggressive. He’s like — it was an awful match. And I remember that. That was kind of like when I was at my lowest. That really helped me out a lot, you know, because I’m just like, gosh, this guy is invested enough to talk to me about this. But he also realized I think that we could do business together if I were to get my act together. But anyway, we had that talk and that was probably the turning point for me, too, when I realized that’s what was expected out of me. I wasn’t just supposed to be there because I was happy to be there.
Steve Austin: I mean it’s great to be happy to be there, but you’ve got to get over.
Kane: Exactly or you’re not doing anyone any favors. Who is Mark going to work with, you know?
Steve Austin: Explain the story behind your entrance.
Kane: Yeah, so my pyro cue was I always raise my arms up and come back down. Actually it came that day and it was Taker’s idea and we were trying to find a cue for the four ring posts to go. Mark is like — well, you know, The Undertaker at the time, he would bring his hands up. He would come out in a blackout, bring his hands up and the lights would go up. Everything Kane does is the opposite of The Undertaker. And you notice later in my career I get into it. But that was the first time we had ever did it. And we just thought about it, that’s the beauty of our business, too. You get this trademark stuff and a lot of times it’s something you talk about in the afternoon. Well, that sounds cool, let’s try it tonight and that’s exactly what it was.
Steve Austin: How many times working with all the pyro and all the fire that you guys did, you have the inferno match, inferno number two, you get caught on fire. I mean how many times for a shoot did you come close to being in harms way? Because Taker, I invited him back to come talk about all the specifics. I had a great chat with him. But, man, he’s been through some hairy things. What about yourself?
Kane: I was very fortunate. Really the only time that I can remember was the first inferno match. That’s one of the things, too. Vince and WWE, they always made sure we were safe. As safe as can be in a situation like that. Now, I will tell you about the inferno match, though. That whole deal, we were supposed to rehearse it the night before and all this stuff and it didn’t happen. Paul Bearer and I show up at the arena. We were supposed to be taken over to Fayetteville and have a match. I was working with Big Van Vader and, you know, then come back and Mark and I are going to rehearse this. It is the first time we had ever done that thing. We have a limo supposed to take Paul and I to Fayetteville. And this is before GPS, again, before cell phones.
The limo driver drove two hours the wrong way. We have to call the office and say we are wherever the heck we are. You guys have to get to Fayetteville because we have been advertised and we end up getting to Fayetteville and I’m supposed to be on first. And I literally get dressed in the limo, run out. Meet Leon at the locker room. We fight out to the ring. Fight in the ring for 30 seconds, roll back out, fight to the back. I jump back in the car, drive back to Greensboro. Get there and they cancel the rehearsal. The next day is the first time that I go through all the stuff and i’m working with Hollywood stunt people.
So you guys are going to do this realtime, right? Like it would take us a couple of weeks to set that up. That was a little disconcerting. But anyway, then we go out, outside the arena and we do a burn. And they put the stuff on my arm. And i’m standing there. I’ve got fire on my arm, right. And then I go to move. Don’t move that way. You have to keep you arm behind you. If not, you’ll inhale the flames. Here’s the thing, so here you are and you are having a wrestling match, but then you also have to think about all this other stuff, right. Doing that stunt and all that. And all that’s going through your head.
Steve Austin: How hard was that working inside that flame bars all around the ring? I remember that match vividly and they crank up the flames every time like a big impact move or something like that.
Kane: It was visually spectacular. I thought we really had a good match. I thought that was one of our better matches. But to do a false finish and look like you’re going to win was to set the guy on fire. We couldn’t get very close because it was dadgum hot. Both of us are covered in the flame retardant material and all that. The only time I really did anything to myself was the very first one and it was completely my fault. I was showing the one hand and the other hand touched the apparatus, which was like a hot stove. Nevertheless, I mean you couldn’t — you’ve got about three feet away from those flames, dude, and that was as close as you want to get. It was hard to do i’m going throw him into the fire because you just couldn’t get anyone convinced, otherwise.
Steve Austin: Another great match you had with Undertaker was WrestleMania 14. And I was, you know, about to win my first world championship against HBK. But I didn’t know if he was going to go to the ring or not. But you guys go out there and knock it out of the park. In the book, you talk about watching The Undertaker’s entrance because you are already in the ring. And, all of sudden, here he comes.
