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Mark of KANE

One moment you're sitting in your arena seat, cold soda pop in your hand, excitement dancing on your spine, waiting for that next match. The miasma of beer and sweat is about, and your ears ring from the cheering and jeering

Lights out! and the next moment you're plunged into darkness.

From the place where dread lives deep in the bottom of your mind, organ music swells. It sounds like those pipes are being played from the grave.

In an explosion of fire and ice, illumination flashes on the entrance ramp. A figure thumps through the swelling fog and ohmygod he's huge! Who is it? The Frankenstein monster? The Mummy? The Golem? What mythic figure is slouching towards the Squared Circle to be born?

It's Kane! squawks announcer Jerry Lawler. The Big Red Machine.

And, Oh dear, the shivers up your back say.

It is indeed Kane. Storming up from the dark of wrestlings unconscious to grapple with forces beyond good and evil.

He is now in the ring, all seven feet of him, looking even taller, broad shoulders, narrow waist a giant in a red suit with a mask to cover his scars and thick Gothic hair tumbling down. His dark eyes seem to burn in the gloom and he reaches out his hands to either side as though to tap into some preternatural cosmic force.

Crack! Flash! The turnbuckles belch fire.
Kane turns to his opponent as though to say, How deep do you want to be buried?
You'd better get your heart started again.

Never in the history of the WWF (or, for that matter, any wrestling franchise) has any character risen up into contention with the thrill and excitement and yes, the mental disturbance of the creature known as Kane.

Stalking up as though from Hades itself, on October 5, 1997 he literally tore the door off the cage of Hell in the Cell to confront his brother, The Undertaker, thus complicating and enriching the deepest and strangest story line in pro wrestling.

Kane, at 326 pounds, had issues with The Man from the Darkside. Kane wanted revenge!

The masked creature - a man who seemed to have absolutely no emotions no, not pity, nor remorse, nor a speck of love - was there for one purpose. He battled The Undertaker and slammed him into the mat with a move that was to become his signature: The Tombstone Piledriver.

No heart-warming family reunion, this!

To understand Kane, though, you have to know about The Undertaker.

The Undertaker formerly Mark Callaway, known at one time in the NWA as Mean Mark Callous is another monster - one of the biggest wrestlers in the business. In fact a triple tag-team of The Undertaker, The Big Show, and Kane could probably take on the rest of the WWF's rosters. The Undertaker is from The Other Side or Beyond. The Undertaker does not sing and dance in the ring. He glares at his opponent, intimidates, rips them apart. And then, as though to show his true nature, his eyes turn up to show just white, and a demonic tongue snakes out of his mouth.

The Undertaker is generally accompanied by his manager, the wide, wide Paul Bearer a spooky spectacle clearly from the same gothic environment as his client. Used to be that Paul Bearer, in their unholy progression, would walk down holding an urn. Following him, attendants wheeled a coffin towards the ring. Out would come, taking his sweet time by the way, The Undertaker.

The Undertaker took the WWF championship twice.

But a darker and a far more popular chapter of his career came with the arrival of Kane.

Paul Bearer, you see (now pay close attention, there will be a quiz afterwards) had enlisted another client. Paul Bearer knew the back story of these two giant wrestlers.

Kane, Paul Bearer announced, was none other than the brother of The Undertaker.

The story goes like so:

In the beginning was a funeral-parlor operator and his wife. This couple had two boys. The operator also had an assistant by the name of Paul. Paul Bearer, to be exact.

These were strange boys, though, as you can imagine, growing up with strangeness and death. They liked to play, and far too often they played with fire and embaling chemicals. One day and explosion wrecked the parlor. It and the enjoyning house burned and burned some more. Killed in this fire were the boys parents.

The boys, of course, were The Undertaker and Kane.

The Undertaker escaped the flames, presuming that his younger brother had died as well. But as Paul Bearer tells the tale, when he came home from a school he had been at, he was in time to rescue Kane - and in time to see the guilty Undertaker escaping, a look of satisfaction on his face.

Paul Bearer secretly raised the scarred Kane and unleashed him on the WWF and the world a little over two years ago.

Since that point, Kane had torn up the ranks of the WWF, always seeking an ultimate goal: a match before the world, where he would obtain his revenge upon his brother.

After first locking The Undertaker in a fiery casket and then fighting the resurrected Mysterious One at Wrestlemania XIV, things became more murky. Kane, as it turned out, was only a half-brother. Other strange and mysterious things had been going on at that fabled funeral parlor.

The result of all this: Occasionally Kane teamed with his big brother. Occasionally they fought.

