FOLLOW Mr. Tito on Twitter: @titowrestling
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Kane, the Director of Operations... WHAT A JOKE!
By Mr. Tito
Nov 14, 2013 - 11:12:08 PM
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS... That is the official storyline title for Kane, the monster that Stephanie McMahon and the Authority can now "unleash". And by unleashing, he means becoming a backstage WWE management stooge who wears a suit and tie and will do the bidding of the McMahons and Triple H. Much like Gerald Brisco, Pat Patterson, and in recent years, John Laurinaitis. Quite fitting, too, that Kane takes on a John Laurinaitis role because like Kane, John's backstage role was diminished and eventually squashed by Triple H... Much like Kane's in-ring career during during 2002-2003 by, who else, Triple H.
Many newer fans probably don't know that the man behind the KANE gimmick, Glenn Jacobs, has been a WWE employee since 1995. Jacobs was 28 years old when he began his WWE career and is now 46 years old and might have his easiest role yet. After years of in-ring work, Kane's new role might involve wrestling occasionally while taking a few bumps here and there as a McMahon/HHH stooge. Life is good after an 18 year career, as most WWE wrestlers are lucky to be employed 5 years by the promotion. And for the past 18 years, Glenn Jacobs has said "yes" to anything that the WWE Creative team has given him.
When Jacobs first started with the WWE, he joined the main roster as a freakin' DENTIST. That's right, his name was Isaac Yankem DDS and he was a wrestling dentist. I'm not making that up... If you look back at the WWE during the mid-1990's, you'll see that the WWE had a ton of profession gimmicks. WWE had a hog farmer, trashman, plumber, repoman, race car driver, and even a striking baseball player. Most were probably following the success of the Undertaker gimmick but one were as talented as the actual wrestler who was the Undertaker. Isaac Yankem was introduced to the world following Jerry "the King" Lawler's loss to Bret Hart in a "KISS MY FOOT" at King of the Ring 1995. Lawler's own personal dentist, Isaac Yankem, was so repulsed by Lawler's breath following the match that he wanted to attack Bret Hart. I'm not making that up...
Though the dentist gimmick did give Glenn Jacobs some decent matches with Bret Hart, Yankem didn't do much after that... He was just a warm body for many top babyface wrestlers to defeat on televised events. But then, a new gimmick presented itself. During mid-1996, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash left the WWE to join World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and acted like they were WWE invaders. Both Hall and Nash went unnamed for weeks and the WWE was able to press legal action towards WCW because of the impression given to fans that Hall's Razor Ramon gimmick and Nash's Diesel were invading WCW. To prove the gimmick infringment of Razor and Diesel, the WWE had to actually recreate those characters with other wrestlers. Glenn Jacobs was able to easily ditch the dentist gimmick and after some teachings for Jim Cornette, Jacobs became FAKE Diesel. Jacobs dyed his hair black and wore the exact tights as Kevin Nash under the Diesel gimmick. Classic stuff!
Fortunately for Glenn Jacobs, the WWE got serious about their product sometime during 1997 and stupid gimmicks were about to disappear. WWE was pushing a more adult themed product with characters that fit more of a mold of a Soap Opera rather than a safe wrestling product loaded with goofy gimmicks. For much of the Undertaker's career, he had a manager named Paul Bearer, who just passed this year. If you remember the storylines for the CM Punk vs. Undertaker feud for Wrestlemania 29, they used Paul Bearer's passing as heat to draw interest towards the match. Paul Heyman dressed up as Paul Bearer, as you may recall... But Undertaker and Bearer broke up during 1996 when Bearer decided to turn on Undertaker and manage Mankind (Mick Foley) instead. Then, the feud took a different direction... Bearer began citing a long lost brother of the Undertaker named KANE that survived a childhood fire that was thought to have killed him. The hype of Kane's debut kept growing and growing...
Then, at Badd Blood 1997, Kane made his famous debut during the Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels "Hell in a Cell" match, which was the first of its kind for that gimmick. Oh, and the event was called Badd Blood instead of Hell in a Cell, by the way. Didn't need the show's gimmick to determine if a Hell in a Cell match could occur or not. Kane came out with full body tights in red & black color with a mask that covered his entire face. After all, he was selling that he had burns all over his body. The body type made it easy, however, for smart fans to know that Isaac Yankem and Fake Diesel had become Kane... But nobody cared! It was a badass gimmick that delivered as the Undertaker's brother. Kane tore off the Hell in a Cell door and attacked his brother with a Tombstone to help Shawn Michaels win that match.