Kane: Man, I mean it was real. This dude is coming and he’s got these guys lined up. And that was the one they had the druids and they had the torches and he’s walking through the torches. I’ll never forget, man, i’m watching this and Paul puts his hand on my chest. Paul is like you’re going to have a heart attack. Your heart is racing so fast. I’m like, this is awesome. But, dude, it was like it didn’t matter if there were 20,000 people or no one. Because that was just so much presence. Undertaker walking down through there. I was actually probably the most stunned person in the building. I was like, I don’t know if i’m ready for this one, man. It was truly awesome.
Steve Austin: You guys went out there and knocked it out of the park. It was an outstanding match. But like when I read about you, I was like, oh man. Here’s Kane, in storyline is his half brother. And he was so blown away by this entrance, you know, that he was overcome. We were on the road somewhere. I can’t remember where it was. But this is when they used to kind of smoke up the entrance a little bit. That was the only effect we had of then the 20 by 20 ring. And hell, I’m working with The Undertaker. I just kind of started catching my groove a little bit and they smoked up the arena. And there I was in the ring and here he comes.
Nothing near the proportions of what you have got here. So, I’m sitting there thinking before I went to the ring, i’m thinking this guy — we call everything in the ring. Hey, everything is on the ring. So I’m thinking, okay, i’m going to do this, i’m gonna do that, i’m working this. All of a sudden, they smoke it up and here he comes. And my mind went blank. I’m watching the big son of a gun come down to the ring. I’m thinking, man, what was I going to do? And he comes to the ring and he does the lights. And i’m like — we just started going. But I didn’t know what I was doing because I was so blown away by his presence.
Kane: It really is intimidating. And, you know, the thing is, I think everybody thought that was the end of Kane. But that finish was — I kicked out of Two TombStone PileDrivers. I think the only other person up to that point was Hogan that ever kicked out of one. I kicked out of two. He finally got me with the third one and I still sat up and TombStone him on the chair. Actually that match made me as much as anything. Losing to The Undertaker, but then leaving him laying again made me as much as anything in my career as Kane.
Steve Austin: I agree. It was huge. Yeah, you do the favors, but you get it back on the backside. Hey, your relationship with The Undertaker, I mean, hell, if it hadn’t been for The Undertaker, Kane would have never happened. Certain things lined up that I became what I became. And, all of a sudden, man, going back and look at The Brothers Of Destruction and the two sledgehammers, dude, if that doesn’t scare your or impress you, something is wrong with you. What are your thoughts and feelings on Mark Calaway?
Kane: He was important to me before I ever got into WWE. I’m fairly certain one of the reasons that I got into WWE was because he put a good word in for me. He was another guy that Dutch knew pretty well. We talked a few times before I had my tryout or anything like that. And then the match like you said in Knoxville. And then he was always a big advocate of mine. You mentioned earlier when I was doing The Isaac Yankem thing and things weren’t working out to well for me. He was the guy who talked to me and told me you have to be — basically I was feeling sorry for myself.
Steve Austin: Being saddled with this gimmick.
Kane: Exactly, like why me and all that? He’s like, look dude, it doesn’t matter. Go out there and show that you can do it. If you do that, you’re going to get a chance. And I took those words to heart. Throughout the whole Kane story, man, if Mark Calaway had been of the mind that I’m going to get over with this character, it’s going to be a one off, that’s all I want, that’s all it would have been. He was the guy who pushed everything. I mean if someone didn’t want to do business — literally i’d say, well, you can talk to Taker about it. That was the end of the conversation because he always had my back. And I knew that. We had conversations like, so-and-so wants to do that. He’s like, it’s up to you, but I wouldn’t. I’m like, okay, I’m not going to. All that stuff.
And then The Brothers Of Destruction, the actual tag team and everything. Then our personal lives. I remember one time again, you go through those periods, I don’t know if I want to do this anymore. I talk to Mark and he said as long as you are still having fun and you are still capable, it’s your decision again, but keep on doing it. And even in my campaign, he came to Knoxville and did an appearance in my campaign. He never does stuff like that. He’s just been more than instrumental. There wouldn’t be a Kane if there hadn’t been an Undertaker.
And certainly, I wouldn’t had the success that I had, if he hadn’t always had my back. I remember one time, I was having some issues with booking and stuff. I talked to Mark first. It didn’t even involve him. This was my own thing. I just needed some guidance. And I go to talk to Vince about it. He’s like, yeah I talked to Mark earlier and he mentioned this to me. He’s like I think he worries more about you than he does himself. And that’s just how he was my entire career. And still to this day, if I need something — and I hope he feels the same way. I’ll call him or whatever. So yeah.
