“Well, from my perspective, of course I was thrilled because it was the opportunity that I had been waiting for. I don’t think that any of us realize the longevity of a rivalry and all the things that would happen and how long all of this go on,” said Kane.
“Of course, there was some trepidation on my part. Could I pull this off? Because I had a couple of failed attempts before. So, for me, it was really that this was the make or break deal, and I had to make this go. And of course, it was the last opportunity that I was ever going to get.”
Kane referenced failing a couple of times before, and that would be in reference to his previous WWE characters in Isaac Yankem and the Imposter Diesel. He actually wrestled The Undertaker when he portrayed the fake Diesel, and Taker recalled Kane’s early characters.
“Yeah, it was set up perfectly, and I totally get where Glenn [Kane] is coming from there,” stated The Undertaker. “I mean, he wasn’t exactly– it’s one of those bittersweet deals. It’s like, ‘Hey, you got the job with the WWE but this is your gimmick.’ In defense, and to your credit, you did kind of get shackled right out of the get go with a couple of gimmicks that were, how shall we say, they were stumped.”
WWE slowly built out the backstory of Kane over six months before he made his debut in 1997. The Undertaker recalled being told about the character, and he remembers being excited at the possibilities that would come of it.
“In my head, I’m thinking, ‘Man, this is going to be great.’ One, we match up almost identically; we resemble each other. Even going back to my early debut when [my initial name] was Kane The Undertaker. In my head, there were so many layers. Even as excited as I was, I had no clue that we were going to stretch this thing out 20 years of back and forth on this whole Brothers of Destruction character. Kane’s character and my character are so important to each other,” stated The Undertaker.
With the lack of success of his first gimmicks, Kane was asked if he felt any trepidation as to how the Kane character would play out.
“On my part, there wasn’t because I knew that was the plan to plant those seeds and then go away from it. It was executed to perfection,” said Kane.
“When I made my debut, that was the first time that people saw Kane, but my debut was actually months earlier when you first started talking about Kane and Paul Bearer telling a story. Of course, Undertaker, you quite don’t know what’s going on, but you know that there’s something going on.
“It was done as well as it could have been, so there was never any trepidation on my part or anxiety that we weren’t going to pull this off or– you know, sometimes, things would get pushed back, or someone gets hurt, or you need to fill something in. I knew in the long term that’s where it was going to end up.”
After six months of referring to Kane but no one actually seeing him, WWE finally debuted Kane at a Badd Blood PPV. The Undertaker was taking on Shawn Michaels in the first-ever Hell in a Cell match when Kane came out, attacked his brother, and delivered his own Tombstone Piledriver to Taker.
Kane recalled his debut and how WWE branched out the character from what they had built over those previous months.
“I think one of the most important things is the fact that WWE did go away from the Kane story into all those different stories,” said Kane. “So as you say, Mark [Undertaker], by the time that I debuted, no one saw that coming. The only people in the entire world who saw that coming were me, you, Vince, Bruce Prichard, and the other folks actually involved in the storyline. No one else saw it coming.”
Kane and The Undertaker would then feud over the next year, including Taker defeating Kane at WrestleMania XIV. They were involved in many gimmick matches, including an Inferno Match, a Hell in a Cell match, and a buried alive match.
The Undertaker discussed their original feud and how it kept fans on the edges of their seats.
“It was such great storytelling. We were able to do that back then and it was so good. It was a perfect storm – it really was, and it caught people off guard,” said The Undertaker.