Though Kane was eventually disposed of by his brother during 1998, with most fans remembering the Wrestlemania 14 loss, Kane was able to remain an upper midcarder to main event like wrestler. In fact, Kane was the FIRST wrestler to defeat "Stone Cold" Steve Austin for the WWE TItle after Austin won the belt at Wrestlemania 14. How about that? The title reign didn't last long, as Austin defeated Kane the following night on RAW. 24 hour title reign? Where does that sound familiar? At the very least, Jacobs was a decent wrestler and the RAW follow up match with Austin drew well in the ratings when WWE needed it against WCW Nitro. Kane would go on to actually team up with his brother, the Undertaker, hold several tag team championships with Mick Foley and X-Pac, and was actually in a pretty good feud with the heel Degeneration X through 2000. Kane remained a babyface for 2000-2001, often teaming with his Bikertaker brother, and was pivotal in fighting the heel McMahon-Helmsley faction and later the WCW/ECW Alliance. Kane wasn't the top guy but he always remained on that next level.
By 2002, the WWE roster was very thick with WCW and ECW gone and from the WWE unloading its developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling with the likes of Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Randy Orton, Batista, and many others. By acquiring WCW, the WWE wanted to split their brand up into 2 rosters during 2001 by having a WWE show and a WCW show (utilizing RAW and Smackdown timeslots for one or the other show). When WCW failed to get traction, the WWE abandoned that idea until 2002 arrived. Instead of a WWE and WCW brand, the WWE simply made RAW and Smackdown brands instead to effectively make 2 WWE's. Each brand would eventually have their own sets of title belts including World Titles, Midcard Titles (US & Intercontinental), and Tag Titles. For the most part, the brands would never mix up and in fact, ignored each other.
One would figure that someone like Kane, on the cusp of being a Main Eventer, would have benefited from this Brand Split, right?
You would think that other guys on Kane's level on the upper midcard would benefit as well, right? With Steve Austin walking out of the WWE during 2002, there was additional room at the top of the RAW roster. Certainly, guys like Booker T, who was a multiple time WCW Champion, and Rob Van Dam, who was very over as a babyface in the WWE, would get a shot at the top, right? Chris Jericho headed into 2002 as the "Undisputed" WWE Champion when he was able to win both the WWE and WCW Titles... He should benefit especially from brand split, right? Ditto for WCW imports like Bill Goldberg, Scott Steiner, and even Kevin Nash... They could shine during the brand extension, right?
VERY VERY VERY VERY WRONG!
Each of those wrestlers would meet a similar fate, especially during the destructive years of 2002-2003: Triple H.
This wasn't the Triple H of 2000-2001, whom I've argued many times had the best year and a half of ANY wrestler of ALL TIME. Go read this column to read all about the pre-2002 Triple H. Before the Quad injury of May 2001, Triple H was a fantastic in-ring performer. The difference in the performer you've seen since 2002 to the Triple H before 2002 is that Triple H actually sold wrestler moves and actually did psychology. HHH, as a heel, would beg for mercy from babyfaces and sell their offense like it was killing him. When he came back from his quadriceps injury during early 2002, he was a changed man. Not just with the slowness in movement from a repaired quad, the hunger of being a great wrestler was gone. After all, his relationship with Stephanie was strong and he was about to marry her during 2003. When you're dating and eventually marrying the Lead Writer of the WWE Creative Team, chances are that your influence over your own character and other wrestlers could exist...
And it did... Horribly, in fact. Triple H dominated the WWE roster during 2002-2003 and it led to an extremely dull RAW brand. Aside from being generous to his old friend Shawn Michaels, Triple H carried a big shovel to bury almost all of his opponents. Instead of selling moves and acting like a scared heel, Triple H was sleep walking through matches by not selling moves with any emotion and defeating his opponents cleanly with the Pedigree, everytime. That damn Pedigree became an impossible move to kick out of, while other finishers were being watered down. Chris Jericho was the first victim as he was foolishly paired with Stephanie and the storyline was a fight over Lucy "the dog", Triple H's favorite pet, rather than the Undisputed WWE Title for Wrestlemania 18. Just watch the Toronto fans leaving the arena if you don't believe the lack of interest in the match.