Steve Austin: I don’t know. Do you remember Austin, Texas. Pouring blood on me? You remember that?
Steve Austin: I know you didn’t like to have or talk about like favorite matches. But that’s one of my favorite angles that I ever shot. And it was with you. Take me through that. What do you remember? Because we are going to get into our first blood match. Which followed a Hell in a Cell Match. Please start
Kane: So if I recall correctly, we were kind of going back and forth and it was me and Mick sometimes and you and Taker. And we were kind of — all four of us were doing stuff.
Steve Austin: We did a lot more business than I remember us doing. I look back, man and we did a lot of stuff.
Kane: It really was. It always that mix of the four of us. That night it was setting up the world championship. And I can’t remember. There was something to do — wasn’t there some backstage stuff with Paul Bearer or something and Taker was getting him and Mick was involved. And there was these great threads just tying the whole thing together. At the end of the night, I come out and that’s when I announced if I lost the match, I will be set on fire. I forget what the cue was. But you were in the ring and you were wearing your white Austin 3:16 shirt. And I did my pyro cue. But instead of the pyro going off, it was like a scene out of carrie, where all the blood and it was red paint. Like you were talking about with Taker taking The TombStone that first night and people are just sitting there. It was the same deal that night. Everybody is sitting like, what in the world just happened? It was cool.
Steve Austin: Oh, man when they first broke that angle down to me, I mean no one said, next week we’re going to do this. I showed up to Austin at the Frank Erwin Center and here’s what we are going to do. Oh, man, that sounds badass. But just the visual of that. And I looked up and i’m like what the f, you know. And if you read my lips, you can see what i’m saying. But there’s that moment. There’s that stare. So we have the match, we’re set up. And i’m looking forward to working with you. It’s the First Blood Match. Okay. We got our work cut out for us. We go on the road after Austin, Texas and TV and we end up in Houston. We’re at The Summit. We are sold out. I’m working the main event with Mick Foley. My mother and father drove 100 miles to come see me wrestle. I think they had only been to like two of my matches in my entire life. Do your parents go to some of your shows?
Kane: My mom made a sign saying, I raised Kane. That was actually in Houston, too. It was that night.
Steve Austin: So when I told my mom and dad I wanted to get into the business, they didn’t know what to think, you know. But they always supported me. So me and Mick, we finished the match and I go back there and I’m showered. I’ve got my towel around my neck. And I start, you know, kind of shaking and shivering. And I just can’t stop. So I tell my mom, I said I’m sorry, I said i’ve got to go and they put me in the ambulance and took me to the hospital. Ended up spending three and a half days in Herman Hospital. With a staph infection in my right arm. First they didn’t know what it was. Figured out it was staph infection and there I was laying in bed.
I’m like hey, man, i’ve got to wrestle Kane in a First Blood Match. Finally they discharge me from the hospital. That was on the front end of that. We get to where we were having the match and, all of a sudden, we are in the main event. It is Kane versus Stone Cold Steve Austin. For the title, but god dang, it was hell of a match right in front of us. Hell in a Cell comes back. You debuted during a Hell in a Cell Match. And now you’ve got to follow one and it’s your half brother, The Undertaker taking on your friend, Mick Foley as Mankind. Talk to me about that. What do you remember of it?
Kane: Well, Mick, I’m still hot at Mick because I won the world championship that night, my first one ever and no one remembers it because all they remember is him going off the cage twice. And frankly Steve, I think I knew the first one when he got thrown off the side. I’m pretty sure I knew that was going to happen. When he went through the cage, the cage broke he was supposed to get ChokeSlammed on top of it and it didn’t. It broke. He went down and i’m like, oh my god, Mick is dead. And that’s my first reaction because Mick and I are traveling partners, man.
He’s a good friend of mine. I’m looking at him and he starts moving. I’m like, I guess he’s okay. Golly, man, he’s all messed up. He was part of our finish, you know. The deal was — and I can’t remember exactly what it was. You might fill the gaps in here. Basically he was supposed to come out, do something with you and then Taker is supposed to try to hit him with the chair and got you. Mick is supposed to come out and he’s laying there in a crumpled heap. And Vince looks at me, while this match is going on.