Whatever the case, all the proceedings with these guys were very strange, very weird and something altogether different than the wrestling world had seen before.

At first, Kane could not speak. Now he does speak, albeit infrequently- with the use of a vocal box, which makes his voice an odd, chilling, electronic thing indeed.

However, the man who is Kane has not always been Kane.

And unlike The Big Red Machine who storms from Gehenna itself into our imagination, that man who is Kane can speak quite clearly.

Kane's real name is Glenn Jacobs.

There's a mystery about Glenn's birth. WWF sources claim his birthplace was Knoxville, Tennessee; however, sources closer to Glenn say it was actually Madrid, Spain. Seems that Glenn's father was in the Air Force and he was stationed there. In any case, Glenn moved around a lot with his family, but lived for a good portion of his youth near St. Louis, Missouri.

Always tall for his age, he earned a basketball scholarship at Northeast Missouri State. There he obtained a degree in English.

For a few years he worked at a home for the retarded.

One of the guys he worked with had set his sights on a pro wrestling career. With Glenn's hugeness nearby, he couldn't help but suggest that Glenn should try it as well.

He lost his first match in front of 150 people, but there was something about the sport he really liked. He went on, learning his trade. While he worked at the group home during the week, on weekends he wrestled as Doomsday.

Fate took Doomsday to the small circuit wrestling biz, then suggested gently that Glenn go down to a Florida school and learn all the stuff he needed to know.

When Glenn Jacobs began his wrestling career in the late 1980's he was known as Jim Powers.

Certainly you'd think that a guy his size would be an immediate success, but wrestling, of course, isn't just about size and ability, and clearly Glenn hadn't found those yet.

Glenn's low point?

Well, he wasn't making very much, even though he worked hard. But the worst point, according to Terry Morrow of the News Sentinal, was early on in his pro career.

The worst point, Glenn is quoted, was when this promoter flew me to the Dominican Republic and he didn't show up. "It was my first time in a foreign country, and I was nervous, I didn't even get paid. We had to fend for ourselves. On that one, I almost gave up altogether."

Good thing Glenn was proto-Kane at that time. Kane would have come looking for him!

Next up for Glenn, though, was something entirely different- and far, far better. He joined Smoky Mountain Wrestling. In Tennessee he met his current wife, Maurisa. (Sorry, Kaneaholics- when the Big Red Machine isn't wiping the mat with Viscera, he's taking out the garbage from a house holding two stepdaughters and five dogs in a town called Shady Grove). And guess what? The guy who got them together was none other than D'Lo Brown.

Glenn wrestled for Smoky Mountain as The Unibomb. One of his fellow wrestlers was Al Snow, another client of their agent, Jim Cornette.

Pretty soon these great guys made the move to WWF.

At first, Glenn Jacobs was known as a Wrestling Dentist called Isaac Yankem. However, dental stuff was not a big hit with fans.

Next up, the wrestling powers-that-were took a good hard look at Glenn and asked, How would you like to be one of the scariest wrestlers in history? Glenn reached deep down into himself and found a startling counter-past!

KANE!

Of course, the name Kane resonates with the biblical tale of Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve. It was Cain, after all, who gave brotherhood a bad name by killing Abel.

However, the name Kane itself has other interesting branches, including the name of a famous barbarian character created by Karl Edward Wagner in the 70s. (Wagner, deceased now, was a huge wrestling fan, and would have probably approved of Kane.)

In private life, Kane is reportedly hooked on the role-playing game Might and Magic 6. His dream has just come true with the introduction of Kane in a video game.

However, as Kane, he's supposed to be invincible.

The sad truth is that Kane has gotten injured quite a bit.

Once on a television cage match, the door slammed him on the head and he was way out of it.

"It also opened a pretty deep cut, 'bout four inches on top of my head. There was a lot of blood. I've had matches where I've had cuts to my face, thanks to some headbutts. They've required stitches."

Kane is fairly happy with all this, however. Its only been recently that he's started feeling the pain.

First, he had a friendship with X-Pac, who betrayed him, but stirred up feelings in him before pride took him to a place where bad-boys D-Generation X could get him.

Then he fell in love with a woman named Tori. Their romance had been threatened by the machinations of the evil Viscera - a guy big enough and nasty enough to truly give Kane a challenge.

You get the feeling, though, that ultimately Kane will get back together with The Undertaker and Paul Bearer.

The result?

Something really exciting, and something very, very bizarre.

Kane's a wrestling character whose action figure is popular among the kids because, Kane says, they think of him as a superhero.

The very thought kind of gives me nightmares!

Up Gothic organ-music, please!

By: Winchell Dredge of Rampage - March 2000