It's hard to believe it's been two decades since the lights went out at WWE Badd Blood: In Your House and a seven foot monster emerged from a wall of flames, tearing the door off a steel cell and destroying his own brother. On that cold October night, the world was introduced to the Big Red Machine, Kane.
Fast forward 20 years and the demonic superstar is still reigning hellfire and brimstone down upon anybody who gets in his way. The man, the myth and the legacy have withstood the test of time, proving just how amazing both the character and the man behind it — Glenn Jacobs — are. Between the incredible backstory and Jacobs' intimidating persona, Kane is without a doubt the greatest monster in WWE history.
The Hellish Debut
When the Undertaker was busy destroying Shawn Michaels within the confines of Hell In A Cell, nobody could have predicted that the night would end with the Cell engulfed in flames and the Deadman out for the count.
The storytelling leading up to Kane's debut was perfect — between the Undertaker's dark secret and Paul Bearer's revelation that Kane was alive, the world watched eagerly waiting for months to see if Bearer was telling the truth. With such an incredible buildup, the debut had to be perfect — and it was. When the Devil's Favorite Demon first appeared, he ripped the Cell door off its hinges before silently towering over the Undertaker after Tombstoning him. The quick, sudden and destructive debut was the ultimate payoff and kick-started one if WWE's most iconic rivalries.
The seven foot monster made an emphatic statement without even saying a word. Kane's hellish debut is undoubtedly the greatest debut of any new superstar in WWE history.
The Face Of Evil
The most important aspect of any monster is their appearance — after all, if they don't look scary, how do you take them seriously? After having many outlandish characters and goofy looking monsters, the challenge was to come up with something even more terrifying than the Undertaker. And boy, did they succeed. Kane's initial appearance in the black and red bodysuit with the frightening mask and one blind eye was like something out of a nightmare.
Of course, he has evolved over the years, changing his appearance quite regularly, but each time, Kane manages to maintain the essence of his previous look while chilling us all over again with his new one. Even when he unmasked, Jacobs used facial expressions to make this Kane just as terrifying as the masked one — a snarl from Kane usually signified evil intentions. His current look pays tribute to all of his previous ones with the red mask paying homage to his original masked look, while the red stitches honor his unmasked attire.
Whether he's wearing a mask or snarling at his victims, Kane has managed to make each of his appearances equally as terrifying. The face of evil may keep changing, but that face belongs to Kane.
Over the years, many of WWE's illustrious monsters have looked downright frightening, but some of them were noticeably slower in the ring — their size prevented them from being agile and thus slowed them down significantly. However, this was never a problem for Kane as he not only looked the part, he backed it up with his in-ring ability. Much like the Undertaker, Kane is unbelievably agile for a man of his size, and he could perform certain feats in the ring that completely defied everyone's expectations, most notably the flying clothesline from the top rope — and once from the top of a Steel Cage — from which he can get back to his feet with ease, and the enziguri. In fact, from 1999 to about 2003, he moved around the ring like a cruiserweight — unheard of for a man of his size.
And even now that he's slightly slowed down — he is 49 years old after all — he can still perform the flying clothesline with as much as ease as he did in the prime of his career, as well as adding a nifty running dropkick to his repertoire.
No matter how many imposing monsters have shown up in WWE, none have had the speed, charisma or athleticism of the Big Red Machine.
Two Decades Of Destruction
As amazing as both Kane's debut and the few years that immediately followed were, perhaps the most telling aspect of Kane's success is the fact that he still actively wrestles today — 20 years later. While he may be currently involved in the political battlefield (running for Mayor of Knox County, Tennessee), he is still signed to WWE.
Last year, he regularly appeared on WWE's SmackDown LIVE and proved that he can still deliver in a big way when he defeated Bray Wyatt in their impromptu but entertaining No Holds Barred match at Backlash 2016. That match highlightrf that he can still hang with the company's brightest and youngest performers.