And i’m putting together our match and trying to remember everything. He looks at me, if Mick can’t come out, you’re going to have to figure out what to do in your match. Me? This is also Stone Cold Steve Austin. This is not like just going on in an enhancement match or something. This is a huge deal. And he’s looking at me saying, how are you going to change this? I’m like I don’t know. But I was the most relieved person, not only for Mick’s safety because he’s a friend, but also professionally. He was on another planet, when I saw him coming back down the aisle. Because we didn’t know if he was going to do it or not.
Steve Austin: It was so hard. And here’s the thing, you always want everybody to knock it out of the park. But when you have to go follow a match like that and two guys knock it out of the park — we worked our asses off. We had a solid brawl of match that you would expect from a First Blood type match. I mean what do you do? It’s not going to be a whole lot of acrobatic stuff. There I am going out there, staph infection in my damn arm. Tried to jump this thing off. Hit the ropes. Ducked two clotheslines. And it’s off and running. We got them. I cut The Undertaker’s ear off with that same leg over there in England.
Boy, that’s a load right there. When you take that clothesline. Here he comes. When I see him come down there and you can watch that back on the WWE Network. He’s coming down there with that chair in his hand, spirit of ’76 style, beat to shreds, got his tooth stuck up his nose during the match. I’m thinking he’s coming through. Toughest guy in the history of the business. I’m thinking god dang it, Mick. I dispatched him. Cheap shot, sorry about that. See ya later. Boom. God dang it, the chair goes out. And here comes Taker with his chair. He’s been through everything as well. See him limping?
Kane: Taker had actually — In Austin, he had actually broken his ankle. I don’t know if you remember that. I don’t know if he’s ever told you that.
Steve Austin: I didn’t. He was gimped up coming down the ramp. I didn’t know why he was limping.
Kane: They were doing a pre-tape backstage where he was chasing Paul Bearer and it happened like Taker kicked the tv or something. When he did, his foot went back too far. So the same deal. You’re talking about Houston, I worked with him in Houston and he was working on a broken ankle, man. And the same deal. He’s another one of the toughest guys that ever lived, right.
Steve Austin: But anyway, here he comes. So we go through the beats. And as Mick is getting up, he’s coming to hit him. It’s a timing feat. It’s not a blind feat. I’m rolling in off the floor, got the chair, bringing it up because i’m going to strike him. As I pick it up there, he comes down. And there’s the double percussion. I go down. See ya. Gets you out of the picture.
Kane: I remember a guy in the front row going, Austin is bleeding.
Steve Austin: This is great. Trying to wake up the ref. Wham, thank you very much. Gets rid of him. And then, you know, Earl calls off the match. I’m sitting there thinking, hey man, you know what is going on here? Why are they calling this match? You didn’t cause me to bleed. Undertaker did. But as we go off, people are like, what?
Kane: They are all trying to digest all that.
Steve Austin: Okay. I want to go to the next night. Cleveland. As you look at that picture, right there man, you’ve got the gold belt. I’m not a mark for belts, but I mean being the world champion is being the world champion. I mean if you are invested or if you are in the business and if you don’t think that’s something, I’ve got news for you. What were you thinking here?
Kane: I mean like you said, it’s the top, right. I remember getting back to the hotel room and I gave the — I had the twin room. I gave the other bed, the belt. It was in the bed. It was laid out all very reverently. Yeah, man. And, of course, Paul made sure that we got pictures that night, you know, while I was world champion. So it was a big deal.
Steve Austin: We go to Cleveland for Raw the next night. You go out there and there’s a big presentation. You’re about to get the world title and then I make walk to the ring. You know, my biggest complaint is that I eloquated and articulated that, hey man, Undertaker is the one that made me bleed, not you. So if you want to accept the belt like that, then you can. But you didn’t really do anything to win it. I said I challenge you to a damn match. Here’s the thing, as ominous, as powerful, as the mystique or whatever it was with Kane and all that power that you represented, to me that was like — when I told you that and you reasoned. Of course, Paul didn’t want anything to do with that. Vince wasn’t going to make the match because he didn’t want me to have the belt. If it was intended or not, when I laid out the cards to you in the way that I did, it’s like — there was some type of honor to your character to accept that match. I don’t know if anybody ever ready anything into that, but that’s what I thought.
