WWE's Kane On Undertaker's Farewell
By Ryan Satin
The legendary career of WWE Superstar Kane will forever be tied to The Undertaker.
Whether it was fighting against each other in the ring or battling on the same team, the storyline brothers helped produce what many would say is one of the best longterm stories WWE has ever presented.
For those who don’t remember the basics, here’s how it began:
The Undertaker’s mother gave birth to Kane as a result of an affair with Paul Bearer.
Young Undertaker, not knowing this, committed arson on his family home, killing his parents and scarring his younger brother’s face.
Bearer then hid Kane away until his eventual debut in 1997 at Badd Blood: In Your House where he arrived during the first Hell in a Cell match between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker.
But according to Kane himself, aka Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, their bond began a few years before when Taker provided a then Isaac Yankem, DDS with some crucial advice.
"Without Undertaker, there never would’ve been a Kane. So, of course, that’s vitally important," Jacobs said during a conversation this week with FOX Sports.
"But even before all that happened, we always got along very well, and I think that Mark saw someone in me that could become Kane or whatever that character was gonna be that could become his big rival throughout the years."
"In my early years in WWE, I really struggled, and that had an impact on me as far as morale," he added.
"At one point, I was really down on myself and I just wasn’t performing very well. Mark and I had a match and it was terrible because of me, and after the match he basically told me I needed to get my butt in gear or I wasn’t gonna be there much longer.
"That was the moment that my career really changed because my attitude changed. I realized that if I wanted to be a WWE Superstar, I had to do certain things. And it was The Undertaker that was basically the person that said, ‘Hey, you belong here. You can do this. But you have to prove that.’ From then on, I spent every day proving that I belonged there."
And that he did. Kane’s epic debut in 1997 led to a remarkable run.
Eventually, his character evolved, as he went on to talk, lose the mask, become unlikely friends with Daniel Bryan and even go corporate.
That evolution allowed Jacobs to drop his gimmick in public a long time ago. The Undertaker, however, only did it recently.
"Undertaker: The Last Ride" went in-depth with Mark Calaway the person for the first time ever this year, showing why the WWE icon continued to wrestle these last few years when it seemed like he was planning to retire multiple times.
"I thought it was great because it was pulling back the curtain. In this day and age, of course, that’s just something that really can’t be avoided," Jacobs explained.
"Mark has always been protective of the character, protective of the business and his part in that business. But nevertheless, I think that now that he has taken, whether it’s retirement, or just whatever, those are things that people want to know about."
"It’s part of history and it’s one of those deals where it’s great to see the person who lived through it talking about it. They bring a different perspective," the WWE star continued.
"That’s one of the most important parts that Mark played in my career was as a mentor. Someone that I can learn from and someone I used as an example. So to hear him talk about these things and give his perspective and the inside scoop on a lot of stuff, I think is good for the next generation coming up."
That knowledge and perspective will be on display this weekend in a new documentary premiering on WWE Network called "The Brothers of Destruction."
The doc features a candid conversation between Jacobs and Calaway covering their entire story together.
"It’s the first time in history that fans have been able to see Glenn Jacobs and Mark Calaway talk about Undertaker and Kane, and give the story in their thoughts on a 23-year rivalry," the WWE star said.
"One of the longest, and I think most important, and one of the most well done storylines in WWE history. It really is a piece of history.
"You don’t get to see Undertaker and Kane around that much together, and the fact that you have the guys behind the characters giving their thoughts on it is something that’s never happened before. So I think that anyone who is a fan of WWE is really going to enjoy the ‘Brothers of Destruction’ documentary."
WWE announced this month that Survivor Series on November 22 will include The Undertaker’s "final farewell."
The Deadman’s 30-year career which began at the same event in 1990 will culminate with some sort of celebration of his legacy.
However, since Undertaker’s retirement has been teased in the past, and this is WWE we're talking about, fans have been skeptical about whether this is truly the end.
Due to their tight relationship, you’d think Jacobs might have some inside knowledge on this subject.
Unfortunately, it seems as though he’s just as in the dark as everyone else.
"I think that it’s bittersweet for all of us, of course. Not only as a fellow competitor and important part of my career, but also just as a fan," he said when asked about the upcoming farewell.
"The Undertaker is a timeless character and the idea that The Undertaker is retiring is almost shocking to everyone … right?"
"Whether you can actually say this is gonna be it, it ... I don’t know.
WWE is one of those deals where it’s a little bit like the mafia, in that you never get to quite leave. And I’m sure with someone whose been as important as The Undertaker, that he will be around in some form or fashion for quite some time," Jacobs continued.
"Hotel California. You can check out, but you can never leave. That’s kind of the way it goes. It’s always the one more that gets you, right? Just one more. And then there’s always just one more after the just one more it seems like."
This line of thinking led to one more obvious question: Have we seen Kane’s final farewell yet?
"You never say never in WWE," the wrestler told us in cliche manner.
"But, at the same point in time, I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I’m comfortable not being in the wrestling ring. It’s hard work. I’ve also gotten to the age where a lot of times I’m like, ‘Man, that looks like it hurts!’ I used to be, ‘Man, I wish I could be out there doing that!’ Now I’m kinda like, ‘Oooh golly. Those guys are a lot tougher than I am now.’"
"Nevertheless, if the opportunity arises … well, you know, we’ll see."
Watch the full conversation below for more on Kane's favorite Undertaker matches, which incarnation of "The Big Red Machine" he liked best and his personal relationship with Mark Calaway.