WWE’s Kane Still On Fire

 

By Stacey Longo

 

WWE Wrestler Kane a.k.a. Glenn Jacobs

WWE Wrestler Kane a.k.a Glenn Jacobs

 

WWE superstar Kane was on hand at TerrorCon at the Rhode Island Convention Center on Sunday, June 8 to meet fans and participate in a Q & A session with a packed crowd in attendance. Glenn Jacobs, who is the man behind Kane’s mask, was friendly, personable, and humble as he answered questions from the audience.

The first question from the moderator was about a failed character from Jacobs’s past, the ill-fated Isaac Yankem, DDS. Notorious for not liking to discuss this past gimmick, Jacobs did admit that he felt the personality’s failure was “mostly my fault. I didn’t like [the character], and it showed.” Jacobs was next asked who his favorite opponents have been over the years. His response listed some of the most well-known faces in wrestling from the past two decades, including The Undertaker, Mick Foley, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Shawn Michaels.

One fan in the audience asked Jacobs about his reputation in the wrestling locker room as one of the “safest” opponents to face. Jacobs shrugged and explained “it’s mostly just about being a professional. You want to stay safe and keep your opponent safe.”

Jacobs was asked to reflect on his character’s evolution over the past 17 years. “Most guys go out to the ring doing the same thing night after night,” he said with a smile. “Kane’s different. He’s been able to evolve and develop as a character. I think it keeps him interesting.” He recalled different phases of Kane’s career, including a time when Kane had to use a voice box to communicate and when the Big Red Machine’s mask first came off. “It was hot under that mask,” he admitted. When asked who made the decision to unmask Kane, Jacobs said “two people: me and Vince [McMahon, WWE CEO].”

Jacobs fielded the questions from fans with good humor and grace. When one audience member asked him to comment on a current storyline about the Shield and Evolution, a storyline Kane is not involved in, he responded kindly: “I think it was a surprise, and that’s what you want, right?” Another fan asked about Kane’s experience getting Pete Rose in a Tombstone pile driver at WrestleMania 14 in 1998. “Pete Rose is like us,” Jacobs laughed. “He doesn’t take himself too seriously. I was just surprised when the crowd started cheering me.”

After the Q & A session, fans lingered to shake Jacobs’s hand and thank him for the opportunity to talk to him. “The best part about this business is you guys, the fans,” Jacobs said humbly, which is yet more evidence showing why Kane continues to be a fan favorite among wrestling patrons of all ages.

Laying the Smack Down on ComicCon

by Stacey Longo

 

I am a well-educated, fairly dignified woman. I read Faulkner and Hemingway and have studied the morphological and chemical variations of the common dandelion. And, as anyone who has ever been to a convention with me can tell you, I totally geek out when it comes to meeting former wrestlers.

For me, wrestling is a fond childhood memory, dating back to the time when my father would take my sister and me to the Glastonbury High School gym to watch Bob Backlund wrestle Ray “The Crippler” Stevens. There’s a special love there, one that nobody likes to talk about, but is recognizable in other wrestling fans when they let slip that yes, they have always wondered how George “The Animal” Steele got his tongue so green. (The answer: spearmint Chiclets, which I learned after meeting him at the Southcoast Toy and Comic Show.)

At Rhode Island ComicCon, I had the pleasure of meeting Jake “The Snake” Roberts and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. For those of you who don’t know who these men are, you’ve probably already given up on this article anyway, so I don’t feel I need to explain.

Wrestling superstar Jake “The Snake” Roberts stated in casual conversation that he’s feeling great, is drug free, and recently lost 40 lbs. He’s an advocate of DDP Yoga (www.ddpyoga.com) and highly recommends the workout and meal portions that the program teaches. He was animated and enthusiastic when talking, and it was wonderful to see Roberts looking and feeling well.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan handles the wrestling panel himself. Photo by Jason Harris.

The wrestling panel that was scheduled for Sunday afternoon turned in to a Q & A session with WWE Hall of Famer “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. (Originally, the panel was to include Roberts and wrestler Big Van Vader, but Roberts had to leave early to catch a flight, and Vader was a no-show.) Duggan has been wrestling for 33 years, and his love of the business was evident in his enthusiasm and the beaming smile he wore while talking about his career. He was friendly and articulate, occasionally breaking out into his Hacksaw persona to emphasize a point. Duggan patiently answered questions about his former employers (both the WWE, which Duggan states “is run like a corporation, which it should be, because it is one” and the WCW, which he recalled as “the inmates running the asylum.”) He spoke about former coworkers Andre the Giant (“he was a lonely man”) and Hulk Hogan (“he’s a real good guy”) with fondness. As with any employee at a company, he didn’t always get along with the people he worked with, but was a gentleman when former opponents he didn’t care for came up. “We aren’t close,” he would explain if someone asked him about a specific wrestler he didn’t get along with, and would deftly move on to the next question.

Duggan’s achievements in the ring include winning the first (then-WWF) Royal Rumble in 1988 and WCW Television Champion and United States Heavyweight Champion. He named his 2011 WWE Hall of Fame induction as one of his proudest achievements. When asked about the 1997 “Montreal Screw Job” (in which WWE Champion Bret Hart was asked to drop the belt to Shawn Michaels prior to Hart’s exit to WCW, which Hart refused to do; WWE owner Vince McMahon called for the bell early even though Hart hadn’t submitted, ending the match) Duggan surprised the audience. “I actually think Bret was wrong,” he admitted. “If the boss tells you to drop the belt, you drop the belt.” Hart hadn’t wanted to lose in Canada, his home country. “I don’t want to lose in America,” Duggan laughed. “But you do it because the boss tells you to.” Duggan and Hart have spoken about the incident and remain friends. Duggan is also close to “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Hogan.

Author Stacey Longo geeking out with Hacksaw at the Rhode Island Comic Con. Photo by Jason Harris.

Duggan ended the hour-long session by allowing fans to get their picture taken with him, a big-hearted gesture considering other celebrities were getting $10 to $20 on the convention floor for photos. Meeting both Roberts and Duggan was a thrill for this particular wrestling nerd, and the highlight of my weekend.

Side note: I was able to meet Big Van Vader briefly at this event as well. We aren’t close.