Kane: Yeah, I did. For me, Kane wanted to prove that. Yeah, you’re right. Here I am trying to prove that i’m better than The Undertaker. But the only reason I have the title is because did my work for me. So I had to prove that I could actually beat you one on one.
-Austin & Kane breakdown their WWF Title Match.
Steve Austin: A couple days in the hospital, I don’t really blow off. I didn’t have a whole lot of energy. In reading your book, you said in losing the title to me, that was one of the favorite moments of you career.
Kane: Yeah, it was. I felt it was more important than winning the title because I almost felt — you were at a rocket ship, dude. You were going straight to the moon. It almost felt like we kind of booked ourselves in a corner there. Everybody knew Austin was going to beat Kane and keep going. You had this little hiccup, right, but it was very unexpected. I think the people were more thinking of how is Kane going to set himself on fire without setting himself on fire than they were that Austin was actually going to lose the title. I’ll never forget this, Steve.
That was the most electric crowd. It was unbelievable. It was like a movie, you know. When I think back across my career, that’s one of those that stands out. I just had one of those images of the smoke filled arena and just packed to the rafters. And people just going nuts the whole time. The only thing they wanted to see was Stone Cold Steve Austin get the title back. I don’t know that really kind of helped shoot everything up even higher. Everything was going up great, but you winning the title back and doing it like we did it really kind of helped propel everything even faster.
Steve Austin: I loved that night. And I love that angle. I love both of the matches.
Kane: That was also kind of the kickoff to The Brothers Of Destruction. You were the catalyst that brought Undertaker and me together. And that was I think probably the first time that you really saw us in the ring together, where we weren’t adversaries.
Steve Austin: And then here was the thing. When you guys — you teamed up, when you were working as heels, right. But the thing about it was, the visual is so awesome and so cool, it’s like hey man, these guys are kind of laying waste and doing whatever they want to anybody they want. But it’s kind of hard to hate them. Did y’all feel the cool factor? Or did you just feel the power factor? You had to watch that stuff back on tv and say that’s cool.
Kane: Well, one thing is we were moving so fast. There’s so much going on. Yeah. I think it was one of those deals, it didn’t matter if we were babyfaces or heels. That was a very unique tag team because you have kind of like The Mega Powers Teams come together for lack of better term. But this was something else because you had these two mythological characters almost who had always been intertwined in a story line. And I think that’s what people always wanted. They didn’t want me to see and Undertaker fight. They wanted to see us together because of the story. It was always just about keeping the mystique going. Keeping The Brothers Of Destruction, not necessarily even like wins and losses, whatever. But keeping the mystique where it needed to be and keeping it unique.
Steve Austin: Did you like working tags? Did you feel like you were doing half the work or there was more things to play with? Did you enjoy the scene? Because I enjoyed teaming with Triple H, but i’m a singles guy.
Kane: Yeah. I remember Boris Malenko when I asked him which he liked more, he said it depended on who his partner was. It’s the same with me. I have been very fortunate I had some great tag partners. I actually like tag team matches better than singles matches in some ways. Like the world championship, frankly, I don’t like when do the triple threats or things like that. It’s one on one, just mano-a-mano or woman versus woman, right. But I love tag matches because you do have so many more variables you can play with. You get the hot tag and the babyface and there’s nothing else like it. It’s jut a completely different dynamic than singles matches.
Steve Austin: I love tag team wrestling. because, like you said, there were so many different things you do in the combinations. Then all of a sudden, you’ve got the referee and distracting the referee and working him. He’s one of the boys. The other thing I didn’t like about tag team wrestling was once you get entrenched in something, if your partner goes down, you are left stranded. And that’s what happened with me and Flying Brian Pillman when they decided to split us up.
And, all of a sudden, you are back in harms way. Paul Bearer is a common thread between you and I. Seen him on the screen a couple of times. I was down there in Dallas, Texas, greener than grass and they stuck me with Percy Pringle. Percy is one of the funniest guys I ever knew and one of the smartest guy I knew and just knew the business in and out. So you spent so much time with him. And he used to do things behind the scenes for you. Tell me about the shoot aspect of what he did as your manager.
Kane: He was literally my manager and didn’t have to be. He was probably more important to the company than i was at that point. We booked our own travel with the exception of our flights, of course. But he would book all the travel. He would make sure that I got to where I needed to go. He didn’t want me to have to worry about anything except matches. And he was great about all that stuff, man. Except for the night in San Diego
Steve Austin: I love that story. The Red Cadillac? Tell me all that story.