I don't think that the WWE had any real dreams for Rob Van Dam, but RVD was over and the matches with Triple H were dull and underwhelming. With Booker T, we had a major burial. Triple H went out of his way to very racist promo before Wrestlemania 19 and the burial was complete when Triple H beat Booker T at Wrestlemania 19. Bill Goldberg arrived in the WWE and was set to finally get his hands on Triple H at SummerSlam 2003. Despite a torn groin, Triple H wanted to remain World Heavyweight Champion despite the fans warming up to Goldberg and popping huge when Goldberg escaped his Elimination Chamber pod. Goldberg would get the WWE Title but his singles matches with HHH were very underwhelming. It's like other major "dream matches" with Triple H being underwhelming, such as the 3 against Goldberg's Wrestlemania 20 opponent, Brock Lesnar. Nice Wrestlemania 29 win over Brock Lesnar, by the way, Triple H.
But the absolute WORST burial during this 2002-2003 timeframe was Triple H burying Kane with multiple bulldozers to boot. To this day, I'm ashamed of watching any RAW shows in which any Triple H stuff with Kane aired.
It all started when Kane, the Intercontinental Champion, was going to wrestle Triple H, the made-up World Heavyweight Champion, in a title vs. title match at No Mercy 2002. With Brock Lesnar bolting to the Smackdown roster with the WWE Title, Triple H was just declared the "World Heavyweight Champion" by Eric Bischoff, the RAW General Manager of the time and utilized the old WCW Gold Belt as the title. To add credibility to the title, the WWE wanted to merge the Intercontinental Title with the World Heavyweight Title and eliminated the Intercontinental midcard title for good. For all of you who say "the World Heavyweight Title is the NEW Intercontinental Title", the joke is on you. The World Heavyweight Title IS the Intercontinental Title, according to its lineage through No Mercy 2002. You would think that a simple title vs. title match would be enough for a feud, right?
Oh no... Triple H, as a heel during 2002-2003, tried various character morphs such as attempting to be pure evil or really ramping up the blue blood snob character he used to have. He attempted his best Ric Flair impersonation with Evolution, too, but there is only one Nature Boy... With Kane, he tried to push a storyline where he was attempting to blackmail Kane with a deep dark secret from his past. Apparently, Kane had a wild night of drinking when he was younger and killed a passenger in his car named Katie Vick. Then, the necrophilia (i.e. sex with dead people) allegations began. Triple H even went as far as taping a fake funeral segment in which HHH was simulating sex with a corpse while wearing a Kane mask. I'm not making this up! And of course, Triple H won at No Mercy 2002. Burial #1.
WWE did have some wishes to unmask Kane through 2003. Some could say that the masked look had run its course... Mick Foley benefited from going unmasked and one could argue that KISS going unmasked during the 1980's was a decent change for them. How about that? A KISS reference in a pro wrestling column and I wasn't even referencing the very expensive KISS Demon gimmick in WCW. Sometimes, gimmicks and characters have to evolve. Even Triple H did this during 1999 by changing up his look and character to what it would become through 2000. So why not? But of course, it's how he was unmasked and what he looked like once the mask was taken off.
And how did his mask come off? Why, it was against Triple H on an edition of Monday Night RAW held live at Madison Square Garden. Of course, Triple H did his usual sleepwalking through the match and now having unchecked Evolution interference (sound familiar?), a 2nd Pedigree did the trick. Why can't Kane win one match against this guy? But worse yet was the unmasking... Kane had his hair half shaven and for the hair that remained, not so long as it was with the mask on. Oh, and Kane uses black facepaint to make his eyes look darker. Oooooohhhhhh, scary!
Kane's character just withered from there... We had the return of being an Undertaker punching bag, the Lita marriage and miscarriage, and of course, joining that "awesome" ECW brand. By the time he became World Champion again during 2010 by obtaining the World Heavyweight Championship, he was damaged goods. The WWE pretty much wasted 8 years of his prime career with dumb storylines and not even attempting to draw money with him as a main eventer. Now, they wondered why he couldn't draw during 2010 as Champion. Kane would put the mask back on for his late 2011 return, have a successful tag team run with Daniel Bryan, and then job out to Bray Wyatt through SummerSlam 2013, easily the worst match of the night on a spectacular show. Just recently, Kane unmasked again and told Stephanie that she could "unleash" him. What, unlease him at a Men's Wearhouse store for a suit?
And now he's the DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS for the "Authority", as led by Triple H/Stephanie. I guess if you can't beat them, join them? Now, he can act as a character in a storyline that helps bury other wrestlers.
