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September 2, 2010

Q&A with Kane

I conducted a phone interview earlier this week with WWE world heavyweight champion Kane, who will be appearing at the Smackdown taping at 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore Tuesday.

To read my story on Kane in Friday's Live! section of The Baltimore Sun, click here.

It’s been about six years since your last program with The Undertaker. What are your thoughts on working with him again?

Both of us have evolved quite a bit from where we were six or seven years ago character-wise, so I think it’s going to be different. It’s new and it’s fresh, and of course it’s always awesome for me to be able to compete against him because I think he’s one of the all-time greats. So it’s special, and as a professional it should be very fun to do.

Kane15.jpg

You played a couple other characters in WWE prior to becoming Kane that didn’t really catch on. When you were first presented with the opportunity to be Kane, did you know right away that it was going to be a career-maker?

Well, I certainly hoped so. Again, Kane has evolved through the years – tremendously I’d say at this point. Getting to work with The Undertaker right off the bat was a tremendous opportunity. It was an opportunity to be a career-maker, and fortunately I was able to take advantage of that.

I’m guessing you probably weren’t thinking Dr. Isaac Yankem was going to be a big hit.

[Laughs] Not, really. I try to forget about those days.

You mentioned how the character has evolved. For years you wore the mask and didn’t speak, and then you spoke a little here and there, but now you’re cutting these long promos. It seems like a lot of lines to memorize, but you’ve been doing a great job. Have you had any formal acting training?

No, I never have other than taking the prerequisite drama classes in college and high school.

You’re presented these scripts on the day of the show, correct?

Yeah, and sometimes we’re presented the script a half an hour before we go out there [laughs]. Honestly, I think we in the WWE are very underrated as performers. What we do would be very difficult for even an experienced actor. To go out and sometimes have 15 minutes of verbiage, sometimes have to ad-lib and then, of course, have other variables such as the interaction with the audience, it can be challenging.

Were you worried at all when the time came to take off the mask that the character would not be as well-received?

Well on the one hand, yeah, because it had been very successful and you have the philosophy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But on the other hand, I felt – and Vince [McMahon] felt as well – that the character had progressed as far as it was going to be able to. Interestingly, probably the only people who were really 100 percent behind that decision were myself and the guy that really counts, which is Vince. There were some trepidations, of course, but again, it was a great opportunity and what it did was that it almost became separate characters. I think the opportunities that it presented as far as breathing an entirely new life and direction into Kane mitigated whatever fears that we had – and, of course, we could always put the mask back on.

Were you able to enjoy some degree of anonymity outside the arena during the years when Kane wore a mask?

[Laughs] Not really. I was a really big guy with really long hair, so it’s not like I probably worked at Charles Schwab or something like that. People never accused me of being a nuclear physicist. People may not have known exactly who I was but I would draw stares anyway, and then a lot of times people would put two and two together.

A lot of wrestlers that I’ve talked to over the years say that the best characters are the ones in which it’s their real personalities with the volume turned up. Are there any similarities between Glenn Jacobs and Kane?

If there were, I’d probably be in jail [laughs]. In fact, that’s why I think I’m so successful as Kane, because I can be something completely different. It's like Anthony Hopkins and Hannibal Lecter. It's just so far removed, and you're able to do things that you would never ever dream of doing.

How many more years do you see yourself wrestling? Some people have speculated that this could be a final run for you.

Yeah, that’s sort of a constant at this point [laughs]. I’m still having fun. I’m really at the height of my career, and I don't have any plans of packing it in, at least not in the near future.

Have you thought at all about what life after wrestling will be like and what you want to do?

Yeah, you have to. I am at an age where I’m beginning to realize the way my body feels sometimes that I can’t do this forever. Also, as far as my home life and my family, certainly I’d like to spend more time at home. People are like, “What do you do for a vacation?” I go home [laughs]. And I enjoy being there. That’s actually the most challenging thing of what we do – the travel and being away from home all the time. Luckily, my people at home are very supportive, but by the same token, I do what I do now so that at some point I can spend that time with them.

I know you’re an active member of the Libertarian party and you author a political blog, The Adventures of Citizen X. Have you ever thought about one day following in the footsteps of Jesse Ventura and running for public office?

Oh yeah, sure. But I think maybe with me it might be more educational stuff — talking with young people and that sort of thing as opposed to pursuing political office.

Do you think there will ever be a Libertarian or independent president or will it always be someone from one of the two major parties?