Kane: Paul would drive, too. I didn’t have to worry about anything. Well, one night — and I think I might have had a match with you. But in any case, he tells me he’s not feeling good. We had rented a red cadillac or something like that. You remember I used to come to the arenas — and this was before social media and everything. So some people knew what I looked like, but a lot of people didn’t. In Kane, was he all scarred up? So I’d always wear like a towel over my head or a black ski mask when I got into the arena.
Here I am and I’ve got Paul in the car, this big red cadillac. There I am in my ski mask driving up to the arena. And it’s the sports arena there in San Diego. Remember, you go down the ramp. And people are lined up all across. I mean thousands of them. So I’m driving along. And, all of a sudden, Paul Bearer who just a few moments before was on his death bed, rolls down the window and just starts yelling out the window, it’s a miracle! Kane can drive! I’m just like I never been so embarrassed in my life, man.
Steve Austin: Let’s fast forward a little bit. Let’s go to 2003 when you’re getting a little frustrated with the mask. I remember there’s a conversation in your book, Vince tells you, hey, man, keep using your facials underneath that mask because you’re not always going to wear it. And I pipe in, why are you going to take his mask off? He’s doing pretty damn good. And you kind of agreed with me because you are on fire., no pun intended. Just, all of a sudden, you hit a brick wall with the mask. Talk to me about that meeting with Vince. That happened in Dallas, Texas. And you would you take that thing off in The Garden a little bit later. What were you feeling?
Kane: I felt like I had gone as far as I could with the mask and I needed to freshen up the character. It really turned into an entire reinvention. We had already done another incarnation of Kane. We have the original and then we’d always have the same mask, then what had happened was I had torn my bicep tendon and out for three or four months. When I came back, the mask didn’t have the mouth. And that was cool and I was doing some really cool stuff. Yeah, just felt like everything had gotten stale.
And I had really gone as far as I could with the mask. Also felt that the mask, because it covered my face, this is how — as performers, this is what people look at, right? You are doing a promo and it’s your body language, but it’s also your facials and I didn’t have any. So I talked to Vince about it and he agreed. We were the only two people in the company that thought that. Everybody else is like, the character is successful. Why would you ever want to do that? It ain’t broken. Don’t try to fix it.
But it’s like one of those deals, if it doesn’t work, we can always figure out how to put the mask back on, right. But it was just frustration, but then, you know, of course, I got real excited like, wow — you know how it is. It is not like everybody has something written out. I remember when I first got in the business, people are like yeah, they know WrestleMania two years from now. No, a lot of stuff we do on the fly and that’s what this was. I wasn’t quite sure where it was going to go, but I was willing to take the risk because I knew that I could go a step higher or at least a step in a new direction.
Steve Austin: So when you took the mask off there in the garden, how was that? I mean you did that — you were looking at the crowd. And, all of a sudden, there was a turn to the hard camera. Are you nervous here? Or you were just being Kane?
Kane: I was just being Kane. I was just trying to keep the motivation and seriously the integrity of the character. Like what would Kane be thinking right now? And you do feel naked, though. It’s wild, yeah. Because i’m like, this is really weird.
Steve Austin: But in your book, you talk about — looking at you right there, man. Look at the look on your face. And you talk about in the book about how your face is how you tell stories. And without it, it’s hard. You are always emoted, having emotion with that mask but now, all of a sudden, you see rage. And to me like when I look at the Kane character with that full mask on, he’s scary, he’s big, he’s intimidating. He’s powerful. But I don’t know what he’s going to do. Now, when I can see your eyes and I can see your face, now I can see intent. I can see the malicious intent. Dude, without the mask, scarier. The mask was cool as hell. But, all of a sudden, when I can see what you gears are thinking or what you might want to do to someone or how you started talking, i’m like that’s very scary. How did you feel about that?
Kane: I felt the same way because actually how we talked about originally Kane was cool, the superhero. That was Kane, though. The superhero was cool, but that was actually what it was hiding, right. And that’s kind of the feeling. Now I was actually was a little nervous because I hadn’t told my wife about this. And my life love my long hair. And I wanted her to see it and be shocked just like everybody else was. And she was. And so when I talked to her after the match, that didn’t really go very well.
Steve Austin: But you are trying to work the gimmick for awhile. Like when you went home with that half haircut and y’all are going out to dinner, that had to be kind of rough.
