Before Glenn Jacobs became known as the demon Kane, he worked a slew of failed gimmicks in the WWE. On a recent episode of the Talk Is Jericho podcast, Jacobs discussed some of his old characters with Chris Jericho.
Jacobs made his television debut in WWE in 1995 as Isaac Yankem, a wrestling dentist. He said the character was Vince McMahon’s idea after Jacobs got a tryout with the company with the help of Jim Ross. Jacobs said he wasn’t happy with the character and blames himself for the gimmick failing, because he feels he could’ve done more to make it work.
“Jim Ross, who is another guy I need to give a shout out too. He was doing Smokey Mountain Wrestling and he was the one that gave me a tryout too with WWE. I got a contract shortly after that. Vince McMahon wanted to meet me in his office. JJ Dillon was still Head of Creative back then. I get into his office and Vince McMahon walks in and asks me if I have ever been afraid to go to the dentist. I said, no, I wasn’t. I thought Vince was just trying to get into my head. He said that he always had this idea for a character,” Jacobs said. “A wrestling dentist; Isaac Yankem. He said that he thinks that I would be perfect for it. Here I am sitting across from the most powerful man in my industry, and I am trying to keep a poker-face; meanwhile, I am going, dude, you flew me in all the way from Knoxville, Tennessee just to tell me that you are going to make me a wrestling dentist? I flew back home, but really in the end the thing was on me. That wasn’t a character that I could invest in, and I didn’t. It was my fault. My teeth were painted. It tasted terrible. Vince McMahon thought it was ironic that his Dentist had bad teeth. My entrance music was dental drill.”
Following the retirement of the Isaac Yankem gimmick, Jacobs debuted as an imitation Diesel in 1996. The idea was a storyline mocking departed superstars Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, who left for WCW, with WWE announcer Jim Ross as the heel manager. Jacobs said he actually enjoyed the character and thought it was a good idea, but the angle was universally hated by the audience.
“I think we were in South Africa, and I remember Gerald Brisco telling me that Vince McMahon wanted to talk to me when we got home. I think they were already throwing some seeds regarding the character. I was told that I was going to be the imitation of Diesel. Jim Ross, who is beloved by everybody, was going to be the heel manager,” Jacobs said. “The concept behind it was that Jim Ross was ticked off and he was going to destroy WWE by proving he can bring guys back. So, he brought me and Fake Razor Ramon [Rick Titan]. Meanwhile, I am thinking that this is a step up from my previous character. It just did not work. The concept was good. People just can’t dislike JR so that didn’t work, and he was the linchpin throughout the whole thing so it just fell apart.”
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