[Pauses] I don’t know. Certainly I think the way things are going with the economy, and this is not a rip on any particular party because they’re both at fault, but with the centralization of the economy, central planning, that doesn’t work. We saw that everywhere it’s been tried. As things unfold I think people will be looking for answers, and I think the Libertarians, certainly the people that understand real economics – Austrian economics – they have those answers. So we’ll see what happens. I think we do live in very interesting times.

Photo courtesy of World Wrestling Entertainment

Posted by Kevin Eck at 11:20 PM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Q&As
        

Comments

I love it when he talks politics. <3

Kane - unstoppable, bipolar, schizophrenic, delusional psychopath.

Glenn Jacobs - articulate, intelligent, talented, classy and well spoken.

Great guy, good interview. Good job Kevin.

I would never have guessed Kane to be such a studious economist. Very cool!

Excellent interview. I'll have to explore his blog. I bet Mick Foley, John Layfield, and Glenn Jacobs could have a much more informative, respectful, and entertaining roundtable on politics and economics than we can find on cable channels, which is pretty amusing: three folks who professionally maintain over-the-top personas could do a fantastic job discussing serious topics... while those who are paid to discuss said topics on cable actually do a poor job of it and turn into over-the-top personas themselves.

Great interview.

I've never met Kane, but one of my uni lecturers became mates with him while he was out here filiming See No Evil.

My lecturer said he only had a basic knowledge of wrestling, and when he met him at a big sports complex while he was training, Kane had no interest talking about wrestling.

But when my lecturer changed the topic to sport management, Kane started talking in depth about his own beliefs and what the States do wrong compared to the Australian system and so on. He said when his career's over he'd love to buy a holiday house in the Gold Coast and do guest lectures at the nearby uni.

My lecturer said he was astonished this giant who's paid to be a psychopath could be so informing and insightful.

Glad to see wrestling wise he's getting the title run he's always deserved.

Good stuff. Sounds like a pretty intelligent man and that was a nice read overall.

Bill that comment is so on-point, it is amazing....

Speaking of Kane..great interview and these promos have been awesome. Like them or loathe them, you can't say that Kane hasn't been putting his all into them...

1st you complain about Tommy Dreamer & how TNA is putting him over. Then you have a video post w/ him.

Next you complain about Kane vs. Undertaker Part 397 or whatever they are up to & how cheesy Kane's segments are. Then you post a Q&A w/ him.

1) Do any of these guys call you out on that when you ask to interview them?

2) Since you complain about Bret Hart a lot, is a Q&A forthcoming?

RESPONSE FROM KE: 1. No. 2. No.

Hello Kevin,

I'm 25 years old and live in Belgium. I always read your articles about wrestling.This seems weird that a guy from Belgium reads your articles but they are really classy!
I enjoyed this interview with Kane and I hope that I can interview some WWE Superstars of my own. I'm studying Journalism in my country but it's difficult to reach WWE Superstars from here.

Good luck and to quote Jericho: " You're one of the best in the world of what you do ".

Greetz,
David

RESPONSE FROM KE: Thanks for the kind words.

I loved the Dr. Isaac Yankem character.

RESPONSE FROM KE: So you're the one.

I used to work as a reporter for a small local paper and had the pleasure of interviewing Kane over the phone before he visited a local flea market to sign autographs...he was an all-around professional, especially considering I am a lifelong wrestling fan and probably came off as a little bit star-struck. I met him in person a few days later, and he autographed the story I wrote about him...I framed it, put it in my office and I'm staring at it right now...it's one of my most prized possessions.

Interesting side note, there was a wwe pr person on the call with us and when i asked about the other characters (i.e. yankem and fake diesel) the pr person insisted I interview Kane in character and not as a person to maintain the "mystique" of the character...I actually had no problem with that since the story was more about the character coming to sign autographs than glen jacobs' evolution as a superstar...but it does point to why I'm so fascinated with wrestling..the gray area that exists between the show and the reality behind it that still remains...although less and less as time goes on... because wrestling pretended to be something it wasn't for many years...(it's funny, if you interviewed Jeremy Piven, would they insist he be interviewed as Ari Gould? Never. Only in wrestling)...I think that gray area is what makes wrestling biographies of stars from the 80s and before so compelling...trying to live a real, honest life while protecting a lie when confronted in public...it's like an alternate reality you can't get anywhere else.

Incredible how Kane really is!!, isnt?
KANE you are my favorite wrestler of all time and life!!, Chokeslam from Hell, the most impressive manuever and also had the best entry ever

Kane is a true gentleman he is my mentor

he is atrue public speaker I hope to meet him some day

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
E-mail Kevin.
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