Kane: That’s all thanks to Bruce Prichard. I mean we were just going to shave my head, right. And they get about halfway through and Bruce is like, stop. I need to show Vince. I should have said right then keep going. But Bruce is like we don’t have everyone that looks like that. Of course, Vince agreed with him. Of course, in the heat of the moment, this is going to be awesome. I’m sitting there wait a second, I have to go to like Outback Steakhouse with this. I have got to pick my kids up at school.
Steve Austin: Hey, it’s cool while you’re doing it, but you get up to Outback and it ain’t so cool.
Kane: It was like yeah, I do have a life outside of this. So I kept it about a day. And then I just went ahead and shaved it. I told Vince, I was like, look, I can’t do this. He was cool with it. He was like I get it. I was like I can’t do this.
Steve Austin: Glenn, I have a bone to pick with you. You set my good buddy Jim Ross on fire. How did that feel? Dude, you’ve got that rage. You weren’t doing that with the mask. And, all of a sudden, with the vocals, you don’t have the voice box.
Kane: I finally got to let loose, man. And that was the thing about the incarnation of that character. It was just unbridled emotion and rage. As much as Kane was cool and a monster and everything, you know, then he gets to start delving into the actual mind. And it was really messed up. Kind of my motivation, my thought behind the character was there’s a book by Thomas Harris, who wrote the Hannibal Lecter stuff, right. And one of his villains was the red dragon. And the red dragon was this dude that had the cleft palate when he was younger and had it surgically repaired, but also had a very abusive childhood.
So looked like a normal dude, had a mustache. Couldn’t even tell he had ever had a cleft palate. All the scars were on the inside. And that’s what I felt. When people were like, well, Kane doesn’t have any scars from the fire, that was the thing. He never had any scars, but he wore a mask this whole time because he was convinced that he did. That was a lot of fun because then you felt like you get the entire performance. It wasn’t just the physicality in the ring, but you also get the promos and stuff.
Steve Austin: Man, to be silent for so long and then be short winded when you did start talking. And I loved when you used that thing on the promo on me. I loved that. But when you start talking without the mask, what was your approach to promos? Were you just coming up with all this stuff?
Kane: No. We wrote it, yeah. We had to do a couple takes on that one with JR. I was pretty good about internalizing and being able to come back out with it. JR was not happy about this. Here’s the thing, you have to sit down and there’s a can of gasoline there. This is WWE. You know something is going to happen.
Steve Austin: And the thing about it is, he’s looking down at this clipboard checking the dialogue. And moving right along. You’ve got a pretty good spell there where you just articulate and eloquate with a great angst and anger.
Kane: Luckily we had some cutaways along the way. Yeah, I’ve always wondered why he would agree to a promo when a guy sits a gasoline can beside you. You’re like, oh, we’re cool. I mean it wasn’t like you was giving him a whole lot of choice.
Steve Austin: That’s true. If he got up, you’re going to sit him back down. You sit the box on his lap and inside the box is a can of gasoline. So you are constantly evolving the character. And that, I mean the guy was just full of anger and very dangerous and very scary. But you would take it in a different direction. And I take you to this clip as your evolution of this character. See what I love about that clip was to you and story line, it’s a total shoot. But as it times out in that skit, people are like what are you doing? Are you ribbing me? How was that received in your household? I mean I would always go home, hey, what did you think?
Kane: Oh, yeah. That was immediately, everybody thought it was just classic, you know. And it was. It was such a departure, The Team Hell No stuff and the anger management skits were such a departure from my character for so long. You know how it is as a performer. At some point when you do the same thing and you’re good at it, but you do the same thing night after night, I mean it becomes — I never understood burnout.
Like you’d hear about these musicians that would get burned out and have to leave their band and do something else. I never understood that, gosh. And then it kind of started happening to me. Like I was doing the same character for 15 years or whatever it was. Kind of even though there were different versions, it was always that dark sinister, very sadistic in many cases character. At some point, you’re just like mentally, like this is getting boring. And I kind of went through that. And that was so refreshing because it was just completely 180 degrees from anything else I have ever done.
I hoped people would see that and this guy can do more than just go beat people up. And be the stoic mean person. He’s funny and has a sense of humor and timing and all that stuff. But the thing was, exactly as you said, the reason it was so funny is because — anyone else does that, okay whatever, it’s okay. But Kane doing that, you know, it’s just completely over the top because you never expected it. And I had all this history. So in the end, that really played into making that thing successful.
