Glenn Jacobs might be the Mayor of Knox County, Tennessee but wrestling fans know him best as Kane, however, it turns out he could have been known by a different name altogether.
Jacobs had run the gambit of wrestling characters in WWE in the mid-nineties. He portrayed Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler’s demonic dentist Isaac Yankem DDS but that character failed to live up to the future popularity of wrestling dentists.
A spell as Fake Diesel followed as the World Wrestling Federation laid claim to the Razor Ramon and Diesel characters that Scott Hall and Kevin Nash deserted when they fled to WCW. But after that ill-fated spell came to an end, Jacobs struck gold when he debuted as The Undertaker’s brother, Kane.
Speaking on Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw, Glenn Jacobs gave some insight into how his run as The Big Red Machine came about:
“So after the fake Diesel deal, I was actually back working – I was always under contract with WWE from 1995 when I signed that developmental deal throughout Issac Yankem and then the fake Diesel and finally Kane. So I was back working with Lawler, and I was under a mask because they didn’t want anyone to know that this was Isaac Yankem and the fake Diesel guy.”
“The Kane thing came about when Vader got arrested in Kuwait. You know they had the deal where Leon had roughed up the talk show host and then literally got arrested in a Kuwaiti jail. They needed someone to work with Mark [The Undertaker]. So the thought was okay, you know, we’ll just hotshot this deal. We need an angle, you know, we need someone – well, Glenn can do it. He’s a big guy, he matches up physically with Taker. What’s the storyline? I don’t know if it was Bruce or Vince that initially came up with the thought of, ‘he comes back under a mask, and, you know, the whole thing with the brother that has been burned in the fire.'”
With the WWE Chairman salivating at the prospect of such a juicy storyline, he was hesitant to throw it away on a one-and-done match:
“Well, Vince liked it so much. He’s like, ‘why are we gonna waste this on just one match when we can turn this into an actual, you know, long-term angle,’ thank goodness. So I’m just down in Memphis and all this kind of stuff is happening and then I get a call, I think it was Cornette, might have been Bruce, I don’t remember exactly who, and they run this thing by me, you know, ‘hey, you’re gonna be working with Mark.'”
Jacobs then revealed that Kane might never have been called Kane at all, as the initial name for the character was the more fiery Inferno:
“Initially, the character was called Inferno. That was kind of my contribution to it, along with Bruce. You know, Bruce had always liked the name Kane. I thought that Inferno just sounded very comic book character-ish for where we’re going with this. So, we suggested the name Kane, which not only, you know, Undertaker when he initially came in was Kane The Undertaker, and then they dropped the Kane part as he became The Undertaker. But also with the biblical story of Cain and Abel. We thought that that fit.”
And fit it did as Glenn Jacobs portrayed the Kane character for almost a quarter of a century, last appearing as the Devil’s Favourite Demon in the 2021 men’s Royal Rumble match. Just three months later, Jacobs was inducted into the 2021 class of the WWE Hall Of Fame.