Kane's tale is the same for many wrestlers who happened to be up against a very competitive Triple H. Unfortunately for most in the WWE, Triple H is super competitive and aggressive at the workplace and that's been made worse by combining those traits with actual Corporate power. He's been on a non-stop personal ego trip for the last 10 years and it's only going to get worse now that he has full control over the WWE's developmental system. Guys like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan who were trained by non-WWE personnel and made it big in other promotions are no longer wanted. You have to eat, drink, and sleep WWE propaganda and also bow at the alter of Triple H to now make it. Without any real pro wrestling competition, the WWE can get away with bad talent decisions but still remain profitable by being the only true game in town.
Someone like Kane should be repulsed by just cashing in those nice WWE paychecks when seeing the same bullshit politics devouring other wrestlers just like it screwed his career during 2002-2003. If Triple H doesn't personally like you, he'll bury you. If you don't kiss his ass or become a personal friend/workout buddy, you're not for him. If you happen to get over with the fans as CM Punk did during 2011 and Daniel Bryan during 2013, WWE management will squash you in favor of someone they personally like, Randy Orton. That's despite history showing that Orton cannot draw on his own when being on a roster without John Cena. See Smackdown 2011.
Then again, Kane has a family to feed and those WWE paychecks are nice to have.
Just ask CM Punk. When disappointed with the way WWE under utilized him, Punk was serious about leaving the WWE during 2011. Then, the "Pipebomb" promo happened and the WWE saw real fan interest in CM Punk. Instead of joining another promotion to ride the fan momentum elsewhere or having actual creative leverage with the WWE, CM Punk took a nicer paycheck and just wasted his 2012 year as a WWE Champion who wasn't main eventing. Thankfully, the Paul Heyman feud has motivated him along with an awesome match opportunity with Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. Otherwise, like Kane, he's enjoying those WWE paychecks.
Daniel Bryan has been absolutely shit on since defeating John Cena at SummerSlam 2013. He got his ass beat week after week and was unable to hold the WWE Title for more than 24 hours. Yet, he's blamed for the RAW rating decline. Huh? He's not even allowed to be WWE champion and he's on the receiving end of beatdown after beatdown. How can he draw with that bullshit being booked?
As far as we can see, no complaints from Daniel Bryan. He enjoys those nice WWE paychecks, too.
I'm watching TNA Wrestling right now as I complete this column and this promotion is lifeless. Yet, it's the only viable option out there for wrestlers. Could you imagine if a handful of top WWE wrestlers had the guts to jump to TNA for less money just to prove a point of how they were misused by the WWE? Imagine if both CM Punk and Daniel Bryan walked away from the WWE after this Wyatt Family feud and joined TNA with actual motivation to be great? Dolph Ziggler jobs every week. What if he started winning matches in TNA? Antonio Cesaro is regarded by many to be very talented yet held down bigtime by the WWE. That US Title reign... What if he joined TNA and was allowed to actually win matches?
Better yet, what if those 4 wrestlers joined TNA and held nothing back on the microphone about the political bullshit that occurs in the WWE? If you thought Punk's Pipebomb was good in the WWE during 2011, imagine if he was unhinged in a competitive promotion?
WWE wrestlers need to grow balls and stop taking bullshit from an unqualified WWE Creative Staff and an unprofessional future company President in Triple H. Don't be like Kane and just collect paychecks. Actually mean something to pro wrestling that is beyond just having a job. Because the WWE is a virtual wrestling monopoly, WWE wrestlers take the fear of being blackballed by the WWE for life to the extreme. It doesn't have to be that way if the disgruntled yet very talented wrestlers in the WWE would band together and take a stand against the WWE Management. Use Triple H's tactics against him... During the mid-1990's, Triple H's buddies Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Sean Waltman banded together and received what they wanted politically by leaning on Vince McMahon as a group. Why can't wrestlers today band together as a group and lean on Triple H to cut the crap?
Current WWE wrestlers should not look at Kane as a proud 18 year old veteran. They should look at him as a company "yes man" who could have easily looked out for himself but had fear of job security instead.
Pro wrestling with just 1 company controlling the majority of the United States market needs much less of company "yes men" and more of those who have the guts to challenge authority. When nobody stands up to WWE Management and threatens to make TNA a legitimate challenger, the McMahon family will do as they please and just coast to their continued pro wrestling monopoly. The quality of pro wrestling will continue to suffer...
Kane can enjoy his Director of Operations character for all I care... It will just remind me that he's always been a backstage stooge by always going along with whatever WWE Management says...
Management can be wrong... Challenge them!
Comments and debates are welcome on Twitter. Bring it on. @titowrestling
SO JUST CHILL TILL THE NEXT EPISODE!
MR. TITO COLUMN ARCHIVES on LordsofPain.net/WrestlingHeadlines.com
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER: @titowrestling