Steve Austin: But you also have to give yourself credit for having great comedic timing and pulling it off like you did.
Kane: Well, I got to be the straight guy, too. Daniel Bryan was generally the funny guy. And, of course, Dr. Shelby.
Steve Austin: Going back to your comedic stuff, I’ve got one more segment for you I’d like to play. There you are backstage, you know, basically being a stand up comedian. How did you feel about that? Mess with your head or just enjoying the hell out of it?
Kane: I love that. In fact, that’s one of those things that people still talk to me about. You see it on Twitter and all the stuff. And again, I mean this caught everybody by surprise, right. But I think everyone my age has done the Hulk Hogan thing, right.
Steve Austin: Everybody. I did, yeah.
Kane: So that was nothing new. That was great, thought. It was just awesome. And also I mean we take this stuff for granted. That’s Dwayne The Rock Johnson and Hulk Hogan and you get to be the star. How often does that happen? It was awesome.
Steve Austin: What was cool about it — because I have been out there when he did the it didn’t matter thing to me. He got everyone with it. Finally when someone flips around and gets him, i’m like, oh, yeah, I love it. It’s like the best interrupt line ever. It doesn’t matter because you get completely blown off. How did this relationship with you and Pete Rose come to be? Those were some great moments as well.
Kane: Yeah. Man, that was one of those things that I think it was the day of WrestleMania 14, that I found out that Pete Rose was going to be the special guest ring announcer. Of course, Percy was like, well, that’s going to be ha ha, right. Percy, often being the old hand, he would sometimes go old school. He’s like do this to Pete Rose, right. Then as the greatest bit ever because Pete goes out there and I didn’t know. I don’t know if anyone knew what he was going to say. But he’s in Boston. Now, mind you, this is before the big match with The Undertaker, too.
Steve Austin: I didn’t even think about that.
Kane: So i’m super nervous. You worked a match after this. So you’re the heel. Get the babyface pop and here comes Undertaker with the big whole entrance. It’s the greatest. If the dude hadn’t been — should be in the major league baseball hall of fame, he would have been a great heel. I think they had Jennifer Flowers at that one, too getting interviewed by The Rock. And, of course, Tyson was the special guest referee for your match. So that was pretty star studded. But I didn’t know anything about it until that day. We went on and did our thing.
He came back next year. It was in Philadelphia, he tried to attack me as the San Diego chicken. And there was WrestleMania 2000 in Anaheim. He actually gave me the baseball bat that he tried to hit me with. So that was cool. He did sign it, hit king. It was pretty awesome. We even did a commercial for a PPV. I’ve got to tell you this about Pete Rose, man. He’s a competent professional. He’s down for anything. He’d get in there and he just wanted to have a good time and put on a good show.
Steve Austin: God dang, man. I’m so proud of you. The career you have had. I know you continue to have. How much longer do you think you’ll keep doing this?
Kane: I’m not sure. I’m still having fun. I won the 24/7 Championship in Knoxville. Lost it right back to R-Truth, but that was entertaining. Got to have the dream match which was me and Taker against DX. Frankly if that opportunity were to ever present itself again, that would be amazing. So I mean I’m still having fun popping in every once in a while. And there’s nothing like the WWE Universe.
Steve Austin: How are you feeling after all the bumps, the travel, the BS?
Kane: I actually feel good. I was very fortunate. I hurt my knee, of course, playing football before my wrestling career started. It bothers me, but it is what it is. Other than that, i’m good. I never had any really bad injuries.
Steve Austin: Man, I want to thank you very much for flying all up here to the mean streets of Los Angeles, California. Here at The Broken Skull Sessions with me and discuss your career. Careers like yours do not happen very often. A 25 year run in the making. Future hall of famer. All the accolades, all the bumps and bruises and everything you put into the business, much respect. Thank you for coming out. I appreciate you, Glenn.
Kane: Thank you, brother.
Steve Austin: Good luck to you and everybody in Knox County, Tennessee.
Kane: Thank you, my friend.
Steve Austin: My name is Stone Cold Steve Austin. I’ve been talking with Kane, Glenn Jacobs, The Mayor of Knox County, Tennessee. Wish him all the best. Thank you for tuning in and that’s the bottom line because Stone Cold said so.