The Big Red Monster is one of the few remaining active competitors from WWE's infamous Attitude Era. When it comes to consistent longevity, he is only just behind his brother the Undertaker. Both the Brothers of Destruction have had incredibly long and successful careers and it's about time that people realized that Kane deserves just as much credit for that. He has defied expectations, injuries and most importantly, age to have one of the most fruitful professional wrestling careers of all time. He came in at the top 19 years ago and he's still there today. No other monster, and few other superstars have even come close.
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The key to enjoying a long successful career is having the ability to adapt — something which Kane had no problem doing time and again. The beauty of his outlandish persona meant that he could undergo even the most surreal of transformations without ever damaging the character. Despite starting off as a silent seven foot fire breathing monster, he would end up becoming friends with the smaller, cooler X-Pac in mid 1999. It was during this time that Kane learned to care for someone, to be cool and even how to speak! The wonders of friendship! But it wouldn't be long before he would revert to his monstrous ways. This cycle would be replicated with even greater success in 2002 and 2012.
Furthermore, when he unmasked in 2003, he found a new way to become terrifying becoming less supernatural and scarily realistic — he was less of a mute monster with unearthly powers and more of a psychotic pyromaniac. The focus on his state of mind was relayed through the fact his "burn scars" were in fact psychological instead of physical. However, in 2011, he would exorcise this humanity and resurrect the masked monster. The character underwent further changes when Kane relinquished his mask to the Authority in 2013, becoming Corporate Kane. But the Demon within would fester under the surface with a Jekyll and Hyde personality split taking form, before the mask would permanently return.
Kane's uncanny ability to change with the times has made sure that he would be on hand to deliver a destructive rampage when needed, but also there to provide us with some laughs if necessary. The destruction has remained fresh because the character keeps changing.
Whenever the company finds themselves in an unenviable position, they can always rely on Kane to help them out. Whether they need someone to fill in for an injured superstar or an invincible monster for a young hero to overcome, Kane is always on hand to help — both of which he did has recently done, filling in for Randy Orton at Backlash last year and destroying Daniel Bryan in 2014.
It's reasons like this why Glenn Jacobs has become one of the most well-respected superstars in the WWE locker room. A veteran and locker room leader, he is always there for the company when they need him most. Who knew a Demon could be so helpful?!
The Original Monster
Today's WWE landscape is crawling with monsters — from Braun Strowman to Luke Harper — and there's one person who helped pave the way for them. The idea of the modern monster has been recycled by the powers that be so many times, but nobody has been able to achieve the level of success that Kane has.
While many monstrous performers came before — including the Undertaker — it was Kane who successfully held on to the monster title throughout his entire career and constantly lived up to it. While WWE has a habit of making some of their monsters evolve into less worthy characters, Kane has always been able to slot in and out roles, all while maintaining his monstrous title and never losing the true essence of his character.
And as for these new threats, it doesn't matter how scary you are — if you're a monster then you'll have to go through Kane.
Kane has been a part of WWE for 20 years. And in those 20 years, he has single-handedly paved the way for any big man that has followed. Just as Andre the Giant is considered the greatest giant of all time, there is no doubt about it that Kane is the greatest monster of all time. Between having one of the best characters in WWE history as well as being arguably the best big man to ever step foot in the ring, Kane has dominated his way through at least three generations of WWE superstars. And Glenn Jacobs, who honestly seems like one of the most pleasant people on the planet —deserves so much more credit for bringing this hell-raising demon to life.
On October 5, 1997, Kane came to life. And 20 years later, his reign of terror doesn't seem to be finishing up anytime soon. We may not have seen him on screen recently, but you can rest assured that the day will come when those flames engulf the WWE stage and the Big Red Machine walks through hellfire and brimstone one more time. And I can't wait for that!
Thank you for entertaining us for two decades Kane!
What is your favorite Kane moment? Let us know in the comments!